A man in east London named David Hoffman (apparently a photographer of some distinction) put one of the above posters in his window. Who should arrive on his doorstep but plod? Four of them to be exact. They asked him for identification. This is on his own doorstep. He says that on going to close the door temporarily the police forced entry. The police deny this (oh yeah?) Let Mr Hoffman take up the story. 'They burst into my house, pushed me back and handcuffed me. They said I had committed an offence under section 5 of the Public Order Act, I was being detained, and I might be arrested'.
Huh? By what authority?
White Rabbit being at the cutting edge of law blogging, setting out the statutory provision relied on by the police is in order.
'5(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he—
(b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,
within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby'.
A police inspector telephoned Mr Hoffman and expressed the opinion that 'any reasonable person' would find his poster 'alarming, harassing or distressful'.
I can only comment that the inspector has a rich fantasy life. Apparently a neighbour had complained that she found the poster offensive. But - he wrote in a patient tone of voice - that is not the same thing. At the risk of repetition, there is no human right not to be offended, nor is anyone protected by the criminaL law against being offended. Nor should they be.
Mr Hoffman duly took down the poster but, I am pleased to report, has put it back up with 'wanker' removed and 'onanist' replacing it. Much classier, I'm sure you'll all agree. As to whether 'Dave' is a practitioner of the gentle art of self-pleasuring, it is too early to tell. Okay, it isn't
Meanwhile on the other side of the political divide, there is much speculation who will stand for the now vacant leadership of the Labour Party. It may be that both Miliband brothers may stand. The rabbit as an undergraduate in the late middle ages used to occasionally attend their father's lectures despite not being on any of his courses. I wonder what he would have made of this. Actually, I have a pretty canny idea. Another possible candidate is Mr Ed, a horse.