Coffee House

Thrasher Mitchell’s toxic tirade

21 September 2012

21 September 2012

Andrew Mitchell spent two years detoxifying his image at the International Development department, wearing charity wristbands and talking about polio vaccines. But however much success he enjoyed in creating a persona of a reasonable, mild-mannered man concerned with poverty (and our leading article this week disputes whether the programmes he led were anywhere near as successful as that), the man known as ‘Thrasher’ trashed that reputation this week. The Sun reports that he raged ‘You’re f***ing plebs’ at policemen who had the temerity to stop him from cycling out of the Downing Street gates. His tirade allegedly included him repeatedly telling the police officers that he was the chief whip, as though he were twisting the arm of a cocky young MP threatening to rebel against the government. The paper says:

A source reported Mr Mitchell as saying: ‘Open this gate, I’m the Chief Whip. I’m telling you – I’m the chief whip and I’m coming through these gates.’

The account of events – which Mitchell disputes, while apologising for behaviour he realises was unacceptable – also says this:

The PC targeted by the tirade reported to his superiors that Mitchell told him: ‘Best you learn your f***ing place. You don’t run this f***ing government. You’re f***ing plebs.’

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Actually, Andrew Mitchell doesn’t run this f***ing government, either: he ensures that MPs in the Conservative party support the policies of the f***ing government, which is led by the Prime Minister.

It’s not impossible to imagine a chief whip of any party, giddy with the rush that comes from reaching the dizzy heights of a position that most of the public have never heard of, but which inspires fear into the hearts of MPs, launching a ‘don’t-you-know-who-I-am’ tirade at a policeman. But there are two things that make this tirade particularly toxic for Thrasher.

The first is the appalling timing: Mitchell’s rant took place on Wednesday, which the Sun points out was just 33 hours after two policewomen were shot dead in Manchester. While his colleagues in the government were releasing statements praising the bravery and dignity of the police force, Mitchell was apparently calling another one of its members a ‘pleb’ because he wasn’t allowed to ride his bike through a gate.

The second is that word ‘pleb’. Mitchell claims these were not the words he used, but ‘pleb’ is the sort of word that people who still see the Conservative as the Nasty Party imagine Tories use the whole time. A much smaller problem than the party’s image is Mitchell’s own standing among MPs. This is the man who is supposed to make the rowdy Conservative party behave, yet here he is, a week into the job, losing control over something totally insignificant.


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  • YouWhat

    No sympathy for either the jumped up twerp or the Jobsworth plod. We pay their wages and they are both behaving above their stations.

  • Paul

    It sounds very much as if plod was being a jobs worth. When will copers learn to apply common sense to a situation? Pleb is accurate, and he should not have apologised.

  • Malfleur

    Mitchell doesn’t like the nanny state – but only when it nannies him.

  • Jules

    The worst part is: “best you learn you f**king place”. Who the hell says that in modern Britain in 2012? Reeks of privilege and entitlement. He obviously thinks the ‘plebs’ (inclu police) place is below him.

    It’s a Romney moment. What they say when they think there will be no consequences and their true opinions.

    Can anyone imagine Maggie Thatcher saying those things to the police? A Cameron led Tory party is alienating every part of society, seriously Labour just have to sit back and watch the voters flock to them

  • paulus

    I personally think this attitude is indicative of cyclists. They honestly think they can break every rule of the road and even the pavement.

    The high handed manner is to be expected from someone who clearly supports green issues and giving away other peoples money, the higher echalons of the government are infested with these people.

    So how can these lefty trolls try to smear the conservatives as any true conservative would have passed thru the gate in a Jag !!
    Moreover, he is such a fool how could he get into a fight with the policeman over who runs the government. Im sure the bobby has never thought for one moment that he runs the government. Its akin to some crazy with a sandwich board accosting you yelling…your not John J Rockerfeller.

  • Ex constituant

    Mitchell has always been an arrogant, patronising, man with little regard for anyone but himself. Cameron should sack him – he won’t resign!

  • Ex constituant

    Mitchell has always been an arrogant, patronising, man with little regard for anyone but himself. Cameron should sack him – he won’t resign!

  • phillipoppenheim

    Andrew Mitchell’s (aka Slimeball by his colleagues) outburst doesn’t surprise me – a few years ago I posted comments on my then political blog pointing out that as a junior minister under Major, Mitchell was significantly responsible for the Child Support Agency fiasco (which hurt a lot of my constituents).

    He went on to lose a safe Tory seat and following his return to the Commons, his arrogance helped lose David Davies the leadership election. Before long, my phone rang: “You f*****g sh**t – you absolute c**t – I thought you were a friend of mine.”
    It was Mitchell. Sorry Mitch, you never had any friends – we all knew you too well.

  • TomTom

    So Mitchell joined The Royal Tank Regiment on 22 February 1975 and was terminated on 8 October 1975……will he survive longer in his current job ? I certainly hope so. He represents so much of what people feel about this ruling clique and he is honest what he thinks about those who do not obey. It is perfect. Rarely has a Chief Whip revealed so much about the internal views of a Government and its attitude to the voting public. Let him stay !

  • Cortun

    I very much doubt if this writer knows what really was said or what happened, but hey in the new-style Spectator that shouldn’t stop their being a daffy, five minutes to write column, and how ridiculously mawkish to mention the two shot police officers. Why is the Spectator taking its leads from a report in the Sun. Coppers are no angels, and many are jobsworths, and I wonder if they had provoked the guy

  • Robert Taggart

    Before condemning Thrasher – just remember how anti-social the Kops can be…
    Remember Ian Tomlinson, Jean Charles de Menezes, the Hilsborough 96 and many others… only one of their assailants ever came to court – and got off scot-free !

    You may still believe in Dixon of Dock Green, but, society knows better.

    • Jules

      Just you remember what they do in the line of duty.

      Only 3 days ago two women police officers were sent unarmed into one of Britain’s most violent estates. They died after being gunned down in a hail of bullets and had a grenade thrown at them. Police see the worst side of humanity everyday of their working lives. Child abuse, murder, violence you name they deal with it.

      Have more respect.

      • Robert Taggart

        So two died ‘in the line of duty’ – boo hoo – many more innocent people die in kop shop cells – without so much as a murmur.
        One can understand why the kops are milking this tragedy in Hattersley for all its worth – most folk no longer trust them !
        Respect ? Are you taking the ‘proverbial’ ?!

        • Ridcully

          Why the need for sarcasm quotes for “In the line of duty?” That is precisely what they were doing- putting themselves in the line of fire for what they believed in. I’m sorry if that doesn’t fit in with your anti-police hatred- feel free to go back to gloating over those WPCs deaths.

          • Robert Taggart

            ‘Gloating’ !

      • Robert Taggart

        So two died ‘in the line of duty’ – boo hoo – many more innocent people die in kop shop cells – without so much as a murmur.
        One can understand why the kops are milking this tragedy in Hattersley for all its worth – most folk no longer trust them !
        Respect ? Are you taking the ‘proverbial’ ?!

  • Hexhamgeezer

    As an unreconstructed pleb I can confirm that we dont run the country and, furthermore. neither does the likes of Mitchell Cameron Clog and Milliband.
    The difference is that I mind.

  • rhys

    He has admitted using bad language, but not to the extent reported in the Sun.
    However, all those writing in the papers who know him of old report that this is exactly the kind of language they would expect of him.
    I have not seen a single report of any colleague attempting to defend him – itself fairly significant.
    Sounds a really nasty piece of public-school work.
    If he did use the language reported in the Sun, it amounts to a Section 5 Public Order Act offence of behaviour ‘ liable to cause harrassment , alarm or distress ‘.
    Anyone could ask the Magistrate’s Court for a summons to bring him to Court [ Horseferry Road MC ] to answer to the information.
    What the private prosecutor would need would be the name of the police officer he offended in order to obtain a witness summons to bring that person to Court to give evidence. Any attempt by the policeman’s superiors to cool things would be trumped by the Magistrate’s summons.

  • Master Cobbett

    What an unattractive bunch some of these younger Tory ministers are; self important, bullying, self righteous. Mitchell joins the list of Schapps, Hancock…ugh. This type of Tory seems to prosper when they have a weak leader at the helm –remember Major and the ghastly way some MP’s behaved under him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.booth.39108 Steve Booth

    If he’s that ignorant he has no right to any post in government or even politics (h’mm might have to think again about that one).

  • IRISHBOY

    Does anyone here know what would have happened to a real pleb had he spoken to a police officer in this way? A caution (which is enough to scupper any chance of getting a visa to the USA), or a charge? Still one law for them and another for us.

  • Vulture

    Cameron won’t sack him because he’s only saying in public what Dave thinks in private.
    Dave despises us Plebs too. We are the common people who must be fooled all the time.
    And people go on voting for them: we deserve everything we get.

  • Vulture

    Cameron won’t sack him because he’s only saying in public what Dave thinks in private.
    Dave despises us Plebs too. We are the common people who must be fooled all the time.
    And people go on voting for them: we deserve everything we get.

  • james102

    If Cameron wants to home in on the real detoxify issue this is it: snobbery.
    Get the Focus groups looking at it.

    The media class have a dose of it with Ukip, the blazer and golf club remarks etc ,but the Conservatives need to deal with it as ruthlessly as they do racism, as it is damaging them with the electorate and the present leadership are extremely vulnerable on the issue.

  • Alan Eastwood

    Another nail in the coffin for the conservative party. With people like this in government with such contempt for ordinary working people, the sooner they are thrown into the dustbin of history the better.
    Cameron will not sack him he has not got the guts. This government has no soul.

  • wireworm

    Mitchellgate?

    • itdoesntaddup

      I think it’s still known as the Downing Street Gate.

      • Airey Belvoir

        Thje Gerry Adams Gate, surely?

  • statechaos

    Surely if he did use the f-word it demonstrates that he is just like everybody else?

    • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

      sure fuck is OK its the plebs bit and know your place etc garnished with fucking that apalls.

      • itdoesntaddup

        Didn’t he say οἱ πολλοί?

        • UlyssesReturns

          If attempting erudition please get it right. οἱ πολλοί means the many but what he could have said was οἱ ὀλίγοι meaning the few – as in an oligarchy, which is what we are experiencing it seems since the reign of Blair, Brown, Balls and the other Bastards.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Erm, I did get it right: he was alleged to have called the policeman a pleb, not a member of the elite. Did you forget your Greek on your travels?

    • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

      sure fuck is OK its the plebs bit and know your place etc garnished with fucking that apalls.

  • ToryOAP

    I don’t have a problem with this – some jumped-up copper jobsworth stops a senior member of the Government and when reprimanded runs squealing to his bosses and the press? He should have got a clip ’round the ear like he would have got in my day. Mitchell may be a slimy toad but the current crop of lefty politicised policemen and women are worse than useless. Good for stopping cyclists and car drivers and murdering innocent newspaper sellers but damn useless at preventing crime. One earns respect, it is not a right that comes with a pointy helmet and an unhelpful attitude.

    • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

      What a load of twaddle. The Bobbie was doing as he was instructed which he is paid to do. The whip might have exercised his common sense and wheeled his bike a few yards and obeyed the police officer who was there to protect him.
      He preferred to abuse the officer. Typical Tory is my first, second and last response.
      Throw another pleb on the fire. Quite a draft in here.

      • Nicholas

        Talking of plebs the word is “draught” if you are British. Draft is something the Labour Party does with foreigners it wants to vote for them.

        • UlyssesReturns

          At school we called them proles. Labour call them voters and call us taxpayers scum.

          • james102

            And the police on duty called him a Wally no doubt., and on that bike you could see their point.The problem is our entire political class are considered wallies while they think they are brilliant .

      • Nicholas

        Talking of plebs the word is “draught” if you are British. Draft is something the Labour Party does with foreigners it wants to vote for them.

      • UlyssesReturns

        Ah yes – teacher troll – welcome back; nothing much happening at CiF?. I was not there, you were not there, the Sun was not there, but of course we all know what happened and what was said. Even if it is as reported, my concern is that what was said (or what was purported to be said) is now public domain. It seems the Met still has a direct (premium?) line to the press despite Leveson.

    • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

      What a load of twaddle. The Bobbie was doing as he was instructed which he is paid to do. The whip might have exercised his common sense and wheeled his bike a few yards and obeyed the police officer who was there to protect him.
      He preferred to abuse the officer. Typical Tory is my first, second and last response.
      Throw another pleb on the fire. Quite a draft in here.

    • Mirtha Tidville

      Tory Oap….says it all. Your comments are not only inaccurate but offensive.Sadly typical of a lot of old people these days

    • BillyK

      Having dealt with some of the robocops in London, can see some of your point. The other bit is some sanctimonious shit thinking that they are too important to follow what is probably the rules. If I had an instruction posted and one of my subordinates gave way to breaking a rule then he would deserve a clip round the ear. When one of my subordinates is in the right I will back them up to the hilt and any shit will fall on my shoulders. When they are in the wrong then the shit will again fall on my shoulders. That is a leadership function or is that not trendy these days?

    • TomTom

      Obviously not a “jumped-up copper” or he would have let Mitchell suck on the muzzle of his gun….the Met is not usually afraid to do a de Menezes, so Mitchell should tread warily

  • Austin Barry

    Snobbery, self-regard and gross insensitivity all contained in the patronising, oil-slick who loved to give our tax money away to Third World despots while lecturing us with pious platitudes. I can just imagine exactly how he referred to those foreign, f*cking plebs in private.

  • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

    The Chief Whip should be reported to the police in any case because he is surely guilty of a breach of privilege in using his position to bribe and/or threaten MPs in the execution of their representation of the electorate, and is guilty of corruption in a public office for the same use of bribes and threats towards MPs.

    Now is the time to see if there are any police not too busy reading Twitter, and whether they will investigate all reports of criminal activity, or only those involving conservative folk.

  • Heartless etc.,

    The wagging finger . . . the open mouth . . . there’s something about that pose . . . . hell-fire preacher? . . . ‘Green’ issue Nutcase? . . sometime Coal Mine Union Leader? . . . who can it be?

  • Swiss Bob

    “The PC targeted by the tirade reported to his superiors that Mitchell told him: ‘Best you learn your f***ing place. You don’t run this f***ing government. You’re f***ing plebs.’”

    So someone in the police service is talking to NI journalists? Did they get paid for this tidbit.

  • Bruce, UK

    he [Mitchell] ensures that MPs in the Conservative party support the policies of
    the f***ing government, which is led by the Prime Minister.

    I’ll take that bet.

  • Archimedes

    What an idiot. Cameron ought to get rid of him immediately – symbolic reasons should be incentive enough to do that.

    • Robert Taggart

      Thrasher now knows what it be like when confronted by arrogant, insolent and obstreperous Koppers !
      His only mistake ? – to apologise !

  • John_Page

    So Cameron knowingly appointed an arrogant sh*t to be a minister and then chief whip. Iain Martin in his blog thinks Mitchell will be extremely lucky to survive the weekend. But if Cameron was serious about detoxifying the Tories he would have sacked Mitchell straight away. As it is, Labour will keep resurrecting this. It’s the sort of thing people remember.

    It’s not as if thrasher has any principles except for the rise and rise of thrasher. He supported DD for the leadership and when his man lost he became a Cameroon. In DFID he was obediently shovelling money out the door. Justine Greening’s start there suggests Mitchell’e record at DFID isn’t going to look good. He was a tainted brand anyway.

    • james102

      Yes what they seem to be missing is the detoxification needs to treat snobbery in the same way as racism ,sexism etc.In fact in terms of practical politics it is more important as the majority of the electorate don’t think the former are as important as the political class does.

    • Alan Eastwood

      John, Never overlook that this plonker was in earnest talks with Osborne whilst running David Davies’ campaign. A two faced arrogant sh+t indeed.

    • Alan Eastwood

      John, Never overlook that this plonker was in earnest talks with Osborne whilst running David Davies’ campaign. A two faced arrogant sh+t indeed.

    • Jules

      This is what Benedict Brogan says other MP’s thought of Mitchell:

      “They shook their heads in wonderment at the way he oiled up to George Osborne in mid-leadership campaign, and how the high living millionaire reinvented himself as a friend of the world’s poor.”

  • james102

    As I commented on your other piece about Farage and the Today programme, this is the real story of the day.
    It has it all.Snobbery,an issue the public school three;Cameron,Osborne and Clegg are vulnerable on, an anti-police insult a couple of days after the murder of two WPCs,a ridiculous bike complete with basket and a suited Mitchell—-and a funny nickname: Thrasher.

    Cameron should get rid of him and make a virtue out of a necessity.

    • Dimoto

      All fair comment, but does anyone know why a well-known, senior government figure can’t take his bike through the “pearly gates”, does he need an accredited bike chauffeur ?
      Is Mitchell a suspected terrorist, or is this just more police jobsworthyness ?

      • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

        Are you aware of the instructions the ‘offending bobbies’ had received. No? Neither am I . So I do not judge the police officers. It is about an arrogant Tory minister.

        • Dimoto

          Which is precisely why I asked the question. Doh !
          At least I got two decent answers.

      • Alan Eastwood

        There is a side gate which accomodates bicycles. The man should be sacked OR entered into the Tour de France.

      • http://twitter.com/mackydee1977 Macky Dee

        It’s simply because if one does it, everyone could end up doing it and the police need to be able to see who these people are so they know who comes and who goes. It’s a little thing like “just letting the police acknowledge that they know who’s going through the gates”.

      • Mirtha Tidville

        The more you open the gates the more you weaken the security at a vulnerable point, or if you like it makes security easier by using the pedestrian gates unless a vehicle needs to come in and out

      • BillyK

        I think that the issue was that he was asked/told to take his bike out of one of the side gates, not the main gate. However it appears that he is too important to go through that plebian one!

      • Frank P

        Of course its a ‘jobsworth’ jobbie, I’m surprised there hasn’t been a lot more of it, given what’s been done to the rank and file in the Job over the past thirty years. All it needed was the sort of arrogance that oozes from the likes of Pooter, to trigger a pay-back fizzer. More to come, I would guess. The protection boys have little else to do than observe and gossip about the indiscretions of their charges (not to mention indulging in a few of their own from time to time – ask Alan Johnson about that).

        • ButcombeMan

          If YOU agree it IS a Jobsworth matter, that is good enough for me. What I find astonishing is it still being discussed on “Today” at 0810.

    • Austin Barry

      Although Thrasher seems to have eschewed the sexually sinister Lycra, his arrogance typifies that of the average maniacal cyclist. It used to be polite to dismount when on a pavement, but now it seems mandatory to ride at demonic speed on a bell-less bike, while pedestrians are, for their own safety, doomed to walk in geometrically precise straight lines. May their sadistic saddles condemn them to eternal plumbing problems and wither their pipes.

      • Frank P

        Who verballed who? We’ll never know, folks. Fun though, ennit, as the pompous push-pedal Pooter polishes off his last chance of promotion in politics? Well deserved ignominy.

        • Noa

          I dunno, we just might Frank. I thought that officers on duty carried personal video recorders, in order to support their own notes and evidence.
          Unfortunately we probably won’t see the obnoxious, lycra-clad lout on Youtube any time soon.

          • Frank P

            Think about it, Noa. The repartee was over in a coupla ticks; no chance of vid or even an audio on that exchange. So each side can claim copyright of their own verbals and the Met Federation Rep has already garnered corroboration for the PO; I can guess which side the red tops will take. Not least because it fits the character (and the previous) of the Pooter – and anyway CMD has already handed him a shit-sandwich, so WTF?

            He may have to go, if the hounds keep baying, but on the other hand he had already been allotted a poisoned chalice. Who else would want to whip the Tory Party in in its current state of disarray? Unless they cut some deal with Farage they are already toast, anyway.

            Perhaps we need four more years of Obama and a dose of the Red-Eds here to wake the electorate to reality of hard-core socialism in the West, it hasn’t quite suffered the real rigours of it yet. At the moment it is still living on markers – notional money unwittingly promised by its unborn children, but soon the markets will refuse those markers as the ponzi peters out. Revolution then, for sure. What that will ensue is anybody’s guess.

        • ButcombeMan

          “Verballed” Frank? Tut Tut. Shame.
          A Metropolitan Police original expression. Experts at it. Taught in Hendon no doubt. One would think the Chief Whip would know that.

          • Frank P

            George Garnham, a stalwart Sergeant from the Royal Division, once defined
            “Verbal” in words that would have pleased Ambrose Bierce:

            Verbal: Something a foolish criminal blurts out when arrested, which his shyster tells him to retract in Court.

            Perfick!

            • ButcombeMan

              Aye. I heard that one before. Oft quoted in MetPol banter.

              It changes nothing. Mitchel was a prat to be rude to the jobsworth Officer but the Officer was foolish in the extreme not open the road gate a couple of feet so that Mitchell did not have to dismount. It is not as if there were baying hordes of rioters outside.

              Very probably the Officer was misusing his power and not applying common sense, simply because he could,. you know it happens.

              To then go running to the Federation and/or his superiors, smacks of a political fit-up and the sort of “verballing” that MetPol has been famous for, for years.

              A lot of fuss about not very much. Neither Mitchell nor the Officer comes out of it very well in my view. Too much energy wasted on it by people who should know better.

              Two Officers shot in Manchester on a public service house call, that IS worth comment and analysis.

    • Austin Barry

      Although Thrasher seems to have eschewed the sexually sinister Lycra, his arrogance typifies that of the average maniacal cyclist. It used to be polite to dismount when on a pavement, but now it seems mandatory to ride at demonic speed on a bell-less bike, while pedestrians are, for their own safety, doomed to walk in geometrically precise straight lines. May their sadistic saddles condemn them to eternal plumbing problems and wither their pipes.

  • telemachus

    He denies the plebs but you and I have all read about Thrasher and Flashman

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