Top Gear not Top Gun

Ian Pocock journeys to the ExCel Centre to tell Top Gear fans about their favourite show’s links with the arms trade.

"Jeremy Clarkson" protests against the arms trade
"Jeremy Clarkson" protests against the arms trade

I joined members of London Campaign Against Arms Trade at a protest outside Clarion Events’ latest show, “Top Gear Live”, which took place this Saturday at the ExCeL Centre in London. Clarion Events own the DSEI arms fair while Top Gear is the BBC’s phenomenally successful motoring show.

Three of us had the dubious pleasure of donning masks of the three presenters of the show (Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May) but our visual presence did help us engage with the public on the issue of Clarion’s involvement in the arms trade. A number of passers-by were sympathetic to our cause and a couple were as vehemently opposed to the arms trade as London CAAT are.

Va va voom, not ba ba boom

Fellow London CAAT member Rose Shawyer said:  “The BBC has a worldwide reputation for producing quality programming that is in complete contrast with the sordid image of the arms trade. This reputation is being sullied by its continued dealings with Clarion Events. They should stop their involvement with Clarion Events. I want to see va va voom not ba ba boom.”

The last DSEI was in September of this year and saw countries such as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia invited to buy the latest weapons. The UK government continues to sell weapons to countries involved in the Arab Spring, with Egypt and Bahrain recently receiving weapons and dual-use equipment worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

"Top Gear presenters" come clean - and say end the arms trade now
"Top Gear presenters" come clean - and say end the arms trade now

Watch this space for CAAT’s “Top Gear arms trade Xmas Special” video – out soon!

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