Let’s play “taunt the toff” and never mind the facts
Robert Harris in The Sunday Times yesterday (pay wall) is too generous to his friend Andrew Mitchell, but he makes some important points:
Even those left-wing papers and MPs who had paraded before Leveson earlier in the year, deploring the relationship between the police and the tabloids, now eagerly repeated the story without once questioning where it had come from. It was time to play taunt-the-toff and everyone could join in. This is what happens when a political leader plays the class war card, as Ed Miliband has so ruthlessly against the Tories: it legitimises dark impulses and makes an unpopular social minority fair game for abuse.
It was Miliband who in his conference speech quoted Mitchell’s use of the word “pleb” as if it were uncontested. This was opportunist and inconsistent. The Labour leader is so proud of standing up to Rupert Murdoch, but when faced with another powerful interest with a questionable relationship to democracy, the police, he takes its side.
How convenient for him that the Leveson report said almost nothing useful about the interface between politicians and the police.Tagged in: andrew mitchell, police, public service reform
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