George Monbiot is a clever man. He learns from experience. When, back in 2008, he announced his intention of making a citizen's arrest of John Bolton at the Hay festival, it was pointed out by one or two people, including me, that an attempt by him to do so would not be lawful, and it might therefore put him in jeopardy of legal action for false imprisonment. Monbiot has now revived his old initiative, but for Tony Blair. He's encouraging people to make a citizen's arrest of the former prime minister. Only, having learned from experience, our intrepid journalist has been careful to advise that they should effect the 'arrest' in the form of a mere invitation:
Such attempts at arrest will be, says Monbiot, largely symbolic. Largely symbolic is right - symbolic of something other than an arrest. Like a hunger strike in which you have a roast chicken and a couple of jam doughnuts on hand in case you should get peckish. Or like adding your signature to a controversial petition, but using invisible ink so as not to put yourself at risk of incurring opprobrium. What buffoonery.
It is essential that they [attempts to arrest Mr Blair] are pursued peacefully and calmly, not least for your own safety: at no point should you create the impression that you mean to harm him, or you could be harmed yourself. The method we recommend is calmly to approach Mr Blair and in a gentle fashion to lay a hand on his shoulder or elbow, in such a way that he cannot have any cause to complain of being hurt or trapped by you, and announce loudly, "Mr Blair, this is a citizens' arrest for a crime against peace, namely your decision to launch an unprovoked war against Iraq. I am inviting you to accompany me to a police station to answer the charge."... do not cling onto Blair or attempt to drag him anywhere.