Sunday, 23 September 2012

Andrew Mitchell - Answers, not apologies needed

We are in a brief passage of history at the moment where the Police service appear to be in the news an awful lot. Beginning last Wednesday (12 September 2012) with the statement from the Prime Minister, apologising and condoling with the families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, where 96 football fans went to watch Liverpool play Nottingham Forrest and never came home. The statement at last seemed to put to bed who was to blame, which for years was the victims as a result of a police smear campaign.

News then broke Wednesday morning (19 September 2012) of the killing of two police women in Manchester, after an apparent hoax call, leading the two officers into a death trap. 

Within 24 hours the Police were once again at the center of a media storm, as Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell allegedly shouted abuse at Police guarding the gates to Downing Street for not letting him through on his bicycle. The claims made by the Police include Mitchell shouting "do you know who I am?", " learn your place", "I'll have your jobs for this" and "'re fucking plebs".

Dubbed as "Mitchellgate", "Plebgate" and "gategate", the story raises the important point of status and position in British society. 

While some may or may not agree with the methods used by the Police, but there is no doubt in this situation, someone has gotten above their station and used their status as a means to try and quieten the other into submission. 

On the one hand, the Police could be seen as being too unreasonable in this instance. Let the man through on his bike, no harm done, Mitchell gets home 5 minutes earlier. Or, as was the case the Police stick to the protocol laid before them, and do not allow Mitchell to pass through security. As a result, Mitchell kicked off. 

Now, the Police no doubt will be given tongue-lashings invariable around the country, infact i'm sure the Police have probably heard a lot worse on a Friday night outside nightclubs. This however is not the issue in my opinion. 

What's gone on here is a Cabinet member to get above his station. Using his power, threatening to "have his job for this" is unacceptable. The power bestowed on him by David Cameron, can just as easily be taken away by him, if not the electorate in the next general election. There is no absolute and infinite power MPs have. Serving Government and the people should be a privilege, not something used a bargaining chip in the game of life. He should be asked where he gets off on the idea that status, position and power should be a means through which he can be treated differently. Had I asked to get through the Downing Street gates, then called the police "fucking plebs", i'm sure I would have walked away in 'cuffs. 

In a social democracy, we should be able to resolve conflict such as this through sound reason and judgement, not resorting to a "my-dads bigger than your dad" esque confrontation. While perhaps not role-models, a Politician of his position should not let down the electorate by making such remarks. 

Already dubbed as "thrasher" for his tough persona, Mitchell has not helped his cause here. "I'm the Chief Whip" may well impress the bourgeoisie, but it won't impress the likes of the working-class. The gap between Politician and electorate is something, in my view, we need to eliminate in order for politicians to be more accessible. Stories such as this do no good. Cameron should make a stand and have Mitchell stand down in order to make the point that in reality, MPs are just elected members of society, not social heavyweights who can bully their way through life. 

No comments:

Post a Comment