Millions were wringing their hands this week in anxiety over the fate of BBC motormouth Jeremy Clarkson. Meanwhile, on the streets of East London on Thursday night the police were cracking down on Class War's sweary summing up of popular sentiment towards our political leaders, to complete indifference of the media. The contrast reveals a lot about the state of human rights in Britain.
The police claimed that the group's "All Fucking Wankers" banner, on display at its weekly Poor Doors protest in Aldgate, had distressed the public and violated the Public Order Act. A protester was arrested for holding onto the banner, which was confiscated and taken to Paddington Green, the notorious police station where terrorist suspects are interrogated.
The legendary Class War agitators are confident their comrade will win in court and the "most dangerous banner in Britain" will be liberated. They argue that Articles 10 and 11 of the Human Rights Act give them the right to display the banner in a public place. Case law pertaining to section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 also suggests that use of swear words alone is insufficient reason to arrest.
The banner confiscation and arrest was not really about offence to the public, since there were no complaints. Public order was never an impediment to Jeremy Clarkson using the N-word, offending a multitude of countries with his crass xenophobic stereotypes, calling for trade unionists to be shot in the street and allegedly assaulting his producer over catering problems. He has never been arrested or even lost his lucrative licence fee funded salary - yet.
Clarkson's human rights to cause offence are not only protected, his words are publicly funded by the establishment. Class War's banner is only offensive to the establishment it targets.
Politically-driven words are dangerous to any establishment facing a surge of popular dissent and antipathy. As such, "All Fucking Wankers" is probably the most dangerous banner in Britain. The narrative of the East End's "Poor Doors" protests against class apartheid and social cleansing is dangerous to an establishment that serves the rich and powerful. But as George Orwell put it, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".
Class War, Action East End and Freedom News stage a "Poor Doors" protest every Thursday 6-7pm outside One Commercial Street. Nearest tube Aldgate East.