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We always thought Chris Eubank was a great boxer, but outside the ring he was a total plonker - thick-skinned, egocentric and down-right stupid. One only had to watch his appearance on "They think it's all over", where he made such a complete prat of himself that the other panellists were hard put to it even to make fun of him.

But, credit where credit is due, recently he's actually done something sensible and praiseworthy. He's just been released on bail after being arrested for unauthorised protesting while driving a black truck emblazoned with anti-war slogans down Whitehall. He drove up and down with his van bearing the slogan "Blair, don't send our young prince to your catastrophic illegal war to make it look plausible." It also carried his own name in large letters.
He was stopped by officers and then arrested, according to witnesses. Television news crews filmed Eubank, wearing a cream suit and a silver tie, being calmly escorted to a police van and then driven away.
His crime, of course, is to mount a protest of any sort in an area where protests are prohibited. While we might, just possibly, be persuaded that large crowds of banner-waving bearded men in night-shirts ought to be kept away from the Houses of Parliament, and that assemblies of militant gays, lesbians, global warmers, anti-4x4 activists or hunt saboteurs should be kept away from Downing Street (preferably about 500 miles away)(permanently, please) it is difficult to see what harm an ageing weirdo pugilist is doing by driving round London in a van. Always assuming he's paid the congestion charge like a good boy.
I mean, are we supposed to have free speech or not? Which bit of Eubank's escapade is the illegal bit? Driving a van when he could afford a car? Being in London which is, frankly, the last place any sane person would want to be if he had the choice? Having words painted on the side of his van, unlike several hundred thousand other vans seen on our roads every day? Having his name on the side in big letters (not like Eddie Stobart or Norbert Dentressangle, at all)?
No, his crime is expressing an adverse opinion about our dearly beloved Prime Minister, though why that adverse opinion might be acceptable at Eubank's home town of Brighton, but not down Tony Bliar's street in London, is difficult to see. Perhaps they're afraid the Queen might see it? Though frankly I should think it would take more than that to faze her - she's a wily old bird and probably has her own opinions about that slimy git Bliar.
Or maybe they're afraid the tourists might see it and realise that England is not really the jolly, old-fashioned place Roger Miller used to sing about*, but a country riven with anger and guilt and hatred for a government that has misled the electorate, betrayed its working-class roots and pursued quasi-fascist policies against the wishes of the vast majority of the population.
So, nice one, Chris. Not such a w*nker after all.


*England swings like a pendulum do
Bobbies on bicycles, two by two
Westminster Abbey, the tower of Big Ben
The rosy red cheeks of the little children

God, what a bunch of cr*p! Anyone want to send us a 21st Century version? Must include the expressions "ASBO", "teenage gun-crime", "schoolgirl pregnancies" and "offensive to Muslims" to be considered for publication.


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