Skipper well summarises the issues around government chief whip Andrew Mitchell’s treatment of Downing Street police which are the same issues that inform Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s outburst against 47 percent of Americans not paying federal income tax; as an aside it’s worth noting that it was former Republican presidents who relieved the 47 percent of this burden and so, in in Romney’s view, transformed them into state dependent scroungers who will vote Obama no matter what. But I digress.
I am surprised that the Andrew Mitchell story has such strong legs as when the Police Federation called for his head I thought they were over stretching themselves and risked looking impotent. A nice police response came from an assistant chief constable of West Mercia Police, who tweeted ‘Seem to recall from my school days (good comp) that Roman Empire collapsed without plebians when patricians were left in charge’.
But then I guess Andrew Mitchell hasn’t handled it at all well. The problem is in the qualified apology. (Although, Nick Clegg’s qualified apology on tuition fees — that the Lib Dems should not have made a promise Labour or Tories would have forced them to break in coalition — is more contemptible.) Mitchell has failed to spell out what happened, just asserted that it wasn’t as bad as alleged. If he simply owned up, we’d all move on very quickly as there wouldn’t be anything left to say. Instead, he faces continued demands to divulge all the detail and must suffer The Sun properly investigating him, which could not be more damaging.