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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Subversive Vanity Fair

In an article in The Independent an example of the British Government’s draconian stance on political protest was aired. Thirty-six year old Steven Jago, a management accountant, was charged under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act.

Mr Jago carried a placard in Whitehall bearing the George Orwell quote: In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. In his possession, he had several copies of an article from Vanity Fair headlined “Blair’s Big Brother Legacy”, which were confiscated by the police.

“The implication that I read from this statement at the time was that I was being accused of handing out subversive material,” said Mr Jago.

Author, Henry Porter, the magazine’s London editor, wrote to Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, expressing concern that the freedom of the press would be severely curtailed if such articles were used in evidence under the Act.

Mr Porter said: “The police told Mr Jago this was ‘politically motivated’ material, and suggested it was evidence of his desire to break the law. I therefore seek your assurance that possession of Vanity Fair within a designated area is not regarded as ‘politically motivated’ and evidence of conscious law-breaking.”

Scotland Yard has declined to comment.

One Response to “Subversive Vanity Fair”

  1. Personally, I find that very frightening.

    Did someone mention customer satisfaction surveys in respect of the police, along the way? (Even Blair, [the Sir Ian version], perhaps?)

    I’d rather be protected from terrorists; murderers; those inclined to “man slaughter” when the situation arises; rapists; muggers; thieves; yobs full of ill intent, etc.

    But a placard bearing accountant, or otherwise, on this island of free speech – I can cope with that. Er, excuse me, it is still an island of free speech here, isn’t it? Perhaps the accountant and Henry Porter could make a claim under the Human Rights Act?