Claire Black: My citizen’s arrest hit list

A set of cuffs would set off Katie Hopkins' jewellery perfectly. Picture: Jane Barlow
A set of cuffs would set off Katie Hopkins' jewellery perfectly. Picture: Jane Barlow
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THE fact that the man who last week tried to make a citizen’s arrest on Tony Blair is called Twiggy only added to my enjoyment. “Twiggy tackles Teflon Tony.” You’ve got to admit, it has a certain ring to it.

Twiggy Garcia, DJ and waiter, decided that while serving a table of diners including Blair, he’d add a portion of citizen arrestery on the side, despite no one having ordered it. Cue a hand on the shoulder and Garcia’s declaration to Blair that he was being arrested for “crimes against peace… namely the decision to launch an unprovoked war against Iraq”. To be fair, old Teflon Tone took it in his stride (it is, after all, the fifth time that a citizen has attempted to feel his collar) and Garcia caved in pretty quickly, quitting his job as he went, not I’m guessing for a career in law enforcement.

Garcia had been inspired by George Monbiot’s Arrest Blair website, which has since awarded him a quarter of its funds (£2,222) as a bounty for his quarry. Even though, technically, you know, he didn’t actually get him. The publicity was prize enough. Monbiot should know – in 2008 he tried to apprehend John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN. But top of the citizen’s arrest charts remains gay campaigner Peter Tatchell, who gave it a bash with Robert Mugabe not once, but twice. The first time, in 1999, Tatchell was detained by police for his trouble, while Mugabe was escorted to Harrods, where he was on an urgent diplomatic mission to do some Christmas shopping. A couple of years later in Brussels, Tatchell was beaten unconscious in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel for his arresting efforts.

It doesn’t exactly serve as an advert does it? And to be honest, I reckon that’s probably a good thing. I find the whole citizen’s arrest schtick a bit, well, vigilante-like. There is also the small matter of there being no statutory provision for a citizen’s arrest in Scots Law, although common law allows that anyone committing an offence can be arrested using minimum force if necessary with consideration to what is reasonable in the relevant circumstances. Oh yeah, and the offence has to be serious, not just a breach of the peace.

And yet, moral quibbles and legal technicalities aside, I find there is no shortage of offenders on my citizen’s arrest hit list. Top: Iain Duncan Smith for crimes of gross arrogance and flagrant and wilful misinterpretation of policy, claiming, as he did last week, that his welfare reforms “have helped people feel that bit more secure about their futures”. Cuff ’im. Next, Katie Hopkins for, well, being Katie Hopkins. Enough said, surely. Next, and yes, I realise I may be testing the limits of my jurisdiction with this one, but hell hath no fury like a citizen arrester scorned: Vladimir Putin. I’m taking him off the streets for the good of every LGBT person in Russia. No, Putin, gay does not mean paedophile – you are going down. And, since I’m on a roll, I’m arresting every single person who in the past week has said that women who experience sexually inappropriate behaviour in their workplace should “toughen up”. You’re under arrest – now how tough do you feel?

Sick of Sochi kits already

OBVIOUSLY judging professional athletes by the clothes they wear, rather than their sporting achievements, is so shallow as to be reprehensible. It’s only marginally less heinous than asking the first Canadian woman tennis player to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open last week “who she would most like to date?” at the post-match press conference. Or asking Romanian player Simona Halep (right) whether her breast reduction surgery had played a part in her wins. Answering in the affirmative, Halep was then asked: “What about outside tennis?” Speechless.

But in extreme circumstances, abject superficiality is a price I am willing to pay. So here goes: what in the name of Eddie the Eagle Edwards is going on with the national kits for the Winter Olympics? Snow, it transpires, isn’t the only thing that might blind you in Sochi. The Norwegian men’s curling team has form in this area and they are at it again with zig-zag patterned two-piece suits garish enough to induce a nose bleed. Germany has opted for orange vomit-patterned trousers below rainbow anoraks and Team USA will be adorned in Ralph Lauren cardies. You heard me, cardies. And they want to encourage youngsters to get involved in sport.