Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Plebgate - The Unpalatable Truth

I have come out of retirement briefly to put down some thoughts about Plebgate. I wrote about this earlier this year and I hate to say it, but I told you so.
The facts are very simple. Andrew Mitchell left Downing Street on the 19th September 2012 and had a hissy fit because a police officer wouldn't let him through the main gate. Mitchell admits being bad tempered and swearing; the only argument is whether or not he used the word pleb. It is an unusual word to use, one that seems unlikely for the police to make up?
Son of an MP, educated at Rugby Public School and Cambridge, and an arrogant member of the ruling classes; who would believe that Mitchell would say such a thing as 'Best you learn your fucking place. You don't run this fucking government ... You're fucking plebs?' If Michael Portillo is to be believed Mitchell has used the pleb word in private before.
An idiot police officer took it upon himself to write to his MP claiming to have witnessed the incident didn't help the situation and simply gave ammunition to Mitchell, his supporters and the anti police brigade.
A bit like Chris Huhne, Mitchell came out fighting for his career and produced video footage from the area, which he claimed proved that the police were lying. The anti police brigade and media were completely suckered. Anything discrediting the police was accepted without question. It was good work by Mitchell's team. People are still posting today that the video evidence proved the police were lying. You can view the video evidence and a detailed critique here.
A year long investigation has concluded that there is no evidence to support any theory of a conspiracy by the police against Mitchell. The CPS, rather weakly, say that there is insufficient evidence to show that the police officer was lying. There is no evidence other than Mr Mitchell's denial. The CPS also say they took into account evidence including “the fact that Mr Mitchells account has varied since the incident”
The biggest issue for me is the biased and edited video footage that was given to Chanel 4. The programme makers have made it clear that they did not edit the footage given to them. The CPS report says that the programme “showed edited footage that was less than clear in a number of regards”. It goes on to say that the unedited video evidence shows that the police officers account could be correct.
So who produced the footage given to Chanel 4, which appears to have been edited to discredit the police and support Mitchell's case? Why aren't the media asking this question?
I see today that Mitchell's case of libel against The Sun is not going well. He submitted his evidence late and has been told that because of this, even if he wins the case, he will have to pay his costs. He has had a year to get his story straight now. Why was it late? Don't be surprised if you see that case dropped before too long. He may say he cannot afford to fund it now he has to pay his costs. I say he won't want to appear in the witness box and face some difficult questions.
No one has come out of this sorry affair without blemish, but when it comes down to it, who do I believe? PC Plod doing his job on the gate or an arrogant, foul mouthed toff who thinks he was born to rule us?