Coffee House

Will ‘plod-gate’ make voters more sceptical of class-based political attacks?

23 December 2012

2:47 PM

23 December 2012

2:47 PM

The Andrew Mitchell story has always been about class. If all Mitchell was alleged to have said was ‘you supposed to f’ing help us’ there would have been some clucking and some mockery but no serious calls for his resignation. But the word ‘pleb’ and the phrase ‘know your place’ made the charge toxic. This was also what made some in Number 10 so queasy about any kind of robust defence of Mitchell; the Cameroons believe that whenever the conservation is about class the Tories are losing.

This class angle is also what enabled the Labour Party to make political hay out of the issue. But the more we find out about this story, the more—polls indicate—people believe Mitchell’s version of events and his claim that he never said ‘pleb or ‘know your place.’ I wonder if this will make voters’ more sceptical of class attacks in general. It is certainly embarrassing for Yvette Cooper, who made great play out of what Mitchell was supposed to have said.

One other thing to note is that there seems to be a divide among Mitchell’s supporters about how David Cameron himself handled the issue. One texted me yesterday to say that he felt uneasy about how some were trying to use this issue to criticise Cameron.

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Show comments
  • Marcella

    Talking about suit buttoning does anyone remember when the Chinese blew a gasket over Boris at the Beijing Olympics because he had his suit unbuttoned and his hands in his pockets gentleman-style? I always thought what do the Chinese know about wearing a suit, but what do the experts on here think?

  • HillStBlues

    That the police lied should come as no surprise to the cognoscienti

  • timinsingapore

    Cameron handled the situation as well as he could have, given the absence of solid evidence to discredit the plod logs. As things now stand, the best thing he (and Mitchell) can do is maintain a dignified silence. Let the sewage seep out of its own accord.

    I feel a bit sorry for the police officer’s young relative, who got arrested for – it appears, and allegedly – doing what his uncle might well have told him to do.

  • Mike

    Every dog has its bad day and now its the turn of plod. From incompetence in the Menendes killing to lying over Hillsborough let alone the numerous lesser criminal acts like taking a bung from a journo, the police have virtually no respect from the general public especially when they can’t even attend to break-ins and minor crimes. Their integrity is virtually shot and follows politicians into that cess pit self indulgence and lies.

    • jasonjapanwhite

      Jean Charles de Menezes
      The least you could do in showing respect to a victim of police brutality is to spell his name correctly.

      • Mike

        At least I can remember most of the gross ‘mistakes’ that plod has made over the past 10 years even though I mistakenly spelled this Brazilians name wrong. I think that still shows respect, what have you contributed to this debate other than complain about spelling.

        • Guest

          It would be difficult for a know-nothing yet meddlesome proud Japanese foreigner, who was neither born or is otherwise native to England, who hasn’t obviously got a clue in order to have anything meaningful to say. I think that we call this “trolling”, and indeed he used to troll under the name “Jackthesmilingblack”, I think that you will find!

  • starfish

    Is the absence of any comments from telemachus indicative of the Christmas break at Labour HQ, general goodwill to all men at yuletide, flooding or something more sinister?

  • Sarge

    The only class issue worth debating is the utter lack of it amongst the political elite.No doubt they will be spouting their love for hard working families in 2015 -what have any of them done for that group ever?

    Utter scum.

  • TomTom

    I thought the issue was whether Mitchell would be effective as Chief Whip given his history of being somewhat thuggish….and that Cameron was in such a weak position that he desperately needed an effective Chief Whip and Mitchell was not suitable despite Cameron apointing him

  • The Red Bladder

    So some Members of Parliament, of all parties and including several Privy Councilors, believed the statements of Police Officers. Would it not have provoked a scandal if they hadn’t?

  • Malfleur

    Let’s not shift the focus, please. The best reason offered so far for the possible stitch-up was to derail the Home Secretary’s austerity measures planned for the police. The ideological means to this is secondary. Let’s find out ‘why?’ first.

  • HooksLaw

    On the Cameron angle – I think the BBC quote 2 ‘unnamed’ friends. This is hardly the basis for any comment.
    Of more interest is the local police federation adviser, Jon Gaunt.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Despite your headline this is a bit of damage limitation puffery for dave. Mitchell’s contention was always that class had nowt to do with it.

    dave’s lack of spine in this business is worthy of note and further criticism.

  • paulus

    Realistically, Cameron could not have done much more, the police asserted that this incident happened the way they have described it. Can the Prime Minister be seen to doubt the word of the police? No.

    It was up to Mitchell to defend himself, and this he has clearly done as he has proved the police have lied, colluded, broken about a dozen laws, for that prosecutions must be brought.

    The very substance of this is a conspiracy of lies has been fabricated by the agency of law in forcement to bring down an elected representative of the people and minister of the Crown.

    A secondary but no less important aspect is the collusion between the met and News international. Their actions over this episode and episodes in the past have imperilled the freedom of the whole press.

    This is a dirty little episode, and the politicians are up to their necks in it, but what they must put first and formost is the integrity of the democratic society.

    • ButcombeMan

      “Cameron could not have done much more”.

      Not correct.. Cameron, without publicly challenging the Police account should have had a proper investigation carried out into the e-mail. He had after all, sight of the e-mail.

      He should not have relied on the hapless and inexperienced Cabinet Secretary. That was absolutely ridiculous. How can the Cabinet Secretary carry out an investigation. He is just not equipped to do that sort of work without prpofessional assistance

      If there was just the suspicion that Mitchell was being set up in an orchestrated attack on the government (and their plainly was) Cameron could have asked the Security Service to establish the bona fides of the e-mailer. and check the veracity by looking at the videos.

      Armed with the information as to the identity of the e-mailer. Cameron or his appointee would then have written privately to Hogan Howe providing the e-mail to carry out MetPol own enquiries.

      No public challenge, just good management.

      • Rue de la Loi

        “Hapeless” is certainly a fair description of Sir Jeremy Heywood, but (in any other circumstances) the Mandarinate would be greatly insulted at the thought that they were “just not equippred” to investigte this; these are people who, after a few years studying for an arts degree consider themselves qualified to pronounce on anything – the rapid rate of rotation of senior civil servants between posts and even between departments shows that actual knowledge of the technocratic complexities of modern government is not considered necessary in Whitehall. No wonder all the really important stuff has been outsourced to Brussels.

  • D B


  • toni

    I don’t think the YouGov polling for the Telegraph supports your optimism.
    See their front page.

    • HooksLaw

      A liberal friend of mine who is quite political had never heard of the breaking news on Wednesday night. So its a poll based I think on a vague attention span. Which is probably why 41% ‘don’t know’

      • toni

        The YouGov poll was undertaken on 20 and 21 Dec.

        Who did the polling James Forsythe refers to?
        When was it done?

        So those who responded optimistically to the poll JF refers to *don’t* have vague attention spans?

        • HooksLaw

          They would seem to know of and understand the issue.

          • toni

            Suggest JF’s “poll” involved ringing round a few chums 😉

            • Colonel Mustard

              Which is pretty much what You Gov do. Except that in their case it is a few hundred left-wing fellow travellers rather than chums. I registered with You Gov several years ago and once they had established that my views were right wing I NEVER received a single political poll to complete. The whole operation, regardless of sponsorship, is another left-wing scam designed to influence rather than record public opinion.

              • HooksLaw

                I can edge towards agreeing with you there.

              • toni

                Well, Colonel, that’s the only thing we have in common.

                I registered with them early this year and have never been asked my opinion. On anything. And obviously I’m not right wing.


                • Colonel Mustard

                  I couldn’t possibly speculate on what we might or might not have in common. That would be presumptive of me.

                • toni

                  That we’re both registered with YouGov?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  As the “only” thing? Who knows?

  • HooksLaw

    Its probable that the damages from the smear will stick. Labour smear all the time – they never worry about it being untrue.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Absolutely correct. The Labour party have only one real and true policy and that is to smear and discredit political opponents by any means possible in order to gain power. They are a party in being as a conspiracy to smear, which also involves dissembling and lying about their own activities.

      The greatest wonder is that the media have not got to grips with this or subjected them to the tearing apart they so richly deserve.

  • oldtimer

    Re plebgate, it is good to see that there actually a gate involved in this story – actually two gates, one for cars and another for pedestrians (whether or not they are wheeling a bicycle).

    On the substance of the story, it has all the marks of a stitch up and dirty tricks. The key issue is how far it extends in the Police Federation hierarchy, and if it extends beyond it. The Cabinet Secretary-Cameron response at the time was clearly deficient.

    • HooksLaw

      Correct about the ‘gate’ except it should be called plodgate or gategate or ‘smeargate’.

      Cameron could not investigate his own minister or do anything that might be construed as putting pressure on police officers.

  • Austin Barry

    I doubt that the public care about a politician’s class: they’re all perceived as self-serving, self-regarding liars and thieves who are generally useless in everything except playing the increasingly pointless Westminster Game.

    • Rahul Kamath

      This is probably true. It’s also deeply unfortunate. We should pay our politicians more, a lot more. That may ensure that we get more competent people as MPs and more competition for seats.

      • Vindice

        Rather, to achieve that end, we should pay our MPs absolutely nothing.

  • andagain

    I wonder if this will make voters’ more sceptical of class attacks in general.

    I doubt it. Attacks that claim the Tories do not care about the unfortunate work for the same reason that attacks that claim that Labour are happy to waste money on the undeserving work.

    They work because they are often true.

    In the meantime, the war between the Tories and the police should be of benefit to Labour. The Tories will suffer some damage from it, and Labour will not.

  • Mildly surprised

    An interesting theory and one that I hope is true. It is high time class ceased to play a part in politics. It is our actions and where we are going, rather than where we came from that matter. It seems to me that the class card is only played when the “player” has run out of ideas or realises they don’t have a rational argument. The other telltale sign of which is when the man is attacked rather than the ball.

    It is high time “classism” was made as unacceptable as all the other ‘isms.

    • Paul J

      Don’t be silly.
      The point about the other “isms” is that they represent groups which face occasionally unfair discrimination. The upper class don’t.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Actually they more often represent identity groups, real or imaginary, that are used by others for the purpose of gaining political advantage and control. It is more than a coincidence that most of those others have left wing agendas.

        The “classism” ‘ism is just an extension of the identity group politics now essential to leftist power but so divisive to the cohesion of society. “Toffs” followed by “Plebs” is part of an ongoing deception intended to create a one party state. By demonising easily hated but politically irrelevant groups proper scrutiny is diverted from the group gaining power. The strategy was rolled out by the NSDAP and is now being rolled out by their cultural successors the Labour party, the national socialist party of the UK.

        No-one in the media, not one single journo, has pointed out the absolute contradiction and ridiculous paradox of the party that created Devolution and now boasts of One Nation.

  • perdix

    Labour will continue to use class-based attacks. There is a hard core of their followers that like it – they have no other ideas for the country.

  • Vulture

    The whole affair shows Cameron up for the weakling that he is. Ashamed of his own posh background he refused to sack or support the obnoxious Mitchell and simply dithered.

    Now that alleged Police corruption has been revealed he has done nothing again: Heywood and Hogan-Howe should have gone by now; the former for muffing the internal inquiry, the latter for disgracefully backing the two coppers on the Gate – thus prejudging the issue.

    But then what can we expect of the man who appointed Patten to the BBC? I’d rather have the Plebs running things: the Patricians have made a complete balls of it since the Somme, if not before.

    • Charles

      He supported him for a month, Vulture. Mitchell ultimately resigned when the political pressure grew too much for him to do his job effectively

      I know you don’t like or rate Cameron, but don’t let your prejudices blind you to the facts

      • Vulture

        But Charles, Mitchell’s own camp are briefing that Cameron left him to hang out to dry! Downing Street also seems to have sat on the CCTV footage that would have supported Mitchell’s side of the story. Mitchell’s evident bitterness about Dave says it all.

        Yet again – as with Andy Coulson, rebekah brooks, and numerous other cases his woeful lack of political judgement or backbone has been cruelly exposed. The man is an utter washout on any level – a flabby, useless incompetent.

        • HooksLaw

          No one has sat on anything. When asked thinkgs were handed over.The PM supported Mitchell as Charles says. Indeed the PM supported Mitchell all the time he was spending money on Foreign Aid. How do you and your friend David Davis stand on that?

          You are exposed as just another smearer.

        • realfish

          So, Vulture, from the horses mouth, what does Mitchell have to say on this, in the ST, today?
          ‘I had nothing but gratitude for the way that the prime minister and his closed political colleagues had stuck by me’
          Clearly you seem to know more about this than Mitchell, himself, does – how do you acquire these powers?.
          It wasn’t Cameron that left Mitchell out to dry, it was the 2010 intake with one eye on their narrow majorities. They were the ones that did Miliband’s job for him. Just as in 1997, they, you and the 19 or so admirers of the insight you claim for yourself will return the country to the clutches of the most discreditable, dishonest, incompetent bunch of self serving political wasters that Britain has ever seen. You may be happy to see Labour return. I won’t

      • HooksLaw

        Fat chance…

    • Andy

      Sorry Vulture, you got it wrong. Cameron might have gone to Eton, but his Father was a stockbroker. Mitchell went to Rugby but his Father, though a Tory MP, was a Wine Merchant. Most of them are middle class oiks, that’s the problem, not the younger sons of belted Earls. And as if proof were needed did you see Cameron when he greeted Her Majesty ? Both jacket buttons fastened. Says it all.

      • Fergus Pickering

        How many jacket buttons are supposed to be fastened. I never fasten any. Is that good? God Almighty, get a life! Or cease getting the Daily Telegraph.

        • Andy

          Ah, another oik.

        • Dukesy

          the rule when wearing a three button jacket is Top button always Middle button sometimes Bottom button never.

          • HooksLaw

            Its all down to the lapels, middle button can be acceptable. Best really is to get a 1 button suit.
            I have always lived in fear of the double breasted suit.
            And of course then there is the waistcoat…

          • Daniel Maris

            Well you’ve never seen how Prince Charles dresses then. Normally on official visits he has all buttons done up. But on less official occasions he frequently has the bottom button undone. Google on his images to see I speak the truth.

            I’ve waited in vain for a return of breeches which I think looked good.

        • HooksLaw

          I never fasten the top button of my shirt – which I think tells all…

          • Jack of all trades

            Too true. OK when I was a schoolboy and a broker; didn’t cut any ice in proper professional jobs. Says it all

          • Vulture

            That’s because straitjackets don’t have buttons.

            • HooksLaw

              Shirt not jacket. I am instinctively cautions of jackets with belts attached.

        • Former sartorial expert

          Buttoning partly depends on how many.

          • Daniel Maris

            Which reminds me of the 18th century suicide note:

            “Too much buttoning and unbuttoning.” LOL

      • Former Stockbroker

        I am sorry but I don’t agree with the thesis that the problem with the Tories is not that they are posh, but they are not posh enough. Their finest twentieth century politician was a grocer’s daughter not a stockbroker’s daughter.

        • HooksLaw

          She signed us up to the single market

        • TomTom

          Married to a millionaire when he needed a replacement wife called Margaret

          • HooksLaw

            He said posh not rich. I am proud to be a member of the nouveau pauvre.

      • Rahul Kamath

        Andy, this is just not correct. Cameron at the age of 12 was flying on the Concorde as part of the birthday celebrations of John Paul Getty Jr. He got his first job at Conservative party HQ after a call to them fm Buckingham Palace. To call him not a toff just bcoz he doesn’t have a title is to miss the point.

        • HooksLaw

          You excellently prove the point of how pointless such bigotry is. Blair went to a school that claims to be more elitist than Eton. The grandson of Getty was not his classmate. So what?
          Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace.

          • Rahul Kamath

            We have a ruling class. They are not exclusively Tory.

            • Hexhamgeezer

              Fck me – i agree…

            • HooksLaw

              No we do not have a ruling class. We have a group of people who are politically obsessive enough that they can or can afford to spend their lives meddling in politics.
              A popular route these days is a degree at Oxford or Cambridge. Middle class Ed Balls is a good example as is working class Ken Clarke.

              No doubt the usual suspects will moan at my bluntness, but despite the festive season I am forced to point out that your assertions are witless cobblers.

              • Rahul Kamath

                I don’t think we are disagreeing. If the only route into a ministerial chair is an Oxbridge degree, a stint as a SPAD etc. etc. you end up with a ‘ruling class’. It may not be one ordained by birth but it is one of a kind.

        • TomTom


      • Colonel Mustard

        He might not be an aristocrat but he is definitely turning into a Count.

        • Andy

          Your spelling was not up to much yesterday !!

    • Fergus Pickering

      But my dear chap, the plebs ARE running things. The only patrician since the 1960s who was Prime Minister was Sir Alec, and he lasted a year. You surely don’t suppose that either Cameron (Dad a stockbroker) or George (Dad a tradesman) are patrician. Eton is just a school. Anyone can go. Mick Jagger sent his son there. Ditto Oxford. I went there and I am definitely a pleb (like Julius Caesar).

      • Stranger

        Can you clarify whether you went to:

        1) Eton but not Oxford

        2) Eton and Oxford

        3) Oxford but not Eton

        Your English lacks clarity.

        • Austin Barry

          Probably enjoys Eton Mess and wears Oxford shoes.

          • Andy

            Nothing wrong in that !

        • Andy

          He went to Oxford I think.

          • TomTom

            so did a lot of deadbeats I see today

      • TomTom

        Cameron has a better pedigree than simply a daddy Stockbroker. He was Senior Partner at Panmure Gordon BECAUSE his father had been Senior Partner. His great grandfather was Alex Geedes a Chicago grain trader of great wealth. Cameron is descended from William IV. His ancestors were German-Jewish with a banking background; at least one ancestor was a major figure at HSBC.Cameron is related to Bois Johnson

        • HooksLaw

          Boris Johnson is related to George IV. But really your point is utterly facile.

          If a parent is successful he inevitably gives his children a leg up. So what. This is what parenthood is all about. You see parents working hard and making sacrifices for their children all the time.
          No doubt it is happening now to first generation wealthy and will continue down to future generations.

          Your miserable exposition misses the point. We need (not least for our own self interest) to make it as practicable and equitable as possible for people to better themselves and pass on the benefits and ethos to their children and grandchildren.

          Socialism of course is hell bent on confiscating the benefits of success.

          • Rahul Kamath

            Lol, what about those children who were not lucky enough to be born to successful parents (the vast majority as success is of course relative). Should we let them rot and pass on the lack of success they were born with to their progeny ?

            • TomTom

              Hook’s Law believes in “the lucky sperm club” and hereditary authority

            • Fergus Pickering

              Do we have to care what happens to them? I never give it a thought.

          • TomTom

            ” You see parents working hard” but it is THE CHILDREN we want to work hard….and they don’t

  • Russell

    And still not a word from Mrs Balls or Miliband or Labour on their attacks on Mitchell and demands for his sacking or resignation!!!!!
    Bandwagon Miliband is a disgrace.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Curious that. Labour are very quiet about the revelations whereas before they were so keen to jump on the outrage bandwagon. All roads lead to Rome.

    • Tim Reed

      …perhaps Ed will call for a public inquiry into Labour’s cynical opportunism.

      This appears to be their only ‘contribution’ to public life at the moment.

    • Robert Castlereagh

      No. These vicious socialist parasites probably stoked up the whole thing.
      Is Hogan-Howe setting his 30 allocated officers onto texts and calls between his troops and Labour HQ.
      Are we expected to believe that the email to Mitchell’s deputy was not orchestrated by someone not in the parliamentary know.
      I cannot believe it was the right.
      So who else?

  • Thick as two Plancks

    Maybe only a cynical and devious person would think that Thrasher and Dave secretly agreed to use this issue to discredit the Police Federation. Not me, of course.

    The PF are now acting in an “obviously guilty” fashion. They may have fitted up many people in the past, but “they don’t like it up ’em”.

    • HooksLaw

      According to the Guardian, the local police federation branch were being advised by campaigning consultant Jon Gaunt, ex sun journalist columnist and SKY newspaper reviewer. He would be keen no doubt to drum up future business.

      This must be pleasing overall for the Guardian who would be wondering whose side to take between the govt the tory party the police and a trade union. And a cyclist. They can now smear The Sun.

      The appearance of an ex Sun Journalist in the mix must probably make it less likely that a labour MP was involved. Gaunt is in fact pretty right wing and apparently official spokesperson for the ‘EU Referendum Campaign’ – though I am not sure just how active this particular voice is – it seems to have morphed into ‘Vote UK Out of EU’.
      Either way, one of the leading voices involved in fitting up a tory cabinet minister is a right wing anti-EU, UKIP conference platform speaker.

      • Wessex Man

        trust you, you Euro pleb you, to bring an article that has nothing to do with the EU round to it. Is Jon Gaunt a member of UKip, you’ve no idea, yet here you go again. You must be really frightened of UKip the way you always try to discredit them.

        You’ve already shown you dislike of Labour and the Tories, so I assume you are one of that rare breed a Lib/Dem who will still admit to it or in your case won’t.

        • HooksLaw

          You have a basic lack of comprehension and reading abilities. I am a tory voter.
          It would fill me with delicious delight to find the fingerprints of Labour MPs over the police federations activities.

          The fact is however that the police federation campaign in the midlands was masterminded (well according to The Guardian) by Jon Gaunt a right wing loud mouth nut job and anti EU activist self publicist who advertised himself at the last UKIP conference.

          Let me spell this out for you – Mitchell who ran Eurosceptic David Davis’ tory leadership campaign was being fixed up by a right winger and clear UKIP sympathiser.

          You may want to dig your head in the sand over this – I draw my own conclusions.

          • Jeffrey Dudgeon

            Journalists are always less than entirely loyal to their parties if they have one. They have to be. However the SDun has/had it in for Cameron and could not care which way they got at him.

  • Daniel Maris

    No, I don’t accept that. A Cabinet Minister swearing – using the F word – at police officers who are doing their duty (no one has ever suggested they should have opened the main gate for bicycles) is a serious matter and definitely one that could lead to resignation in itself. For one thing it is an appalling example to set the nation. Had he got off scot-free, how would Police have dealt with yobs who refuse to stop swearing at them on the grounds that “That guy Mitchell got away with it.” ? How would teachers have dealt with swearing, obnoxious pupils?

    But Mitchell compounded his error of judgement by refusing to give a detailed account of what he did say. Maybe it was “F***ing plods” or “F***ing Police”. Not a lot better.

    Of course, if he was in some way set up, that needs to be investigated and certainly any “bent” behaviour by officers must be punished.

    • Rahul Kamath

      This begs an even more interesting question. Why on earth is it a crime in this country to swear at the police, or anyone else for the point. Take a swing at a copper and you should be riding away in a paddy wagon. But just for swearing?

      I’m not defending Mitchell’s actions (I do think politicians should set an example in their public lives), but the argument that he should resign to ensure that coppers can arrest yobs for the same actions, does beg the question.

      • Fergus Pickering

        It is not a crime to swear at the police. What gave you that idea? Everyone should swear at the crooked bastards as a matter of course.

        • Andy

          Mitchell didn’t ‘swear at the Police’.

        • TomTom

          Ir is an offence under the Public Order Act 1986

    • Russell

      You seem to be following the Labour/Police Hederation viewpoint here. Mitchell has admitted using the ‘F’ word, but not towards or AT a policeman, simply saying whilst walking away that they ” I think police should do their F…ing job”!
      This is all reminiscent of the dirty days from N0.10 labour smear brigade at it again.

      • HooksLaw

        Brown on nhe other hand did swear at staff.

        • Tim Reed

          …and threw things at them, apparently.

          I wonder if anyone from the Met police phoned a bullying helpline to get them through this particular ordeal.

    • kidmugsy

      “(no one has ever suggested they should have opened the main gate for bicycles)”: on the contrary, they (or more likely an earlier shift of their colleagues) had let him through the main gate several times earlier that day.

    • ButcombeMan

      No one has suggested that they should have opened the gate eh?

      Let me suggest it. It was normally opened, it had been opened when Mitchell came in on his bike. It was opened whenever he came in or out, in normal circumstances.

      It is a plain jobsworth episode.

      As we now see from the pictures (assuming they have not been edited) there was no baying mob outside, there was no one outside.

      I have said all along and I have said it here, the Police log has all the characteristics of a put up job, an embroidered fiction, in Police terminolgogy a “verbal”.

      Such “verballing” has gone on since Police Officers were invented. It is particularly prevalent in “public order” cases. It is very easy to do-away from a tape recorded interview room. For the Federation to pretend otherwise is duplicitous.

      The amazing stupidy of making up stories about onlookers in one of the most videoed places in London can hardly be believed. Only the truly thick would do it one would think, yet do it someone apparently did. Maybe more than one.

      The Mail has pictures, allegedly of an Officer said to have been involved. A real lardy boy. One cannot imagine him running after a miscreant. It is a scandal that some one so obviously overweight should be employed where he allegedly was employed. Mind you, he is big enough to take the bullet!

      The whole thing is a fit up, anyone with common sense can see that. A jury would not convict on it because the observers outside that the log alleges, just are not there.

      So the log is holed below the waterline. So, for that matter is Hogan Howe. No wonder he has allegedly returned from holiday.

      His remarks that nothing had changed were just crass, from the UKs most senior Police Officer? Unbelieveable. Has he any concept of testing the evidence? Nothing sensible to say? Say nothing.

      Cameron has played an incompetent part. The Cabinet Secretary is not equipped by experience to do what he was asked to do. He did it very badly.

      Why has it taken two months to find out the e-mail writer is a serving DPG Officer?

      Why has the Prime Minister, with the whole apparatus of the state & the security services, at his disposal, had to rely on Michael Crick for his information?

      Why has Hogan Howe apparently also had to do that?

      This is a Whitehall farce. It will run & run.

      I am not incidentally, defending Mitchell.

      What Mitchell did was not smart or wise, but what others have done, in campaigning against him, leaking information, making up or embroidering information, is much more serious.

      This will have consequences for Policing for a very long time.

      • HooksLaw

        The problems on the other side are ones of being possibly seen to be putting pressure on police, ignoring alleged public complaints and generally trying to hush things up.
        Mitchell himself says, with the best of intentions, the wrong tactics were pursued. Despite Damien green being fitted up in the past the tories are rather naive in their dealings with the increasingly politicised police. I think that will have changed now.

      • Andy

        What Mitchell did or did not do is frankly now irrelevant. You have sifted most of the points here well. The Security Log contains a number of lies regarding members of the public witnessing the supposed incident. I do not know Andrew Mitchell but i doubt very, very much he would have used the language ascribed because it is a ‘characture’, and a crude one at that. We can but assume that the whole Security Log is thus a tissue of lies.

        Bernard Hogan Howe is in a pickle of his own making. This incident should have been investigated months ago and the truth established, but he let it lie. I can see no alternative but for a number of Police Officers involved to be dismissed immediately and for the Diplomatic Protection Squad to be reformed and that will mean new staff. The ‘Met’ cannot be allowed to get away with this. And unless Hogan Howe acts swiftly and ruthlessly he will have to go. And he knows it.

    • Skibbereen Eagle

      “how would Police have dealt with yobs who refuse to stop swearing at them on the grounds that “That guy Mitchell got away with it.” ? How would teachers have dealt with swearing, obnoxious pupils? ”

      The weakness in this argument is that no-one would have known about it if the police hadn’t leaked it.

      • HooksLaw

        And it seems he did not swear at the police, he seemingly swore under his breath, as an aside during the conversation. Losing ones temper, in the normal run of things is not a sacking offence. The Police could have made an official complaint but did not, and only wrote up their report some days later.

        The BBC as an example regularly allow gratuitous ‘f’ swearing as part of their programming. Channel 4 …. hmmm.

    • HJ777

      There is a difference between swearing AT someone and swearing TO someone.

      Mitchell has admitted to swearing to them, not at them, presumably out of frustration. Of course, this may have been inappropriate and reprehensible but if that is a hanging offence then I suspect that most people would be hanged at some point.

  • Chris lancashire

    In answer to your headline – I certainly hope so. The most unpleasant facet of the present Opposition is its attempted use of class as a weapon. It is nasty, mean, spiteful and demeaning of those who indulge in it. And it’s no substitute for policy.

    Imagine the howls (quite rightly) if Umunna was attacked because he was black or Bradshaw because he was gay. But it seems to be OK in certain quarters to attack politicians for the school they went to.

    • HooksLaw

      Damien McBride was educated at Finchley Catholic High School. It did not stop him from being a nasty lying bastard.
      Eliot Morley went to St Margaret’s C of E High School on Merseyside. It did not stop him ending up in jail for fraud.

      Peter Mandelson went to Hendon County Grammar School …

      • passingby

        and your point is?

        • HooksLaw

          My point is obvious.

          • Tim Reed

            …obvious to all but the deliberately obtuse.

            The people you mention are all Labourites which, for some reason, seems to make them immune to derogatory class insults even though they exhibit some of the greatest hypocrisies in regard to class – sneering at those who were privately educated or had wealthy parents whilst concealing their similarly ‘privileged’ backgrounds. When the left resort to this kind of shallowness, you know they have run out of legitimate arguments. The final years of New Labour under Gordon Brown typified this desperate cynicism.

      • Mike

        Good point as no matter how good an education you can’t change the anti-social traits of any champagne socialist.

    • Daniel Maris

      Where do you stop with that…is it not permissible to attack Gordon Brown for being on the autism spectrum…? Is it not permissible to attack John Redwood for his slowness in learning the words to the Welsh National Anthem…? Is it not permissible to attack Hague for how he looks (cf Tony Banks referring to him as a foetus).

      It seems to me that class is something that has to be kicked around in football. We can Miliband for pretending to be a horny-handed toiler.

      • sir_graphus

        I don’t think people were using Gordon’s autism to personally attack him. The problem we had was that he didn’t seem to have the full range of mental facets to run the country properly. Nothing against autistic people; I just wouldn’t want one running the country, in the same way I’d rather not see a one legged man playing Tarzan.

        • HooksLaw

          Gordon was /is not autistic. He is/was thick and selfish.

        • Daniel Maris

          Quite. And it’s perfectly reasonable to argue that Old Etonians plugged into the metropolitan elite network have absolutely no idea about the issues facing the majority of the population. It might not be true, but it’s not an invalid form of political argument (which is a contact sport).

          • Fergus Pickering

            What you mean is that rich people have no idea about the lives of poor people, which is an arguable point. But ALL MPs are rich. Is there anybody of the Labour Front Bench who is not rich? Who is that, pray? And poor people, because they are poo,r tend not to be well-rounded individuals, and as a class they are not very intelligent. That was less true fifty years ago than it is today. A government of poor people would not be a very good government. Even in 1945 the ex-miner (Shinwell) in charge of Power (i.e. coal) was notably incompetent. Thousand died in 1947 as a result of that incompetence. A public school and Oxford man would probably have been better. Ernest Bevin sprang from the working class, but he was a powerful .man before he was in Government and probably richer than Churchill (who was in debt for most of his life).

            • TomTom

              I doubt Bevin was richer than Churchill and Probate Registry can prove that. Churchill had very rich sponsors who settled his debts and provided him with creature comforts Churchill was however extravagant in his tastes his whole life through and his income from writing considerable even at the time. So let us say it is not being rich – Macmillan was rich but he knew Stockton – and it has more to do with attitude. Blair became very rich by holding office yet there has never been any evidence he cared about people except as means to his end. Most University p[oliticians have a sociological view of “people” who conform to categories and sterotypes – they don’t actually know “people” because they do not in fact share the politicians’ viewpoint on key issues. It gets so tiresome – there is a complete disjoint between the Political Cadres, Media-PR Elites, and Lawyer Class that they realy can be considered Djilas’ “New Class”

            • Rahul Kamath

              This argument would be sensible if you could equate rich with successful/ competent. You would like a govt of Mitt Romneys.

            • Daniel Maris

              A central London MP with a wife and family to support and a mortgage of £300,000 is not by any definition rich. Not destitute might be nearer the mark.

    • Richard

      I agree that it’s no substitute for policy, but there is a categorical difference between groups that have been and still are oppressed and groups that are privileged. People who went to top private schools have enjoyed huge advantages because their parents could afford to pay the fees, Most people can’t. Fergus Pickering’s statement below that anyone can go to Eton is of course absurd (and probably a wind-up). You can only go if your parents are super-wealthy. It is perfectly valid to point this out and be angry about it. It may well be that Mitchell has been unfairly treated, but no one should use this case to argue that talking about social class is unfair.

  • RatherAnnoyedPleb

    More froth from the sixth formers on CH. How about some comment on, well, you know the open warfare between government and police? How about some forensic analysis of, ooooh, which government members are cosy with G4S? Why Mitchell’s attack on the Met Commissioner appears to be back-firing as his side behave as appallingly as the West Mids PF? What the public think about the Tories playing Think Tank sand pit with the police?

  • salieri

    Sadly, no. You can fool some of the people all of the time.

  • In2minds

    “It is certainly embarrassing for Yvette Cooper…….” Wrong, nothing is embarrassing for Cooper, she is after all married to Ed Balls anyone who can put up with that is able to cope with anything.

    • Austin Barry

      Yvette is a woman under a lot of matrimonial pressure, which probably accounts for her yelps of derison.

      • Fittest of the fittest

        This sounds terribly interesting.

      • Robert Castlereagh

        No excuses. Cooper is as stupid and inconsistent as the rest of thge socialist cabal.
        They all need to apologise for their existence at this time of goodwill.

        • HooksLaw

          I agree – but forgive me if Im find your notion of ‘goodwill’ mildly amusing…

    • Sarge

      More embarrassing that anyone should use her as any form of benchmark for anything.