Any Brit reader can easily skip this post. You’ll already have chortled your way into asphyxia.
So, for you benighted foreigners, the story so far…
Actually, Mark Ferguson has already done the heavy lifting, at LabourList:
On Wednesday, Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell tried to leave Downing Street via the main gates on his bike. The police told him they wouldn’t open the main gates. Mitchell lost his temper quite spectacularly. According to The Sun, this is what he said:
“Open this gate, I’m the Chief Whip. I’m telling you — I’m the Chief Whip and I’m coming through these gates.”
What a charmer. When they still refused, Mitchell allegedly responded:
“Best you learn your f***ing place. You don’t run this f***ing government.
“You’re f***ing plebs.”
Mitchell is also believed to have attacked the police as “morons”.
Sure enough, the “apology” and bowdlerisation promptly followed:
Mitchell, a keen cyclist, denied using offensive language but admitted he had behaved badly after he was barred from leaving Downing Street via his usual route through the main gates.
In a statement he said: “On Wednesday night I attempted to leave Downing Street via the main gate, something I have been allowed to do many times before.
“I was told that I was not allowed to leave that way. While I do not accept that I used any of the words that have been reported, I accept I did not treat the police with the respect they deserve.
“I have seen the supervising sergeant and apologised, and will also apologise to the police officer involved.”
A No 10 source said that Cameron was aware of the incident but was satisfied with Mitchell’s apology.
“The prime minister believes the police should always be treated with respect,” the source said.
One couldn’t expect anything less from — just get this: a former UN peacekeeper.
So Dave’s happy. All ticketty-boo?
Well, it occurs to Malcolm that the main gate to Downing Street must be one of the most CCTV-infested parts of central London — itself not short of the odd camera or dozen. So, simple solution to find whoever is telling the truth — I do not accept that I used any of the words that have been reported —
Release the tapes!
After all, we wouldn’t want a lying copper — or a lying Cabinet Minister — to go unacknowledged, unpunished. Someone’s reputation, honour, even job, is at stake here; and there are several officers coming forward to say the Sun‘s asterisked version is nearer the truth than Mitchell’s mealy-mouthed recantation.
The director of public prosecutions is to issue guidelines on when criminal charges should be brought against people posting abusive comments on social media networks.
Keir Starmer QC made the announcement on Thursday after revealing that a Welsh footballer who posted a homophobic message about the Olympic divers Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield on Twitter will not be prosecuted.
Starmer said he will launch a public consultation and issue guidelines on how to deal with the daily avalanche of hundreds of millions of comments – some abusive, some potentially criminal – posted on social media sites.
All fair and dandy. Throttle the oiks who abuse the privilege of the internet. Quite right, too.
But start at the top:
Conservative minister Andrew Mitchell has been urged to resign by Police Federation leaders over his outburst to an officer in Downing Street.
The body representing rank-and-file officers said Mr Mitchell’s alleged remarks were “outrageous”.
The Tory Chief Whip has denied claims he swore and called an officer a “pleb” but the officer has insisted reports of what happened are accurate.
At the very least Mitchell has to stand accused of a public order offence. From what we know, the evidence is there.
Only his privileged position (and Dave’s support) is protecting him from following into the dock the rag-tag-and bobtail who will be picked up this same night, having drunk not wisely but too well.
Or, as Oscar pungently put the point into Algernon’s script:
Really, if the lower orders don’t set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility.