Monday, 24 September 2012

'Pleb' row minister Andrew Mitchell blasted cops after posh curry sesh

The Chief Whip, accused of branding Downing St officers “f****** plebs,” tucked in at Westminster’s swanky Cinnamon Club.

The £50-a-head restaurant, a favourite of MPs and ministers, serves some of the poshest food in London.

A fellow diner said: “He didn’t seem to be having a frustrating day to me.”

A few hours later Mr Mitchell let rip at Downing Street officers when they refused to open the main gate so he could cycle through.

He was in a hurry because he was off to a meal with wealthy Tory donors at the Conservative Party’s private members’ club.

He was guest speaker at the Carlton Club in St James’s.

Mr Mitchell, 56, yesterday faced the TV cameras for the first time since The Sun revealed the scandal on Friday.
 Read more about the story here.

Allow me to clarify:

A "pleb" is a derogatory term used by the wealthy/elite historically to denote commoners, or people of lower classes than themselves.

It is derived from the word "plebeian". From Oxford dictionary's definition:


  • (in ancient Rome) a commoner.
  • a member of the lower social classes: the feeling was shared by plebeians, gentry, and clergy


  • of or belonging to the commoners of ancient Rome.
  • of or belonging to the lower social classes: two dancers, one royal and one plebeian
  • lacking in refinement: he is a man of plebeian tastes

So essentially what we have here is a case of an elitist oligarch - who used to be an investment banker with one of the biggest investment banks in the world, Lazard - throwing a fit because a lowly "pleb" police officer would not let him enter just because he said he was allowed to.

What exactly did Mr. Mitchell say?

“[...] last Wednesday evening, Mr Mitchell was speaking to a female Pc, who is named in the log, “demanding exit through the main vehicle gate into Whitehall.” The Chief Whip was told that it was “policy” for cyclists to use a pedestrian gate but claimed that he “always used the main gates” and initially refused to do otherwise.
A colleague of the female officer who wrote the incident report continues: “After several refusals Mr Mitchell got off his bike and walked to the pedestrian gate with me after I again offered to open that for him.

There were several members of public present as is the norm opposite the pedestrian gate and as we neared it, Mr Mitchell said: 'Best you learn your f------ place . . . you don’t run this f------ government . . . you’re f------ plebs.’ ”
Read more from this article here.
So... Who exactly does run the government, Mr. Mitchell? You and your wealthy buddies on Downing Street? But... wait... Don't those proletarian "plebs" pay your salary? Then again, with so many chummy investment banker buddies, that government salary must be but a pittance compared to the rest of your income sources.

Here's a bit more information on Mr. Mitchell. Of particular note:

2009 expenses claims

According to The Daily Telegraph newspaper, which first reported the unredacted expenses claims of Members of Parliament, most claims made by Mitchell were for office expenses, but there was criticism of him among some of the British media, which reported that he had made a number of small claims for items such as a 'stick of glue' (reportedly costing 45p), and other items.

Allegations of lobbying on behalf of donors

An article in The Sunday Times on 30 October 2010, quoted by The Guardian the following day, claimed that Mitchell had pressured the Foreign Office and colleagues to lobby Ghana (successfully) for the lifting of a trading ban on a cocoa company, Armajaro, which had been a repeated donor to Mitchell's parliamentary office and also a donor to the Conservative Party. Ghana had imposed the ban as the company was believed to have been smuggling cocoa out of the country. However, when questioned by ITV News on 2 November about his role in the case, Mitchell said that he had a duty as a member of the government to respond to the company's requests, as it was registered as a British company, and that the government had a responsibility to promote British trade. He argued that he had seen no evidence that the Ghanaian government's suspicions about the company in question had been substantiated, and that the claim that he had acted improperly on behalf of a party donor was unreasonable, as the company had ceased to donate to both the Conservative Party and his parliamentary office several years earlier.

Allegations of tax avoidance

In 2006, Andrew Mitchell invested funds in privately owned firms implicated in a tax avoidance scheme. The article in the Daily Telegraph claimed that a subsidiary of DV3 purchased the lease on the Dickins & Jones department store building in central London for £65.1 million and sold it a month later to a partnership controlled by DV3 for £65,100, thus avoiding stamp duty.

This guy has a shining record, doesn't he? And we're supposed to believe his word over the police officers that he verbally thrashed?

Fortunately, many members of British Parliament and other government officials came out speaking against the side of Mitchell. Indeed, many questioned whether there ought to be an investigation into what happened. After all, a government official showing such disdain and contempt for fellow government employees warrants at least that, right?

Well, here's the kicker:

"On 24 September 2012 Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood confirmed in a letter to shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper that there would be no inquiry into Andrew Mitchell's outburst."

So basically, not only does he get away with something that any other government employee would be reprimanded for, if not fired; he also gets away with denying the whole story. No official inquiry will ever happen, and the police report will remain the only piece of [damning] evidence as to what actually happened. Even in his apology he refused to actually say what was said:

"I'm very clear about what I said and what I didn't say, and I want to make it absolutely clear that I did not use the words that have been attributed to me."

His reasoning for the outburst?

"[...] it had been a long, and extremely frustrating day[...]"
That's amusing. I regularly manage to have "long and extremely frustrating" days, yet I manage to get by without verbally assaulting the police (as much as I'd like to I have too much respect for other human beings to actually do this), or anyone else for that matter. Hmm... Does that mean I should run for office? I suppose not... I mean, the banker payoffs would be nice, and plus complete impunity from reprimand or punishment or, basically, the law, would be fantastic. The only problem is I'd have to check my humanity and code of morals and ethics at the door... and I don't think I'd be willing to do that.

To be fair, he did apologize on numerous occasions. We should give him credit for that... right? Thanks Mr. Mitchell, it's nice to know you have moral standards after you verbally abuse people, and display your contempt for "common" people.

And they say the poor are the ones promoting class warfare?

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