Why are Rupert Murdoch’s men damning Andrew Mitchell?

13 February 2014

12:56 PM

13 February 2014

12:56 PM

If you want to picture Rupert Murdoch imagine an old man on a tight rope. On the one hand, his newspapers must pursue his interests – say that everyone but the rich must pay the price of austerity, for instance. But as he wobbles over the void, Murdoch must also balance his rather brutal class interest with populist attacks on ‘the elite’ to assure readers of modest means that he is, despite everything, ‘on their side’.

Normally the Murdoch press can stay upright by confining itself to savaging the liberal elite, which to be fair, never fails to provide him with a rich choice of targets. But every now again it feasts on blue blood.

The Times – which is becoming a tabloid in content as well as form these days – has been saying in essence that Andrew Mitchell was guilty of calling a Downing Street police officer a ‘fucking pleb’. The campaign to vindicate Mitchell is a waste of time. The Independent Police Complaints Commissioner was a fool when she said the web of false statements and leaks from the police amounted to a conspiracy in all but name. Her statement that officers had ‘brought shame upon the police service’ could not have been more false.

Yesterday The Times ran the headline ‘The Truth about Plebgate’. But the bathetic story underneath did not reveal ‘the truth’ or anything like it. Instead, it had an account from Ian Richardson, a retired officer, who was on duty when Andrew Mitchell tried to cycle through the gates of Downing Street. This was the moment which led to the Met’s Chief Commissioner, the Police Federation, the Sun, the Telegraph, the Labour Party and just about everybody else claiming that, rather than just cursing the men who blocked his path, as Mitchell admitted, he used the career-killing insult of “plebs” – until, that is, the cops’ story began to unravel.

We should still believe it, says the Times, because Richardson had told it that Mitchell had indeed called the brave officers charged with protecting our leaders from terrorist plebs.

Only when you turn to an inside page does the Times admit that its “nearest thing to an eye witness” was not much of a witness: “He heard very little of the exchange and did not hear the word ‘pleb’.”



It gets worse.

The Times says its witness arrived as Mitchell was pushing his bike out on to Whitehall.

“What had happened there?” Mr Richardson asked his colleague.
He says PC Rowland immediately recounted his version of the exchange that the Chief Whip said “Best learn your fucking place….You lot don’t run this fucking government. …You’re fucking plebs.”

Except that as Dan Hodges of the Telegraph pointed out yesterday, we do not know what was said, as every honest observer from the Independent Police Complaints Commissioner onwards admits, but we do have

Video footage of the entire incident sitting on various sites on the internet. It shows Andrew Mitchell as he pushes his bike along the path towards the exit gate. Mr Richardson does not arrive before he reaches the gate. He does not stop and ask “what happened here”. PC Rowlands does not stop, turn to his colleague and immediately recount his version of what happened.

I’m not saying the retired officer is making it up, just that the video shows that his memory may be defective. On Twitter, but not in the paper, the Times’ crime correspondent says that, well, the video that the public has seen is incomplete. He does not say whether he has seen the full version or how he explains the failure of what looks like a full account of Mitchell’s departure from Downing Street to back up his story. I asked him for an explanation. He had not responded at the time of going to press.

It gets even worse.

On today’s front page, the Times runs as “news” the story that “Leaked Plebgate e-mail points finger at Mitchell”. Underneath, the breathless headline it says, “A Metropolitan Police email reveals that officers on Britain’s most closely guarded street had asked for guidance on how to handle [Mitchell’s] repeated demand to cycle through the main gates [of Downing Street].”

Leave aside that the story shows that the Leveson inquiry has silenced police whistleblowers, while leaving the cops free to continue to leak information that suits their interests, and remind yourself that the story is no story at all. Right at the start of the affair Mitchell said in public that he had a previous argument with officers.

It gets worse still.

Mitchell’s friends remind me that he is suing the Sun for libel about its original accusations against him. The Sun is the Times’s sister paper but nowhere in yesterday’s or today’s edition does it declare that its parent company has a commercial interest in Mitchell’s reputation being discredited and his libel action failing.

Now if one were to suspend all normal scepticism, I suppose it remains a theoretical possibility that the Times is not as wrong as it appears to be. But theory is defeated by practice in this instance. Every piece of irrefutable evidence – and I mean every piece – that has emerged since Mitchell was forced to resign has vindicated his account and damned the police. A judge sent one officer to prison for lying through his teeth about what he saw in Downing Street – he wasn’t even there. The CCTV flatly contradicted the police account, just as it contradicts the Times’s account. The Independent Police Complaints Commissioner is investigating three Police Federation officials for the stories they spun about Mitchell – or rather she wants to investigate them: the federation is going to court to try to stop her.

There comes a point when seeking to be “balanced” and showing a willingness to “listen to other side” becomes perverse. That point was reached in the Mitchell affair long ago, when Mitchell overcame the enormous difficulties all citizens face in confronting an unscrupulous state, and uncovered detailed evidence of official mendacity.

Why isn’t that the scandal? Beyond the Murdoch press’s business interests, lies the injured feelings of crime correspondents. They led the mob that forced Mitchell out, and hate to admit they were wrong. (The same bad faith could affect the political commentators, if Ed Miliband proves that their predictions that he could never win an election were so much nonsense.) But there is more to it than that.

Writing about Mitchell in last Sunday’s Observer, I said that Robert Harris, a friend of Mitchell’s, had compared his treatment to the Dreyfus affair.

Harris is going over the top, but you can see his point. France in the 1890s had a large rightwing constituency, which wanted to believe that a spy in the French army had to be a treacherous Jew. The British left in the 2010s, and many others besides, want to believe in Tory posh boys, who will abuse the brave and honest coppers willing to put themselves in the line of fire.

In other words, whatever your politics, whatever your inclinations, if you read a story that suits your prejudices perfectly, don’t believe it.

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Show comments
  • iDeb8

    Nick Cohen: “Every piece of irrefutable evidence – and I mean every piece – that has emerged since Mitchell was forced to resign has vindicated his account and damned the police.”

    Absolute rubbish and blind bias. If only the author could act on his own advice and, having read his own story that suits his prejudices perfectly, not believe such shallow tripe. Had he read just some of the comprehensive analysis by Steve Walker (eg: posts such as over the last 18 months, Nick would be ashamed of such lazy journalism.

    How easy to fall for the Mitchell, Davis & Crick show and demolish the good name and career of one of the remaining honest cops – just what Mitchell accuses the police of having done to him. How is Nick Cohen’s article any better in this regard?

    By lumping all the police guards together and smearing those whose names have withstood 18 months of scrutiny, Nick must know that the crown prosecution service – who have actually examined all available evidence – beg to differ from his view of the saga. This evidence Nick wilfully ignores, so easily does he confuse his view of one group of police with other individual officers.

    It is quite clear, despite the convenient smoke screen offered by some officers and wafted continuously in our direction by Mitchell, that Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions isn’t so easily fooled. The CPS is crystal clear that the clips fed to the public by Mitchell via Channel 4 presented a totally distorted view of the incident in his favour. Most unbiased people would consider such media manipulation deeply dishonest:

    “Much of the press reporting to date has assumed that the CCTV recordings show that the gate officer lied about the words used during the incident.” But she said the edited footage that has been aired by the Channel 4 Dispatches programme “did not show the full picture”. Also “..the CPS concluded there was insufficient evidence to suggest [PC Toby Rowland] was lying”.

    The CPS are totally unconvinced, despite the line Mitchell has persuaded everyone to believe for months, that any premeditated sting operation was hatched either on the night or on the previous evening:

    Saunders said “there was insufficient evidence to prove that one officer alone or with other officers had fabricated a false allegation against Mitchell” or “to show that Mitchell was the victim of a conspiracy of misinformation”.

    It’s quite clear that the CPS knows whose story is the more unreliable:

    “Our determination in relation to the incident also involved careful consideration of evidence concerning conduct and communications by officers and Mr Mitchell both before and after the incident, including the fact that Mr Mitchell’s account has varied since the incident.”

    For Mitchell, and those taken in by his unwarranted accusations against PC Toby Rowland, to interpret the CPS conclusions as in any way vindicating him must be one of the most perverse examples of endless repetition – without journalistic investigative challenge – conferring authority in recent history.

  • Blazeaway

    I hope that Mr Mitchell is vindicated.

    Yes, the apparatus of the state was against him. An outrage. Yes, it appears that he has manoeuvred their machinations into the open. As Nick says, that is a remarkable achievement.

    But Mr Mitchell only did it – if, indeed, he succeeds – because he is someone the establishment can’t swat aside. They had to be seen to investigate what really happened.

    What about the little man though? What chance does he or she have?

    All complaints against the police used to be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission because the iniquity of asking the police to investigate fellow officers was recognised.

    In 2012, however, the investigative arrangements were changed back so that all except death in custody cases and corruption claims against chief constables are now, once more, investigated by fellow officers.

    It was done very quietly.

    Complaints are now, once more investigated by fellow officers. Not any officer – but officers from the same police station. The same is true with appeals.

    It’s a scandal that the media is failing to bring to public attention.

    I hope Mr Mitchell is vindicated – and that he will then join a campaign to reverse the change and to reopen ALL complaints made against police since 2012.

  • victor67

    News Corp were rather cosy with the Met, even Wade admitted that Cops were on the payroll.

  • Paul J

    I’m no fan of Mitchell, or the tories in general, but it’s an extremely worrying development when coppers can blatantly lie about a senior politician, and very nearly get away with it. His career was almost destroyed, and here’s the Murdoch press sticking the boot in a second time.

    I suspect there may be post-leverson motives in play. (Cohen can’t see past his loathing of Leverson so it hasn’t occured to him). This may be Murdoch chumming up to the Met, trying to re-launch the close relationship his papers have long had with them.
    Murdoch has always done very well out of corrupt cops after all…

    • rhys

      But it’s not ‘copperS’ is it ?
      Only one, NB, ONE copper has been found to have lied – the one who bizarrely claimed to have witnessed the incident when he was nowhere near – and he has received condign punishment for his first ever offence.
      If Mitchell’s career has been destroyed ( unlikely really, given the self-preservation and mutual aid instincts of the British Establishment to which he so supremely [ as he made clear beyond peradventure to the minions on the gates ‘ I’m the Chief WHIP !!!!!!!!!!!’ ] belongs, ) then it has been through the cumulative effects of his having been such a nasty piece of work for so many years and decades. Nothing whatever to do with ‘lying coppers’.
      The libel trials which will determine who lied about the Plebs word ( because Mitchell admits all the rest of the foul-mouthed tirade ) – but they have yet to unfold.

      • Blazeaway

        Among the other innuendo, Rhys refers to a ‘foul-mouthed tirade’ as if that were proof of guilt.

        It is not an offence to swear at an officer.

  • Peter Stroud

    And to think that not too many year ago, the Times was a first class paper. How the mighty fall.

    • rhys

      So Murdoch – whom the British Establishment in all its glory have spent decades cosying up to- is a nasty piece of work.
      Doesn’t stop Mitchell being one to the power of N, does it ? or what the officers actually at the gates assert being the truth, does it ?
      What was said actually at the gates is the real issue, and that will be explored in due course in the libel trials.

      • Mike

        Most normal people couldn’t give a flying f*** if Mitchell called plod a pleb or not and some believe if he actually said that, it was quite justified. However if true, that in itself is NOT a crime but a simple insult. What is a crime however is the cover up and conspiracy that followed by the police and members of their federation.

        That is the real issue !

  • alabenn

    The Times – which is becoming a tabloid in content as well as form these days
    No, you are quite wrong, it is not as good as a tabloid, its circulation figures continue remorselessly down, its content is old dross dressed up as new dross, it has stale articles by column filling writers, its comments to the articles rarely reach double figures, in the Telegraph they run into hundreds, the Spectator has vastly superior imputs from its readers.
    The Times like Murdoch is a corpse that refuses to stiffen, its circulation went down by an extra one today, thirty years to late, but bad habits are hardest to kick.

    • MrHarryLime

      The Times is much the best paper in Britain at the moment. But then, I don’t buy papers for their news reporting, in which Murdoch will interfere from time to time. I’m mainly interested in the political columnists, and Danny Finkelstein, Philip Collins, David Aaronovitch and Matthew Parris are all excellent. The other ‘qualities’ have one, maybe two, columnists worth reading, but The Times has at least four.

  • rhys

    Virtually everything you write here ( as also Hodges in the DT ) is utterly irrelevant. ( see below.)

    One important and telling point is – not a single ONE of his Parliamentary friends was prepared to go on record as supporting him – because they knew him well enough to know that he was a nasty piece of work and that the words attributed to him by the Police were entirely typical of what they knew about him ( ‘Thrasher’).

    As to Officer Richardson’s evidence not in any way corroborating the original officer, Hodges’s ( here we see the Hodges Tribal Loyalty nonsense ) implication that because what he reads into the video does not accord with what Officer Richardson ( discharged after 30 yrs service with an impeccable record – would he perjure himself to risk that in his last few weeks of service ?? ) states, – therefore Officer R is ‘trying to stitch Mitchell up ‘ is ludicrous : thus, if Officer R were indeed trying to stitch Mitchell up how difficult would it be for him to just lie and claim he did indeed hear the word ‘Plebs’ from Mitchell’s mouth ? Then it would be 2x PCs’ word against 1x privileged never done a day’s work in the real world Cabinet Minister’s would it not ?

    The very fact Officer Richardson does not go so far as to claim he heard the Plebs word in fact gives the ring of truth to everything else he says.

    What PC Richardson heard his colleague state just seconds after the event is potentially admissible as part of the ‘res gestae’; so to that extent it does provide partial corroboration.

    The idea that PCs on the gates are reluctant to open them to cyclists because the gates are ‘difficult’ to open is ludicrous on the face of it : obviously they have to open them all the time to cars. If anything opening them from time to time probably provides a little light relief from the general extreme boredom which gate duty entails.

    Their only concern throughout is obviously that they have written orders to open them ONLY to cars so what do they do for high-ups not in cars who insist on special treatment ?

    That is the significance of the email of the day before Plebgate – that an entirely different officer was making the same point about Mitchell – that he was demanding special privileges and what should they do about it ?

    The junior officers are just seeking guidance from their superiors – they were badly let down by not receiving it. They cannot lightly disregard security instructions designed to protect the most senior elected ( God help us ) members of the Government, can they ??

    FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE How difficult is it for a cyclist to dismount and push his or her bike through the side gate ? How difficult can that be? ( I write as a cyclist.)

    The ONLY reason for not wanting to dismount is to proclaim ‘Look at me ! I am the King of the Castle ( ‘Chief Whip’ ) and You’re the Dirty Rascal/s !!!!! ). And that is what Mitchell was doing.

    How curious that neither at the time nor since has Mitchell EVER ONCE given his verbatim account of the words he himself alleges he used.

    All I recall being reported is that he says ‘I did not use the words attributed to me’. So why not actually state the words he did actually use ?

    We know he admits the F word so it can’t be embarrassment about that can it ?

    Everything that did or didn’t happen after the altercation and after Mitchell pushed his bike through the side gate ( including the bizarre behaviour of an officer who lied about being there ) is utterly irrelevant to the crucial issue of whether he did or did not use the Pleb word – in conjunction with the fully admitted use of foul language towards a very junior public servant doing no more than his written standing orders required. ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ type behaviour from a powerful person is very very ugly – and Mitchell admits he is guilty of that – so good luck with that context in front of a jury. I certainly find it very easy to believe that someone guilty of such a sickening, unrepentently privileged attitude would also be capable of lying to protect his position ( the only thing which gives his existence meaning ).

    Also irrelevant is that Murdoch is just as nasty a piece of work as Mitchell and the rest of the Tripartite British Establishment – aided and abetted by their journalistic running dog lackeys.

    Maybe Mitchell has convinced himself ( he has to really, doesn’t he, same as T Blair that the Iraq invasion was on balance a good thing ? ) and D Hodges and N Cohen that he never used the Plebs word – but he certainly hasn’t convinced me……
    It will be very interesting to see if he convinces a Judge and / or a Jury in the forthcoming libel trials.

    • iDeb8

      Rhys – exactly. Thank you, great contribution.

      You probably know that a far more balanced and comprehensive treatment of the AM tantrum may be explored here:
      (for example, see associated posts there too).

      And random snippets relating to the benign character of The Right Honourable may be browsed here:

      There’s certainly one protagonist who has form as a serial bully and liar, who has shown vanishingly little regard for the welfare of those under him if able to be used as stepping stones to his fortune and infamy..

      • MC73

        “There’s certainly one protagonist who has form as a serial bully and liar”

        That will be the Met then won’t it?

        • iDeb8

          if ‘that’ is Hillsborough etc or,
          if ‘that’ refers to later muddying of the waters by leaks or an off-duty officer or,
          if ‘that’ hints at actions by some in the Police Federation or,
          if ‘that’ results from an opinion you’ve formed from personal experience with police
          – then you might assume the finger also points at the No.10 guards in this case.

          However, if you’re of an impartial mind or feel an independent spirit coming on, perhaps after a good breakfast, then you should feel free to focus solely on the original incident and who is most likely to have been lying – a feverishly ambitious & notoriously high-handed politician who initially denied even swearing or one of the (few, you may say) most honest of policemen in SO6, whose character is 100% vouched for by very well-respected colleagues (retired officer in The Times article referred to above) as well as another here:

    • MrHarryLime

      I completely agree that Mitchell seems, by all accounts, to be an arrogant and rude man, and this has got lost in the coverage of Plebgate. Thing is, though, it’s not an offence to be obnoxious, and it doesn’t debar Mitchell from holding office. The police, on the other hand, have fabricated evidence and lied in an attempt to get him convicted. Awful as Mitchell is, the bigger crime is that of the police. In fact, being obnoxious is not even a crime.

      • rhys

        You say the Police ‘have’ etc.. I.e. you assert that more than one police officer has lied.
        But only ONE police officer has been found ( on his own admission ) to have lied – the one who bizarrely claimed to have been at the scene when he was not.
        This was clearly very wrong : but a] he has received condign punishment for this, his first offence ( funny isn’t it – not a single MP or Liberty type person bleating about how awful it is that a non-violent first time offender should go to prison ? ) ;
        and b] his stupid behaviour in no wise detracts from the assertions of those who actually were at the scene, and on the receiving end of Mitchell’s foul mouth tirade – all of which bar the Plebs word he admits.
        Think a bit further – is it really likely that the officers at the scene, making their very contemporary written log of what Mitchell said, and having plenty of ( admitted ) four letter words to transcribe, would have made a point of over-egging the pudding by adding an insulting Latinism? Why would they risk everything by lying and in due course having to perjure themselves when the case came to court – when all they needed to do if they wanted to punish Mitchell for his ( undoubted ) Public Order Act offence was to arrest him for it on the spot ?
        Doubless these points will be made in court at the libel trials in due course.

        • Mike

          So we have one MP who was obnoxious and one police officer who has been sent down for conspiracy & lying. Enough said !

      • iDeb8

        MrHarryLime –
        (to add to the points made by Rhys)

        you’re correct that it’s clearly no crime to be obnoxious, you’re clear
        that it is not just a crime to fabricate evidence and lie to ensure a
        conviction but it would be a “bigger crime” than anything Mitchell has
        been or done.

        You would be correct if your assumption proves true
        that Andrew Mitchell has not lied about the word ‘pleb’ or indeed
        fabricated evidence himself. Otherwise, you may come to see your
        criticism of ‘the police’ ultimately as ironic.

        Consider the tiny
        possibility of the alternative – just in case the type of “police” you
        refer to en masse don’t turn out to include that particular guard at the
        No.10 gate after all.

        {NB: I realise it’s difficult to conceive
        of an honest cop surviving amongst so many, and so many well-publicised,
        ‘bad apples’ these days. Especially when the remaining good apples are
        silenced and suppressed for speaking the truth – as has happened to PC
        James Patrick of the Met for over a year now –
        – despite being vindicated as having “performed an important service”
        in a leader article (para 12) in The Times on 21st Nov ’13 – (behind
        paywall – see The same paragraph emphasises that
        “the duty of police to be non-negotiable” yet that duty, if
        fulfilled, is regularly countermanded from on high if the truth raises
        questions about those on high.}

        The alternative scenario, the one
        we’re not encouraged to countenance, is where the two Channel 4
        Dispatches programmes by Andrew Mitchell’s admirer Crick, the first in
        December 2012 and another on Mon 4th Feb ’13, which were designed to
        exonerate Mitchell, broadcast misleading CCTV evidence (one might even
        say tampered or fabricated – although not by C4 themselves), a
        misleading selection from those available video clips and a very
        misleading and uncritical commentary.

        “the footage [C4] showed is
        an edited version..people were obscured so..visible reactions cannot be
        seen, and the start and finish points were later and earlier
        respectively than the footage we have been shown and so it did not
        include footage of members of the public coming into view from the right
        hand side as you look out to Whitehall immediately after the incident
        who may have been visible from the pedestrian gate at the relevant time.
        In addition there are other cameras which are helpful”
        [Crown Prosecution Service Chief Press Officer]

        “the Cabinet Office provided.. [C4] ..with a copy of the relevant CCTV
        footage unedited for the incident and time period in question. The
        pixilation was undertaken by another government department on our
        [Sue Gray, Director General, Propriety and Ethics at the Cabinet Office]

        would C4 and Crick allow Mitchell, a member of the Privy Council, to
        feed us incomplete, unbalanced and misleading evidence with a blatantly
        biased commentary in his favour? Perhaps C4 gives too much credence to
        those who assume the ‘police’ must only include bad apples, rather than
        just too many.

        As for a motive to deceive, “Gyles Brandreth, the
        former Tory MP turned author, describes Mr Mitchell as ‘the most
        ambitious man I know – almost crazy with ambition’”

        it be an even bigger crime if the words (already having morphed from “I
        didn’t swear” to a half-hearted apology only once publicly challenged)
        of a Right Honourable member of the Privy Council were given further
        uncritical credence in court merely because other ‘police’ have misused
        the incident since then?

        If the original officer at the gate just
        happens to be honest and the two retired officers who attest 100% to
        his probity are also honest – despite the preconceptions many people may
        harbour that no honest cops at all can have survived the presumed
        extinction of the breed – the greater crime might then be to leave a bad
        apple to fester in the Privy Council, deleteriously affecting any still honest in that body too..

        • MrHarryLime

          I always thought C4’s interpretation of the CCTV footage was odd. I seem to remember Crick saying ‘Look! There’s no-one outside the gates!’ When in fact there were a couple of passers by – not many, but enough to justify the claim that the spat with Mitchell was overheard by members of the public.

          The fact remains that Mitchell initially did nothing more than be rude. Whether this is a crime in a chief whip is open to doubt. However, if he’s lied about the matter subsequently, that is of course a much more serious matter.

      • Mike

        This seems to be lost on the plod apologists for their part in conspiracy and cover ups which are certainly criminal compared with being obnoxious.

    • Mike

      Once more its not the alleged insult that might have taken place thats immaterial compared to the cover up, conspiracy or lies made by the police that now take centre stage.

      • iDeb8

        Mike –

        Despite the dodgy activities by subsequent players in the plebgate saga and before continuing to build sandcastles where tides may undermine them, here’s a reminder of the views of Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions.

        However hard-done-by Andrew Mitchell may like to appear, her prosecutors have actually examined the mobile phone records, emails, text messages, social messaging and telephone contact between numerous police officers and members of the public as well as the previously unseen CCTV footage.

        “Much of the press reporting to date has assumed that the CCTV recordings show that the gate officer lied about the words used during the incident.” But she said the edited footage that has been aired by the Channel 4 Dispatches programme “did not show the full picture”.

        Saunders revealed that ..prosecutors had viewed a vast amount of CCTV footage which has not been seen in public before.

        Saunders said: “It is clear from the footage that there was sufficient time for the words to have been said either as described by the gate officer or as described by Mr Mitchell

        “It does show there are a small number of members of the public present immediately in front of the gate … this is consistent with the officers’ account that several members of the public were present … No officer ever mentioned ‘crowds’ being present – this was first mentioned in Channel 4 News/Dispatches programmes.”

        In relation to “PC Toby Rowland, the officer on duty in Downing Street who was involved in the altercation with Mitchell and who said he had been called a pleb..the CPS concluded there was insufficient evidence to suggest he was lying.”

        Rowland’s handwritten notes of the encounter, plus records of a conversation he held with his superior immediately afterwards, were examined by the police and the CPS as part of the inquiry.

        Saunders said “there was insufficient evidence to prove that one officer alone or with other officers had fabricated a false allegation against Mitchell” or “to show that Mitchell was the victim of a conspiracy of misinformation”.


        • Mike

          We’ll never probably know what was or was not said by Mitchell or the police as its all speculation by you, me and Saunders as none of the footage has a sound track.

          However, it still doesn’t alter the fact that an alleged insult blew up into a sacking (for political reasons) and three wise monkeys from the police federation being questioned but refusing to answer questions at a select committee meeting. Then we have a plod who has been sentenced to jail for lying.

          Its been demonstrated in court that a police officer has to accept being sworn at by members of the public from time to time and no charge can be made against a person over it. Even if one was called a pleb, I can think of a lot worse things to call some plod these days and in many cases justifiably.

          Whats up with plod these days, don’t they have any back bone or is it more a political game that those 3 federation officers played in their wages and manning disputes with the home secretary. Watching their testimony on TV was a joke and tantamount to contempt with their behavior at Westminster.

          My take on all of this is that he probably did call one of them a Pleb but thats hardly a reason to be sacked and does not excuse the likely conniving by plod in backing each others story even when they didn’t hear anything.

          There’s a great miscarriage of application of evidence gathering these days where members of the public are separated for days sometimes and interrogated individually by the police, but the police are allowed to confer and write up their reports in the same room. That cannot be right and obviously lends itself to lying and conspiracy to pervert the evidence. This aspect of policing plus the many deaths by shooting c*** ups and the recent failures over the celeb witch hunt doesn’t exactly put the police in a good light, but they’ve brought it on themselves.

          No wonder the public has little respect for them today !

  • Drew

    Begs the question as to how a non-British citizen is being allowed to influence public discourse as much as Murdock is… Why is he allowed to own so much of our media? His open hostility to the BBC is simply based on the fact that an effective [though still deeply flawed] public broadcaster raises the standard of journalism, news and media in this country – a standard his own papers and TV stations can not achieve. He wants an environment like The States so he can bring Fox over…

    • sarahsmith232

      Only a person with zero respect for people in this country could make that comment. Murdoch should be allowed to try and recreate a Fox News here, it wouldn’t happen, the social conservatism would never wash but the angry white males railing against the ‘progressive’ liberal establishment would.
      This is long overdue. It needs to happen at some point. Do you not want to live in society with a free media? Most people feel unrepresented and robbed of a voice, a UK Fox News would end that. If you had any respect for the people who’ve been silenced by this elitist Left-wing establishment that sprang up under Labour then you’d be pro’ Murdoch’s intentions. Bring it on, the faster the better.

      • Drew

        Good luck with that…

        • sarahsmith232

          It’/s a coming, only needs a Tory majority.

          • Drew

            Good luck with that…

      • Drew

        Typical right-wing blinkered mindset to accuse anyone with differing political opinions to not love their country…

        • sarahsmith232

          Absolutely rubbish counter response, if I ever did hear one. Top and bottom of it, majority opinion in this country has been deemed the product of a backward and repulsive mind. The lot that believe this are your members of the Left-wing media and political class (not ones known to have much in the way of contact with the people they are all so certain of). So people have been silenced, any evidence of dissent was criminalised.
          Loving this country is perfectly achievable while simultaneously detesting 80% of it’s inhabitants (in fact, of all the things that can go to prove this it’s Fox News). National identity is based on your relation to the institutions that are held dear by that nation, BBC being on of the biggest deals. Apparently it used by the Church, now it’ll be the NHS, what else, there’s a few out. They explain what is only right and fitting, basically, what’s moral and how you fit into that spectrum in relation to the rest.
          The BBC associates views with social types, they’ve brainwashed your sort ’cause you like to see yourself as superior in relation to these types. A Uk Fox would start to associate these views with decency, ’cause they are, it would open the minds of your sorts. Sorry dear but that would be – those that are of a more sheep-like disposition.

  • rtryyee

    The British left in the 2010s, and many others besides, want to believe
    in Tory posh boys, who will abuse the brave and honest coppers willing
    to put themselves in the line of fire.

    But this is exactly what happened. Mitchell swore at them and repeatedly abused them. The Dreyfus comparison would only work if Dreyfus was guilty.

  • rtryyee

    if you read a story that suits your prejudices perfectly, don’t believe it

    The name ‘Hassan Butt’ springs to mind here, Nick, You know, the one who you loudly proclaimed we’d be ‘hearing a lot more from’, the former Muslim radical who agreed with you to the letter about Islam and British foreign policy?

    Remember him? you’ve not mentioned him for a while. Not since he was outed in court as a serial liar, in fact. Do you remember him?

    Had you just forgotten your ‘advice’ up there when enthusiastically promoting him as someone we’ll be ‘hearing a lot more from’? Any chance you’ll publicly row back on your praise or him? Or does this maxim only apply to people you dislike?

    • Matthew Blott

      I’d forgotten him, thanks for reminding me 🙂

  • Bert3000

    Murdoch hates Britain and British people and wants to destroy us and our country. He’s getting very close to succeeding. And that explains everything his papers and his television network do.

    • iDeb8

      Bert3000 –
      Yes, Murdoch may hate Britain & wish to destroy us. But that doesn’t necessarily explain everything in his papers, perhaps just quite a lot of it.

      + Paul J (above) –
      And Murdoch may indeed prefer to chum up to the Met & try to re-launch the close relationship his papers have long had with them. Also agree that “Murdoch has always done very well out of corrupt cops” & post-Leveson motives may well be in play quite often in his papers. Nevertheless, don’t assume this means that every piece in The Times is suffused with such motives and bias.

      Despite assumptions to the contrary, there are some investigative pieces in The Times which are still insufficiently influenced by such motives to undermine any easy dismissal of them on those grounds.

      Just as an assumption that, if bad apples in the police have muddied plebgate since the incident therefore those at the gates must also have been so tainted, may prove a knee-jerk assumption.

      Especially as such assumptions may in turn have been influenced by quite justified views of Murdoch, the many recent dodgy police cover-ups & the successful deceipts propagated by Mitchell et al with help from Channel 4 – who no doubt convinced themselves that their exciting discovery of yet more bad police apples later in the saga must mean that all of the protagonists were so tainted – but sloppy Channel 4 journalism nevertheless.

  • Chris Clark

    Please, let’s not forget The Times’s role in shutting down the NightJack blog. That was a disgrace too, and there appears to be a nasty pattern. I remember at the time Danny Finklestein and Oliver Kamm – the two most prominent bloggers on The Times’s staff and otherwise respectable figures – disgracefully defended their paper’s action.

    • rtryyee

      probably worth bearing in mind that Oliver Kamm is a close personal friend of one N. Cohen.