First off, I will declare my interest. I have known Iain Dale for 6 years. He has kindly addressed conferences I have organised and often helps to promote my blog by linking to it from his.
I therefore watched the footage of him grappling with an anti-nuclear protestor on Brighton seafront with amazement and horror; the kind of horror reserved for when you see your parents dancing to the Birdie Song at a family wedding.
As a Libertarian I obviously support the right to protest. Nor do I like violence. Had the man been protesting against Damien McBride, or against former government employees making money from their memoires, then I would have defended him to the hilt. But he wasn't. He was protesting against nuclear power, which is nothing to do with the odious McBride, or his book. For example, if someone had a legitimate grievance against Marks & Spencer I would fully support their right to hold up a banner outside M&S to raise their concerns. But should they also have a right to do at Selfridges, perhaps effecting Selfridges trade and reputation by default?
I am not defending Iain's actions, but nor I am not going to shed crocodile tears on behalf of the protestor. The most amusing part of the whole incident was the man's dog, rather than defending his master against attack it turned on its owner and bit him on the backside.
Not a good day for dog-owning men on Brighton seafront.