The Plastic Hippo

December 1, 2014

The Knowledge

Filed under: Law,Media,Politics — theplastichippo @ 2:00 am
Tags: , ,
David Mellor image via bbc.co.uk

David Mellor image via bbc.co.uk

You get what you pay for and an essential taxi ride from Buckingham Palace to a humble pied-a-terre in St Katharine`s Dock might be expensive but is considerably less life threatening than attempting the same journey using a bicycle.

David Mellor is clearly a victim of misrepresentation and the target of a vicious social media plot hatched by a tiny number of left-wing bullies. He deserves our sympathy because, as a failed cabinet minister voted out of Putney in 1997, he has endured years of not being allowed a ministerial car, the absence of expenses claims and the unfortunate medical condition that seems to be inexorably turning his appearance into that of Ken Dodd. After depleting the Queen`s wine cellar of some very expensive hooch, calling the man driving you home “a sweaty, stupid little shit” is about as clever as racially abusing a waiter with a phlegm problem who is about to go off into the kitchen to bring your curry to the table.

Questioning the route being taken, Mr Mellor was perfectly justified in attempting to save himself the 50 pence overcharge on the cab fare that needlessly avoided the treacherous one-way system around Aldwych. He informed the conniving cabbie that he should “get a better education” and that as a former cabinet minister, a Queen`s Counsel and “an award-winning broadcaster”, only David Mellor knew the best way to the Embankment and to the modest apartments in the shadow of the Tower of London.

It is not certain how Mr Mellor`s partner, Lady Penelope Cobham who had just been awarded a CBE, reacted to the recorded and therefore verifiable altercation but it probably did spoil her big day. With GCHQ recording and monitoring mobile phone traffic and internet exchanges, it seems strange that friends of David Mellor should be expressing outrage and disgust at the nerve of the cabbie in recording the incident on his mobile phone. We can only hope that Lady Penelope displayed a little more decorum, dignity and sobriety than either her partner or Antonia de Sancha and, if there is any irony left on the planet, her Ladyship simply said to the driver:
“Home Parker.” and received the reply:
“Yes, M`Lady.”

Politics and law-making has moved on since David Mellor was Culture Secretary and we now have a plethora of politicians who cycle to and from work. You know where this is going, don`t you?

It would be spiteful, churlish and pathetically opportunist to gloat and sneer at the former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell and this blog will never stoop into the sewer by missing the opportunity to churlishly gloat and spitefully sneer at the reputational damage and financial cost the courts have handed down to the former cabinet minister. To quote David Mellor out of context, Mitchell is “a sweaty, stupid little shit” and deserves everything his arrogance, vanity and misplaced sense of superiority has accrued.

Reading the detailed and thorough judgement delivered by Mr Justice Mitting, it seems that Mitchell harboured an antagonistic attitude to the police officers assigned to protect him because one of their number failed to recognise him on a previous occasion. The judge described Mr Mitchell`s behaviour as “childish” yet stopped short of telling the “sweaty, stupid little shit” that the do-you-know-who-I-am defence is no defence at all especially when you are swearing at police officers and calling them plebs and morons. Ironically, Justice Mitting judged that the police officer involved lacked the “wit, imagination or inclination to invent on the spur of the moment what a senior politician said to him.” Having had his evidence accepted as true and having been totally vindicated, PC Toby Rowland might wonder if being called a “pleb” by a minister is more insulting than being called stupid by a judge.

Supporters of Mr Mitchell and various other Tory trolls will, no doubt, be keen to point at other officers disciplined, dismissed and even convicted as a result of the member for Sutton Coldfield`s arrogance and short temper. This, however, was not about involvement in the incident at the gates of Downing Street but was about reporting the incident to the Sun newspaper and in light of Mitchell`s unsuccessful libel case, perhaps the Met needs to reconsider the sanctions imposed upon the officers. Hopefully the Met will have the wit, imagination and inclination to realise that last week`s conspirators are this week`s whistleblowers.

Obviously, PC Keith Wallis is bang-to-rights guilty of telling lies, fabricating evidence and misconduct in public office and fully deserves a custodial sentence. It seems a pity that Andrew Mitchell`s political career has gone down the pan because after his experience of the deception and falsehood of Wallis, he might just develop a little empathy for the thousands of people wrongly convicted and, on some occasions, shot dead or beaten to a pulp based of false evidence provided by the police and then denied justice due to closed-rank cover-ups. Perhaps not; the court case has revealed Mitchell`s character which, like David Mellor`s, shows no sign of empathy or even common respect.

If a London cabbie is considered indiscrete for recording verbal abuse, what should we make of a cabinet minister who covertly records a meeting with police officers representing three police federations? In October 2012, about three weeks after Mitchell threw his bike out the pram, Police Federation Representatives from the Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands constabularies arranged a meeting with the then Conservative Chief Whip at his constituency office. Contrary to what was suggested in the media, the meeting was not about taking Mitchell to task over calling police officers “plebs” but was to investigate the serious allegation that police officers had conspired to falsify notes and invent evidence.

The transcript of the recording secretly made by Mitchell was later published in the Guardian.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/interactive/2013/oct/15/plebgate-transcipt-andrew-mitchell-meeting-police
It makes for some very interesting reading. For a man who never uses “those words”, Mr Mitchell swears a lot and seems to repeat over and over again that he wants to draw a line under the incident a move on. Over and over again, the Fed Reps repeat that the allegation of falsifying notes is extremely serious and that it is their duty to discover and charge “bad apples”. The meeting is going nowhere.

Interestingly, an insight into Mitchell`s motives can be found on page 18 at about 38 minutes into the meeting. Mitchell says:
“Well I hope you feel you can say to the nine cameras or whatever is it outside that between us we have drawn a line under this point and I hope also that we can have a few minutes at least on the issues of greater importance.”
The meeting ended and seconds later the three Fed Reps were outside facing the media scrum. One hack asked the perfectly reasonable question:
“Do you think Andrew Mitchell`s position is now untenable?”
Given that apart from a few Tory bank benchers and a couple of central African warlords who benefited from Mitchell`s munificence during his time at Overseas Development and that his childish rant came 24 hours after two female police officers were shot dead and with almost every other sentient life form in the universe screaming for his resignation, the perfectly reasonable answer was “yes”.

“Police Demand Resignation” bellowed the headlines and it wasn`t long before Mitchell resigned. It took a little while longer for the Independent Police Complaints Commission to side with the former minister and a little longer still before the three Fed Reps were summoned to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee to face charges of misrepresentation and conspiracy to “bring down” a cabinet minister. In his stated desire to draw a line and move on, Mitchell instigated libel action against the Sun and appeared on Channel 4 News to accuse PC Toby Rowland of lying. A counter libel writ was issued and the legal fun began.

For partisan and partial observers, picking sides in an argument between an arrogant Tory former minister, the Met and the truly odious Sun is as difficult as deciding if an arrogant former Tory minister is more rational than an opinionated London taxi driver. In both these cases, the outcome was just about perfect. They all lost.

You get what you pay for and Mellor bunged some cash to charities smiled upon by London cabbies. Mitchell has to pay 300 grand on account and may face a final legal bill of somewhere between one and a half and three million quid. It would be spiteful, churlish and pathetically opportunist to gloat and sneer but I`m afraid I just can`t help sneering and gloating. Perhaps Mellor will continue his career as a professional controversialist on LBC and Mitchell will return to his noble if criminal merchant banking activities. If they have any further political ambition then they have two options.

Give the Farage creature a call or secure an A to Z to the handlebars of a moped and do the knowledge being careful not to go south of the river at this time of night.

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