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September 24, 2012 8:51 AM   Subscribe


 
When Tory politicians draw lines under incidents with apologies do they realize they are creating clickable hyperlinks?
posted by srboisvert at 8:58 AM on September 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


Damn it, my friends from across the pond, you've got my favorite TV and my favorite music and now you even have to have the superior "conservatives speaking their mind and proving what class obsessed assholes they are" story in September 2012" too.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:00 AM on September 24, 2012 [25 favorites]


I was prepared to hate on him, but riding a bike with a flat tire and a plastic basket ALL the way to the grocery store and back from Downing Street has got to tire a guy out.
posted by DU at 9:00 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


...tire a guy out.

ISWIDT
posted by DU at 9:01 AM on September 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


You don't need to needle these guys much before the mask slips. If this is what he'll shout in the middle of the most heavily surveilled street in Britain, heaven only knows what he really thinks in that Tory brain of his.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:03 AM on September 24, 2012 [17 favorites]


Damn it, my friends from across the pond, you've got my favorite TV and my favorite music and now you even have to have the superior "conservatives speaking their mind and proving what class obsessed assholes they are" story in September 2012" too.

Assholery always sounds better coming from a Brit.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:04 AM on September 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


tire a guy out.

Actually in the UK, it tyres him out.
posted by condour75 at 9:07 AM on September 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


Makes you wonder why so many plebs keep voting for them.
posted by rocket88 at 9:08 AM on September 24, 2012 [12 favorites]


So, does the concept not even strike anyone's minds, in Britain, that refusing to open a gate for someone on a bike, but allowing him to push it through, is pretty much rock-stupid? They have to clear him to pass anyway, so the speed at which he passes is irrelevant, no?

I dunno, cursing stupidity doesn't seem like such a bad trait in a politician.
posted by Malor at 9:10 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Boy Who Went To Jail For What Andrew Mitchell Did

Also in Manchester... Jason Ullett (born 15/10/72) of Woodward Court, Ancoats, sentenced to 10 weeks in prison for swearing at police officers
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:13 AM on September 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


So, does the concept not even strike anyone's minds, in Britain, that refusing to open a gate for someone on a bike, but allowing him to push it through, is pretty much rock-stupid? They have to clear him to pass anyway, so the speed at which he passes is irrelevant, no?
It's quite a bit down in the second link, but the issue is that they wouldn't open the main gate for him, instead asking that he go through the side gate. My understanding is that the main gate opens onto the street, and the side gate onto the footpath. They were basically asking him to walk his bike through like a pedestrian, as they want to leasten how much they open the main gate.
posted by Jehan at 9:16 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, he's Malcolm Tucker?
posted by gilrain at 9:20 AM on September 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


They were basically asking him to walk his bike through like a pedestrian, as they want to leasten how much they open the main gate.

Yeah, it's a security exposure issue. Ironically, it's exactly to protect MPs.
posted by jaduncan at 9:22 AM on September 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I dunno, cursing stupidity doesn't seem like such a bad trait in a politician.

There's a slight difference between "Oh, come on Constable, this is bloody stupid," and a "You're fucking plebs!" tirade, no?
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 9:24 AM on September 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


I dunno, cursing stupidity doesn't seem like such a bad trait in a politician.

Stupidity =/= "being working class" or a "commoner".

He didn't "curse stupidity", he threw a tantrum in which he called someone who was blocking his way an example of "fucking plebs". This from a representative of a government that is already widely suspected of serving the interests of a small, rich elite.

If he had just called the guy a blockhead, this wouldn't be a problem. But people already think - on the basis of looking at the Coalition government's "austerity" policies - that this is a government that holds ordinary middle-class people in contempt. They seem to be committed to protecting the extremely wealthy from a recession which they caused at the expense of everybody else.

This does not help to dispel that impression.
posted by lucien_reeve at 9:27 AM on September 24, 2012 [34 favorites]


Those crazy British. I have to admit "you're fucking plebs" seems a tad more civilised than the American "Fuck tha police" but still nice to see anyone fight the power.

I'm not sure which power's side you're on, here
posted by fightorflight at 9:29 AM on September 24, 2012 [20 favorites]


gilrain: "So, he's Malcolm Tucker ?"

He wishes. He's a Standard Issue Middle-Aged Tory. Closer to Peter Mannion except Mannion's vaguely likeable because he's fictional.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:29 AM on September 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


If he had just called the guy a blockhead, this wouldn't be a problem.

You Roundheads never quit, do you.
posted by michaelh at 9:30 AM on September 24, 2012 [29 favorites]


three blind mice: "Those crazy British. I have to admit "you're fucking plebs" seems a tad more civilised than the American "Fuck tha police" but still nice to see anyone fight the power."

An interesting interpretation. He's not fighting the power, really, more attempting (and failing, thankfully), to assert it. I'm not a fan of police banging people up for swearing, but I'm even less of a fan of naked displays of contempt by elected politicians.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:32 AM on September 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


Let's see how well he's sleeping at night when the plebs decide "Fuck that wanker."
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 9:36 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


He was honest in what he said, and such honestly must not be tolerated in politics.
posted by Cosine at 9:48 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


He was honest in what he said, and such honestly must not be tolerated in politics.

Especially when it reveals an elected official to be totally devoid of human charity.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:50 AM on September 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


"Those crazy British. I have to admit "you're fucking plebs" seems a tad more civilised than the American "Fuck tha police" but still nice to see anyone fight the power."

Because just what this thread needs is classist apology with that little hint of racism for the right people to notice. No, this rich powerful asshole's classist problem with someone doing their job has nothing to do with the NWA's problem with the policing of black Americans in the late 80s.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:52 AM on September 24, 2012 [47 favorites]


zombieflanders: "Damn it, my friends from across the pond, you've got my favorite TV and my favorite music and now you even have to have the superior "conservatives speaking their mind and proving what class obsessed assholes they are" story in September 2012" too.

Assholery always sounds better coming from a Brit.
"

Quite right, you git.
posted by symbioid at 9:55 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I dunno, cursing stupidity doesn't seem like such a bad trait in a politician.

I have to admit "you're fucking plebs" seems a tad more civilised...

"You fucking pleb" doesn't mean "you fucking idiot" or anything close. It means "you fucking commoner". Someone saying that is either angry that a member of the lower classes had the temerity to talk back to him, or assuming that the stupidity is linked to the person's lower class status.

Not shocking to hear it from a middle-aged Tory MP, but a long way from the friendly "hug a hoodie" image of the party that Cameron works so hard to promote.

...Of course, all this is assuming that he has been quoted accurately, and not had words put in his mouth by a pissed-off copper. It's fun to assume that the story is true because it fits with our prejudices about Tories, but consider the bizarro-world version, in which a (goatee'd) police officer claimed to have been verbally assaulted by a well-liked left wing politician: this thread would be full of people pointing out the lack of witnesses, recalling that most police are pretty pissed off with the Tories these days, and citing cases where police officers have lied about much more serious events than this.
posted by metaBugs at 9:56 AM on September 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Actually, one would hope that being called The Pleb instead of the Designated Pleb Beater as police so often are would lead to some kind of raised consciousness among police officers, who are hardly millionaires, that they have more in common with the protesting masses than with their rich masters.

One would hope.
posted by emjaybee at 9:59 AM on September 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I do find the "debate" about whether he should resign a bit too arch though (looking at you John Humphries). He is performing his role as a tory to perfection. This is what these people are like. This language is the natural expression of the policies they tout. "Which was not exactly a secret when millions of people saw fit to vote for them So acting surprised now is doing them too much credit.
posted by runincircles at 10:03 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


And by apologizing for "not showing enough respect" but denying that he called them "fucking plebs" who need to learn their fucking place, he essentially calls the police liars on top of it.
posted by headnsouth at 10:03 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


metaBugs: "...Of course, all this is assuming that he has been quoted accurately, and not had words put in his mouth by a pissed-off copper. It's fun to assume that the story is true because it fits with our prejudices about Tories, but consider the bizarro-world version, in which a (goatee'd) police officer claimed to have been verbally assaulted by a well-liked left wing politician: this thread would be full of people pointing out the lack of witnesses, recalling that most police are pretty pissed off with the Tories these days, and citing cases where police officers have lied about much more serious events than this."

True, but the Tories can't have it both ways - either they are the Party of Law and Order and the word of a copper is gospel and admissable as hard evidence in a court of law, or they're as fallible and open to lies and collusion and corruption as any other branch of government.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:06 AM on September 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


I find it anomalous to see a thread in which the police are seen as the victims and common-man hero. When the cops are getting beat up by right-wing politicians, what is the world coming to. Whose the man now.
posted by stbalbach at 10:06 AM on September 24, 2012


It's the wording of his "apology" that I find fascinating. He has not come out and denied calling the police officers plebs. Rather he is repeating the line "I am very clear about what I said and what I didn't say. I want to make it absolutely clear that I did not use the words that have been attributed to me." The beauty is in the detail.
posted by bap98189 at 10:11 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just been reading comments at ConHome, and it seems there's little Conservative backing for Mitchell.
posted by Jehan at 10:14 AM on September 24, 2012


I find myself surprised that the Gate doesn't have very high quality video and audio recording. It's the kind of place that would be entirely justified.
posted by jaduncan at 10:15 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I find it anomalous to see a thread in which the police are seen as the victims and common-man hero. When the cops are getting beat up by right-wing politicians, what is the world coming to. Whose the man now.
Well, the police—like, say, nurses—are public-sector workers, and are merely the most high-profile group getting hit by the government's concerted efforts to weaken public-sector provision and force regional authorities to contract out services to the private sector. Police numbers in the UK are at a 9-year low, and police have started to join other groups of workers in marching to protest the government's anti-public-sector policies.

Again: the Tories can't pretend to be the party of law and order when they're actually cutting police (and armed forces) budgets as ruthlessly as they are right now.
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:16 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


he essentially calls the police liars on top of it

I don't want to defend the guy but calling the police liars is something that happens quite a lot around here. Not to mention the recently released Hillsborough report, which pretty much proved that policemen conspired to cover up their own incompetence, instead shifting the blame on to the victims.
posted by quosimosaur at 10:17 AM on September 24, 2012


use of the word "pleb" has also raised issues of class bigotry present in British society

All I have to say is - it's pronounced "bouquet."
posted by phaedon at 10:24 AM on September 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


There's a slight difference between "Oh, come on Constable, this is bloody stupid," and a "You're fucking plebs!" tirade, no?

No, that's just what THEY want you to think. In fact, both are precisely identical as both are examples of the sacred Free Speech™ being used, and no one ever dare criticize the exercise of Free Speech™ on any grounds in public, lest Western Civilization begin the rapid slide down that slippery-slope toward mandatory government pre-clearances for all spoken and written communications!

--The Official American Response to You Silly British with Your Quaint Concerns about Classism
posted by saulgoodman at 10:25 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whose the man now

dog.
posted by JHarris at 10:26 AM on September 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Not to mention the recently released Hillsborough report, which pretty much proved that policemen conspired to cover up their own incompetence, instead shifting the blame on to the victims.
But wasn't that police management looking to cover up their incompetence? And much of that cover up manifested itself in deliberately altering or suppressing truthful (and highly critical) statements by rank-and-file officers that reflected badly on management.

Members of a highly hierarchical institution like the police don't all share the same interests.
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:27 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Those crazy British. I have to admit "you're fucking plebs" seems a tad more civilised than the American "Fuck tha police" but still nice to see anyone fight the power.

You are aware that the Tory chief whip is the man with the power over those who write the law and directly elect the executive, right? He's not exactly the repressed, and an insult referencing the fact that he's the equivalent nobility rather than the mere plebians that serve him looks more like a flaunting of privilege than a challenge of it.

The man, if he said what is reported, is an utter, utter cock (and that's generously setting aside his status as a senior Tory). Do not mistake him for anyone that isn't; his actions and assumption nothing would come of it are as revealing of character as being seen to kick one's puppy when nobody appears to be looking. And the possible lying, both to press and PM. That too.
posted by jaduncan at 10:27 AM on September 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


"Best you learn your fucking place. You don't run this fucking government. You're fucking plebs."

That's what Mitt Romney says to himself whenever he encounters the hoi polloi.
posted by ericb at 10:35 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah yes...yet another post about a wealthy Anglo-American legislator reminding the lower orders of their place in the Great Chain of Being and not a word (until now) about Capitalism or class.
posted by larry_darrell at 10:39 AM on September 24, 2012


Twitter responds with nice parody of Conservative Party billboards.
posted by colie at 10:40 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know how you can tell a lot about someone's character from watching how they treat waiters, or shop staff? Given that Mitchell's a senior government minister, that's not far from the kind of power dynamic going on here. Even if Mitchell didn't use the exact words attributed to him, the whole attitude that he was such an important person that the rules shouldn't apply to him (yes, no-one else can just ride their bike out through the main gate of the most secure street in the United Kingdom, but I'm different) and being willing to shout down someone who's just doing their job and not harming him means that if we have to take sides, I'm firmly with the officer here.
posted by ZsigE at 10:40 AM on September 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Conservative Party:

"We're all in this together you fucking Plebs."


shamelessly stolen from the Guardian's comments page
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:42 AM on September 24, 2012 [12 favorites]


So there's basically no account at all of how the police themselves handled this interaction, right?

I find myself surprised that the Gate doesn't have very high quality video and audio recording. It's the kind of place that would be entirely justified.

...which is what makes me think the police in question might not have been the wholly innocent victims of the mean man and his bad, bad words. A critical checkpoint manned by armed officers, in the capital of the world's foremost surveillance state, doesn't have security camera footage? Really?
posted by The Prawn Reproach at 10:49 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mitchell's remarks came little more than a day after two officers in Manchester were killed in the line of duty.

This must explain the response from the police on this occasion, because normally Plod wouldn't be able to tug his foreskinlock fast and hard enough in deference to their Tory masters.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:56 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The golden rule of politics: Never insult the people standing between you and the plebs.
posted by quarsan at 10:56 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Best you learn your fucking place. You don't run this fucking government. You're fucking plebs."

This 100% he-said-she-said. There is no proof whatsoever that he said that. It all comes down to whether you take the word of a police officer over that of an MP, or vice-versa. There is no story here.

Much as I am loath to side with a Tory, well, there is a burden of proof that is nowhere near being fulfilled. And, well, the Metro Police don't exactly have a stellar reputation themselves.

But the British press, being the British press, has an obligation to takes sides over every goddamned thing, even (especially?) when there's no confirmation that it's actually a thing at all, so here we are.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:57 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Much as I am loath to side with a Tory, well, there is a burden of proof that is nowhere near being fulfilled

...because certainly they are going to treat the man that they know has the power to hire and fire their management in exactly the same way they'd treat a protester on the street.
posted by ardgedee at 11:00 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


...because certainly they are going to treat the man that they know has the power to hire and fire their management in exactly the same way they'd treat a protester on the street.

...because certainly a democratically elected official should be ousted because one man claims, without any kind of proof, that said official was a bit rude to him once.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:05 AM on September 24, 2012


...in the capital of the world's foremost surveillance state,...
Yawn.
posted by Jehan at 11:06 AM on September 24, 2012


It's actually multiple officers with the same story again a constantly shifting form of denial from Mitchell, for what it's worth. First he denied that he swore. Then he didn't. Then he did a non-denial denial. The pocket books match and have remained the same, and it's (at least) two against one in the first place. Absent exculpatory evidence, that would usually be enough for a conviction at the local court.

"The report, drawn up for senior officers, was said to be backed up by at least two officers making the same verbatim note of the exchange in their pocket books."
posted by jaduncan at 11:09 AM on September 24, 2012 [4 favorites]



...which is what makes me think the police in question might not have been the wholly innocent victims of the mean man and his bad, bad words. A critical checkpoint manned by armed officers, in the capital of the world's foremost surveillance state, doesn't have security camera footage? Really?


Just what does a camera accomplish that the armed officers can't? Besides generating a data stream into which foreign intel agencies and Anonymous would love to tap, that is..
posted by ocschwar at 11:10 AM on September 24, 2012


Just what does a camera accomplish that the armed officers can't?

Evidence that is hard to dismiss as biased.
posted by jaduncan at 11:13 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Evidence that is hard to dismiss as biased.

I would think 1. protecting Downing Street from small bombs and 2. not recording the comings and goings of military and intelligence officials would be more important than 3. verifying whether an MP kicked off at the guards.
posted by ocschwar at 11:15 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


"The report, drawn up for senior officers, was said to be backed up by at least two officers making the same verbatim note of the exchange in their pocket books."

Well, fine. Two guys.

What was he charged with? Being an asshole? Is it standard procedure for the police to go to the tabloid press whenever they're sworn at?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:21 AM on September 24, 2012


Well, yeah. But you're not considering 4. providing high quality images of anyone attempting to break though the secure perimiter even if the police do not see his face for an unknown reason, 5. see it in a glancing way, 6. allowing for a photo for suspects to be tracked down, and 7. providing for court evidence.

You should also be aware that it's rare for intelligence or military people to go to the HoC, and in any case the mountain tends not to go to Mohammed unless it's ministerial level or above.
posted by jaduncan at 11:22 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it standard procedure for the police to go to the tabloid press whenever they're sworn at?
Well, obviously the Police Federation is playing the media game here to extract as much embarrassment from the government as possible. The Sun won't have been a casual choice: it's the paper whose switch to back the Tories before the last election is widely seen as being one of the nails in the Brown administration's coffin. So, yes, there's some rabble rousing going on here.

But it just goes to show: the Tories aren't playing a very smart game here. Any unpopular regime wants to keep a tight reign on (1) the police and (2) the armed forces. The fact that the Tories don't seem to realize this shows just how clueless about the minutiae of staying in power some of them are.
What was he charged with? Being an asshole?
As people have been pointing out on Twitter, people are imprisoned for swearing at police in the UK. It's a breach of the Public Order Act 1986.
posted by Sonny Jim at 11:37 AM on September 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


No evidence that he has been charged with anything, although if he were to be charged it would be likely to be one of the following:

a) an offence under s.5 of the Public Order Act 1986 for using "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour" (s.5(1)(a)) "within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby." (s.5(1)). The probable defence would be a s.5(3)(a) argument that "had no reason to believe that there was any person within hearing or sight who was likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress" and that the ordinary man on the Clapham omnibus would think that a normal policeman would be unlikely to be shocked or affected by the language used. Magistrates do not generally have a great deal of sympathy for this argument. Another defence argument might touch on the R v Harvey (2011) case, in which H was found not to have committed a breach of the police by swearing with police near using the "rather commonplace" word 'fuck' in the following statements: "fuck this man. I ain't been smoking nothing"; "Told you, you wouldn't find fuck all" and "No, I've already fucking told you so." I would draw the distinction of this being swearing near officers rather than at them, and certainly it doesn't allow for direct insults of officers to be discounted. It's thus very likely that Mitchell would be held to be guilty on the basis of the testimony of two police officers in good standing against his single denial.

b) the common law charge of breach of the peace, as defined by R v. Howell (1981) - "actions which harm another person, or harm his property in his presence, or actions which are likely to provoke such harm. A breach of the peace may occur on either public or private property." The above case doesn't apply in more than an informative way, but certainly it would be new ground for the courts to say that Mitchell's actions didn't constitute a breach.

I hope this helps.
posted by jaduncan at 11:38 AM on September 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


...which is what makes me think the police in question might not have been the wholly innocent victims of the mean man and his bad, bad words. A critical checkpoint manned by armed officers, in the capital of the world's foremost surveillance state, doesn't have security camera footage? Really?

I believe this. Cameras would be very dangerous to Parliament if people could do FOI requests and see just who was coming and going. Just imagine how many New Corp bagmen used to go through that gate all the time.
posted by srboisvert at 11:39 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


"The above case" referred to Harvey, not Howell. Howell is the current leading case on breach of the peace.
posted by jaduncan at 11:42 AM on September 24, 2012


Besides generating a data stream into which foreign intel agencies and Anonymous would love to tap, that is..

Oh, and it's not illegal to sit outside Downing St all day with a camera, as many news agencies gleefully do. How many meetings where the mere knowledge of the visitor is sensitive are undertaken at that location is left as an exercise for the reader, as is the likelihood of serious foreign intelligence agencies not having electronic and human sources to know who goes in and out.
posted by jaduncan at 11:49 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Again: the Tories can't pretend to be the party of law and order when they're actually cutting police (and armed forces) budgets as ruthlessly as they are right now.

So wait a minute.. Bicycle riding politician who is cutting police and military budgets, wants to operate as a road using vehicle as he should, and we are on the cops side? This seems like conservative politics that I could support (sort of :P).
posted by Chuckles at 11:55 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter is forced to pick sides between cops and Tories, and predictably a Mefi Civil Wartm erupts? I am shocked, shocked by this turn of events.
posted by mightygodking at 12:03 PM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, just by causing the issue, he shows himself ill-suited for the job.

He does this, whereas the correct patrician response is to say, "of course, constable," walk ity through, call his boss and have him out on his ass, then watch the gate magically open as he approaches from then on. By making this mess instead, he demonstrates that either (a) he does not, in fact have that power, or (b) is too stupid to know how to use it.
posted by tyllwin at 12:05 PM on September 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yes (Prime) Minister episode 4 "The Key", Sir Humphrey is trying to get into #10:


Sir Humphrey: I'm Sir Humphrey Appleby.
Policeman: I know. Do you have an appointment?
Sir Humphrey: I'm the Cabinet Secretary!
Policeman: Yes, sir. Do you have an appointment?
Sir Humphrey: I don't need an appointment. I've got a pass!
Policeman: May I see it, sir?
Sir Humphrey: If you insist.
Sir Humphrey: All right now?
Policeman: No, sir, that's a Cabinet Office pass, not a Number 10 pass.
Sir Humphrey: You know me, damn it!
Policeman: There's a new top security instruction, sir. No one may enter without a Number 10 pass unless they're on the daily list.
Sir Humphrey: Unless Mr Bernard Woolley gives permission.
Policeman: Would you like me to phone Mr Woolley, sir?
Sir Humphrey: Yes... No. Yes.
Policeman: Was that a ''yes'', sir?
Sir Humphrey: Yes.
Policeman: I have Sir Humphrey Appleby here wishing to enter by the front door. Ask Mr Woolley if he may be admitted.
(RADIO CRACKLES)
Policeman: They can't find Mr Woolley at the moment and he left no word, so we can't let you in.
posted by wilko at 12:09 PM on September 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm surprised at the argument that because you claim to be the law and order party you can't also be anti-police. RoboCop, people, RoboCop!
posted by benito.strauss at 12:39 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man. This would make a great 80s movie if the police officer had a huge tape-cassette recorder hidden on him. And then when the politician is making a speech the cop could play the tape. Also the cop would be a sixteen-year-old or a 30-year-old playing a 16-year-old (they hadn't figured out how to have real kids in movies then).
posted by Napierzaza at 12:41 PM on September 24, 2012


Well, fine. Two guys.

Three guys. The primary guy and two witnesses.

It's probable that this isn't, itself, against the law, but it's bad from a PR standpoint, for revealing an uncomfortable fact about how this guy views his privileged position. He doesn't sound much like a servant of the people, but more like a petty tyrant.
posted by JHarris at 12:44 PM on September 24, 2012


more like a petty tyrant.
And since no-one's linked it yet, here's Lucy Kinder's account of being intimidated by Mitchell as a young student journalist during a Tory-party vanity excursion humanitarian mission to Africa, after she wrote something slightly critical. Lovely Mitchell quote on this occasion:
"They [other young Tories] are threatening her with physical violence and I can't say I blame them."
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:57 PM on September 24, 2012


He doesn't sound much like a servant of the people, but more like a petty tyrant.

If wanting to ride a bicycle through a gate is "tyranny," what is it called when a politician, of all people, loses his job for speaking his mind?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:01 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you want a vision of the future, imagine a Tory party MP riding a bicycle through a gate ... forever.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:09 PM on September 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


If wanting to ride a bicycle through a gate is "tyranny," what is it called when a politician, of all people, loses his job for speaking his mind?


Common sense.

Speaking your mind should only be done on rare occasions.
posted by ocschwar at 1:16 PM on September 24, 2012


If wanting to ride a bicycle through a gate is "tyranny," what is it called when a politician, of all people, loses his job for speaking his mind?
Well, firstly, the police were told to not open the main gate more than they had to, through security concerns. They pointed Mitchell to the side gate, which was the right thing to do, and pretty reasonable. Mitchell's "tyranny" is the attempt to use his position to threaten the police officers into doing something they shouldn't. And "speaking his mind" showed his bigotry.

Bigotry and threats are damn good reasons for somebody not to hold public office. If a person truly is class-bigoted, then they should learn to speak their mind early and often, preferably before they're ever elected.
posted by Jehan at 1:22 PM on September 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


If wanting to ride a bicycle through a gate is "tyranny," what is it called when a politician, of all people, loses his job for speaking his mind?

I think you're wildly misrepresenting what's going on. If Mitchell get sacked or forced to resign over this, he'd not be losing his job because he took a principled position or because he blew the whistle on something. It'll be because he's made himself a political liability by running his mouth.
posted by hoyland at 1:24 PM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, gategate.
posted by domakesaypat at 1:34 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Though you don't even need GCSEs to join the plod, so technically they probably are plebs. Just because you're in power doesn't mean you can't speak truth to power, such as jobsworths stopping you getting from A to B.
posted by Damienmce at 1:53 PM on September 24, 2012


The police are prolonging this because they do not like this government:

But John Tully, chairman of the MPF, said Mitchell was effectively accusing the officers of lying. "Clearly Mr Mitchell is denying using certain words, effectively now impugning the integrity of the police officers," Tully said.

"I think that is very serious. I think the prime minister or Downing Street officials should hold an inquiry, and if Mr Mitchell is proved to have lied, then he should be sacked."

posted by vacapinta at 1:53 PM on September 24, 2012


It reminds me a little of the 47% thing; my main astonishment is that the range of people to be looked down on is now so wide that it includes Diplomatic Protection Group police officers. It's literally the equivalent of a member of the US executive thinking and indeed openly indicating to Secret Service officers that they are scum. DPG just do governmental people and diplomats. That's it.
posted by jaduncan at 1:54 PM on September 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Though you don't even need GCSEs to join the plod

You may, however, be disappointed at how the DPG view your application. There's a more natural place in the Tactical Support Group for the muscular but extremely thick.
posted by jaduncan at 1:55 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes (Prime) Minister episode 4 "The Key", Sir Humphrey is trying to get into #10:

That's precisely the dialogue I was thinking of. :)
posted by the cydonian at 1:57 PM on September 24, 2012


They pointed Mitchell to the side gate, which was the right thing to do, and pretty reasonable.

I guess it depends on what you think a bike is. Is it a vehicle that belongs on the road and should stop at all 4 way stops? Is it something different from either walking or driving? Is it just a kids toy?
posted by Chuckles at 1:59 PM on September 24, 2012


Though you don't even need GCSEs to join the plod


I take it Mr. Mitchell is of the meritocracy, not the aristocracy, then?
(honest question. I live across the Pond)
posted by ocschwar at 1:59 PM on September 24, 2012


I guess it depends on what you think a bike is. Is it a vehicle that belongs on the road and should stop at all 4 way stops? Is it something different from either walking or driving? Is it just a kids toy?


It's something that enables you to approach a guard post at higher speed than the guards would like, and so they have good cause to demand you dismount.
posted by ocschwar at 2:00 PM on September 24, 2012




I take it Mr. Mitchell is of the meritocracy, not the aristocracy, then?

Well, he's no aristo, but judging by his Wikipedia entry he's from wealth: grew up in Hampstead (posh and leafy part of London), father was a Tory MP, went to Rugby (boarding school where fees start at £10,000/year, could be up to £38,000) and Cambridge...
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:08 PM on September 24, 2012


Well, he's no aristo, but judging by his Wikipedia entry he's from wealth: grew up in Hampstead (posh and leafy part of London), father was a Tory MP, went to Rugby (boarding school where fees start at £10,000/year, could be up to £38,000) and Cambridge...


In American terms, if you're born to money, of whatever vintage, you're an aristo.
To be a meritocrat you have to be good at filling bubble sheets.
posted by ocschwar at 2:21 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think Mitchell shot himself in the proverbial foot when he seems to have done the usual...."you haven't heard the last of this ..."

in a UK culture where there are strong protections for being put upon by someone who feels they are above the law, a police person documented his version of events.

Now Government Minister, child of Thatcher, you either called him a Pleb or a Liar, .....

you total Fucking Idiot, talk about shitting where you eat???
posted by Wilder at 2:23 PM on September 24, 2012


he seems to have done the usual...."you haven't heard the last of this ..."

He was right about that bit, at least!
posted by Abiezer at 2:49 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


What a yob creator.
posted by uosuaq at 3:53 PM on September 24, 2012


I would like to introduce Mr. Andrew Mitchell to Mr. Paul Wellstone, but, alas, he is no more. He was someone who knew how to treat other human beings regardless of their station.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:21 PM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


you don't even need GCSEs to join the plod, so technically they probably are plebs

What - only a patrician can get GCSEs? How quickly we get redefined. One day we are 'hard working families' the next 'plebs' and today we are incapable of completing basic education.
posted by communicator at 6:10 PM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


raised issues of class bigotry present in British society.

Impossible, I should think. Certainly here in the US, where the 47% of us who are entitled to pay no taxes do not consider the 53% to be plebes.
posted by Twang at 6:50 PM on September 24, 2012


jaduncan my main astonishment is that the range of people to be looked down on is now so wide that it includes Diplomatic Protection Group police officers. It's literally the equivalent of a member of the US executive thinking and indeed openly indicating to Secret Service officers that they are scum. DPG just do governmental people and diplomats. That's it.

Seems a golden opportunity for the DPG officer to take the "pleb" comment a little further and remind Mr. Mitchell how things turned out with the Praetorian Guard.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:18 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Conservatives are assholes regardless of nationality.
posted by bardic at 9:25 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


raised issues of class bigotry present in British society


Gosh! Now whoever would have thought there were such issues?
posted by aqsakal at 12:43 AM on September 25, 2012


The Sun now reporting about his lunch; and rumour has it they have the drinks bill and may be getting ready to accuse him of being the worse for drink. Ho ho.
posted by Abiezer at 3:17 AM on September 25, 2012


This 100% he-said-she-said. There is no proof whatsoever that he said that.

So, does this apply to all official police records, or just the ones MPs disagree with and PMs wish would disappear? Because I'm sure there are a lot of non-MPs accused of various things by the police who'd also like to avoid a full investigation and would rather the whole matter to be dropped by them simply saying "nope, I didn't do that."
posted by headnsouth at 6:06 AM on September 25, 2012


So, does this apply to all official police records, or just the ones MPs disagree with and PMs wish would disappear?

I'm thinking maybe it just applies to the police records alleging inconsequential words spoken by a democratically elected official whose party the police have a vested interest in defaming, shared with the tabloid press along with a demand that said democratically elected official be fired for his inconsequential words.

If this is how the police operate, Mitchell was right: They do need to learn their fucking place. (He was apparently wrong about them not running the fucking government, though.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:31 AM on September 25, 2012


Andrew Mitchell has resigned.
posted by Jehan at 10:26 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Indeed. I'm mildly surprised, having thought it had just about run it's course, especially since he'd apparently scraped through the 1922 meeting more easily than expected.

What insignificant political bunfight will distract us from disastrous policy decisions now?
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 11:07 AM on October 19, 2012


What insignificant political bunfight will distract us from disastrous policy decisions now?
There's been Osborne sitting in first class with a standard fare ticket then baulking at either moving back down to where the plebs sit or forking out the 160 quid supplement, amusingly dubbed the Great Train Snobbery by some clever sub :D
posted by Abiezer at 3:42 PM on October 19, 2012


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