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.