Tuesday, 25 September 2012

It's GateGate! Andrew Mitchell v Tiresome Plebs

'Thrasher' Mitchell yesterday, and in the 
background where he should be, a pleb.
The Tory Party’s chief whip, Andrew 'Thrasher' Mitchell, has insulted police constables guarding Downing Street. 

Leaving after an arduous day’s work but refused an exit by his preferred gate, Mitchell angrily rounded on the officers, calling them “fucking plebs” and screaming at them to “learn your fucking place." 

As the tirade duly went viral, how Prime Minister David Flashman must have cringed.  At a stroke the Conservatives' real imperative has been laid bare. Flashman and his creatures govern for society’s upper reaches, ‘people like us’, not bothering with those below. This episode will haunt the Tories, the party which now openly views most of Britain’s electorate as the great unwashed. It’s a PR apocalypse, and Labour 'leader' Ed Miliband must be on his knees gibbering with gratitude. 

Now isn’t a good time to attack the police. In Manchester they have a terrible tragedy to deal with, and across the country savage budget cuts to somehow manage. Eventually, millionaire Mitchell managed to express some regret for his outburst, explaining he’d had a hard day. 

But the chief whip’s contrition was far from an ‘unreserved apology', whatever that is. Mitchell admitted the general episode but denied the abuse. His regret was more a self-justification, an arrogant sorry-lite which deceived no-one. 

It turned out Thrasher’s fraught day had included a slap-up lunchtime meal with toff friends. His outburst, by contrast, has the ring of truth, the term ‘pleb’ a typical expression someone of his age and outlook would use. Police logs confirm the rant; why would constables invent this stuff?

If I walked up to a police officer and shouted “you fucking pleb”, I’d expect some come-back. Labour is calling for an enquiry, but no doubt the episode will be brushed under the carpet as best Flashman can. Discouraged from making a fuss, the constables may be moved to other duties. But for the Tories and Andrew Mitchell life will continue much as usual, until 2015.

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