When the League of Social Democrats emerged as the big winner in the Legislative Council election last year, analysts predicted that the rise of the radicals would profoundly change Hong Kong politics. It did not take long to prove they were close to the truth. First, it was the banana-hurling antics by league chairman Wong Yuk-man at the chief executive's question-and-answer session last year. That was followed by the chaos when Mr Wong and two colleagues tried to disrupt the presentation of the budget speech by Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah in late February. Last week, the trio whipped up a storm over alleged verbal abuse in Legco when they used foul language to criticise top government officials at a series of special Finance Committee sessions. Their verbal offensive prompted an orchestrated counterstrike from central and Hong Kong government officials, including Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and liaison office vice-director Li Gang. But, while stepping up their public criticism of the league's legislators, government officials said privately there was not much more they could do. Chinese newspaper reports said government officials would stage a walkout in protest if the worst came to the worst. Legco president Tsang Yok-sing, meanwhile, has asked the rules and procedures subcommittee to find ways to curb the use of foul language to uphold the dignity of Legco. One idea is to compile a list of terms and expressions deemed inappropriate in sessions. Pundits fear that such an idea would only encourage more uncouth talk, but would not help reach a conclusion. With the league's legislators showing no sign of changing their actions and words, the so-called 'foul language' saga looks unlikely to be over any time soon. This is not so much because public opinion is divided or unclear; the opposite is true. It is fair to say that most people do not support their radical approach. But, importantly, it is equally clear that the league's latest antics have received a measure of support and sympathy from a small, but significant, segment of the populace - although their arguments are neither sound nor strong. For instance, one argument is that the league's legislators' use of foul language is understandable, if not justifiable, because the chief executive and Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen have allegedly made some equally indecent remarks. Another line of thinking is that the use of violence in language is nothing compared with the imbalance of power in Legco under an undemocratic system, which is heavily tilted towards vested interests. The outburst of frustration and anger towards the unfair political system, made worse by official inertia and insensitivity to public sentiment, should therefore come as no surprise, the argument goes. There is no denying that the league legislators had their fingers burned after breaching the limits of tolerance of the majority of people. It is premature to say, however, that they will be penalised by voters in elections. The more likely scenario is that they will still garner enough support from voters who favour their radical approach to gain a fair number of Legco seats under the present election system. Such voters may not agree with every protest staged by the league's legislators. But, as long as the undemocratic political system and social injustices remain unchanged, they see the league as a valuable voice to challenge the status quo. Six months into the Legco term, the intensified offensive by the league has further radicalised local politics. How the foul-language row will develop remains unclear. But, like it or not, radical politics will continue to attract a good following as long as the root causes are not being addressed. Chris Yeung is the Post's editor-at-large.