The Plastic Hippo

October 16, 2013

Clash of the Titans

Filed under: Law,Media,Politics,Society,Sport — theplastichippo @ 8:00 pm
Image via

Image via

In an adversarial world, any attempt at remaining impartial in even the slightest and most insignificant of disagreements is considered to be a sign of weakness and neutrality in really big bust-ups allows both opponents to shriek of third party bias. There is, however, a great deal of amusement to be gained from sitting on the fence especially when the weasels and the stoats are accusing each other of dishonesty.

Card carrying political types insist that anything other than complete and unconditional support and agreement with whatever nonsense they have managed to formulate is evidence of aggression, sedition, unpatriotic treachery and possible mental illness. They seem to believe that any challenge to what they spout is somehow either dangerous or irrelevant and dismiss legitimate scrutiny with counter accusations of corruption or stupidity. Obsessed with the notion of “I am right and you are wrong” regardless of any actual critique, both left and right display an unshakeable moral certainty in their own opinion, however flawed that opinion might be. In life, in marked contrast to politics, not everything is black and white.

The doctrine of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” results in all manner of strange allegiances as invented battle lines become blurred. Neutral football fans watching United against City might want both teams to suffer defeat but will settle for a nil-nil draw and will curse if Wayne Rooney scores for United at Old Trafford. Those same neutral football devotees will cheer to the rafters when Mr Rooney scores for England at Wembley. Roosevelt and Churchill, no less, supported Stalin; the west sided with Iraq against Iran and funded a certain Mr Bin Laden and the Taliban against the Russians in Afghanistan. Thwarted at not being able to arm less moderate factions of Al-Qaida in Syria, the current British government is taking out its revenge on badgers.

In some circumstances, it is often best not to take sides and simply watch the fun from the sidelines. Consider the almighty battle regarding a Royal Charter intended to either curb the excesses of an unregulated, feral newspaper industry or a crude form of censorship designed to muzzle free speech. On one side are politicians fearful of scrutiny and on the other side are a handful of megalomaniac billionaire proprietors supported by scurrilous editors with their own agendas to peddle. It is difficult to know who to despise the most. When the likes of Murdoch and Dacre talk of defending a “free press”, it is probably time to pay the final demand on the reality bill.

Consider also the remarkable rehabilitation of former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell. Rather than going over old ground, let us just say that Mitchell is still an arrogant and unpleasant individual who remains convinced that due to his wealth and privilege, he has a divine right to power. It is possible to feel some sympathy for this odious shyster as his obvious experience of misconduct and deception in public office and tax avoidance leaves him expertly qualified to spot a stitch-up when he sees one. Before freeloading in parliament, Mitchell earned a pittance as a merchant banker at Lazard, the munificent corporate financiers who more recently offered Vince Cable such excellent advice in setting the Royal Mail share scam price so artificially low which, in effect, has blown about £2billion and counting of tax payers money.

After the events at the gates of Downing Street a year ago, Mitchell was forced to apologise and resign. At the time, Cameron said Mitchell was wrong and Boris Johnston received rapturous applause at the party conference by demanding that anyone swearing at police officers should be arrested and charged. At the time, the rather trivial dispute was encapsulated by public opinion having to decide who was telling the truth; police officers with guns or a slippery politician. Since then, the mood has subtly changed and the former Chief Whip is now the victim and the police are the villains. All sorts of allies have rallied to Mitchell`s campaign for justice with some more giddy Conservatives suggesting that the police might actually be inventing things out of thin air. Maverick David Davies, without any sense of irony or, indeed, taste cited the Hillsborough cover-up as evidence of wide-spread and systemic police corruption and now Cameron and Theresa May are calling for apologies and disciplinary action.

It is worth remembering that this volte face is not based on the events at the gates of Downing Street but events at a meeting in Sutton Coldfield a short time later. Representatives of the Police Federation wanting to know if Mitchell had used offensive language in an encounter with police protection officers had a meeting with him. This was not an interview under caution or part of a criminal enquiry but a legitimate request from a professional association seeking reassurances that a member of the government had not verbally abused members of the federation. In spite of secret recordings and hand-written notes, we are still no clearer as to what Mitchell actually said.

The formidable Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Deborah Glass, weighed in as judge and jury and offered her opinion that the police had lost credibility. Her experience of police accountability is based on practicing law in Australia before working for investment banks. Her biography states that she “was instrumental in raising standards for the investment management industry”. Well done, Deborah; that went really well. Even more successful has been her accomplished handling of the Hillsborough sandal and the deaths of Ian Tomlinson, Jean Charles de Menezes, Stephen Lawrence and so many others. It is entirely coincidental that on the day of her pronouncement, we hear evidence of a mysterious disappearing gun in a sock that led to the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan and a transcript proving police incompetence in investigating the many crimes of Jimmy Savile.

Rather than take sides and support one villain against another, I prefer to enjoy watching them knock lumps out of each other. What`s not to like about a police officer dressed as a giant gorilla taking on a mendacious fire-breathing politician dressed in a rubber lizard suit. Human nature, however, can be fickle and even though King Kong might be a monster, he might deserve our support because, after all, he is a bit more human than Godzilla.

The very fabric of society is hardly about to disintegrate at the shocking revelations of possible dishonest police officers and duplicitous professional politicians. So grab the popcorn and enjoy the battle royal. Let`s hope they make a sequel, this time in 3D.



  1. So, “proud to be a” plebgate (@No1) didn’t quite pan out as expected, thus the inevitable diversionary tactics employed.


    Usual character demolition of dissenters and glorification of trade union activists as a “professional association”. The same “professionals” balatantly lied (proven by the recording) about what had been said minutes earlier and called for resignation on the strength of that. They’ve been quiet lately, just like those others who couldn’t shut up about it only a year ago.

    Still proud to be a pleb?

    Comment by Rob — October 19, 2013 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

  2. What a sorry spectacle the three union reps proved to be at the Commons Select Commitee today.
    They didn’t even look like they believed what they were saying themselves.
    Brother Mackaill proved a particular ray of sunshine, though somewhat reticent and bashful compared to his bravura performances 12 months previously.
    Maybe it’ll be out on DVD in time for Christmas.
    Meanwhile, north of the border, comrade Len’s special agent Deans has brought about the loss of thousands of jobs and trashed 1% of Scotland’s GDP.
    The poison of the Falkirk candidate selection procedure corruption continuing to spread.
    Keep the red flag flying………………….

    Comment by Rob — October 23, 2013 @ 5:47 pm | Reply

  3. Hello Rob.

    See you’ve ridden back in on your usual hobbyhorse.

    Love the twin post, ‘and another thing’ style. It’s like you can’t quite spit it out in one chunk.

    I note you’ve held back on the usual character attack after being admonished – good to see.

    The interesting thing you miss, of course, is Mitchell being stiffed by his own party. Quite entertaining. It’s always fun to watch a Tory character assassination attempt. Very Richard III.

    Keep sharpening that invective, we miss you when you’re sulking


    Comment by BrownhilksBob — October 24, 2013 @ 4:33 pm | Reply

  4. Couldn’t “spit it out in one chuck” as the Parliamentary Committee met four days after my original post.
    You’d need to be some sort of anal-retentive to manage that.
    Maybe you could advise me?

    Moving on: “being stiffed by his own party”

    Just to highlight one BTL contribution:

    “Oh dear…….

    Still pretty certain he’ll find full time employment quite quickly…..who knows maybe the union will have a vacancy…..

    If you were a right wing pulp fiction writer you couldn’t make this up…..

    You’ve got a drunken (now ex) Labour MP, the girlfriend of the most powerful union boss in the land and her best mate who just happen to run the local party….they go about introducing family and friends to the Party….the Party Leader gets miffed about this….reports it to the Polis….which alerts the best mate’s employer to the fact he’s been doing Labour Party work instead of theirs so it suspends him….the Union calls a strike about this….and then call it off…..the owners play hard ball….tells everybody to give up their pensions or they close the site…the Union say ‘He’s Bluffing don’t sign’…..he’s not bluffing….the Union has to give up everything….a couple of thousand Sub Contractors lose their jobs…..and then shortly afterwards the best mate loses his.

    I believe a word which rhymes with ‘BlusterGuck’ sums it up…..”

    Lions led by donkeys?

    And the donkeys own the labour party.

    Comment by Rob — October 29, 2013 @ 12:43 am | Reply

  5. But, despite impersonating a trio of incoherent ****wits, it’s been a massive PR success:

    I’m sure @No1 is still as proud as ever.

    Where’s Jon Gaunt and the bruvvas?

    Comment by Rob — October 31, 2013 @ 12:07 am | Reply

  6. You’re right, you know. Drink’s a filthy thing.


    Comment by BrownhillsBob — November 1, 2013 @ 12:30 am | Reply

  7. The gifts that keep on giving:

    (Link to an obscene publication removed by the plastic hippo)

    (Link to the press office of a political party removed by the plastic hippo)

    “misleading” – that’s almost like saying they were……………………………………………

    We’re gonna need to print some bigger T-shirts.

    Comment by Rob — November 3, 2013 @ 11:46 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: