Andrew Mitchell has probably never felt much like John Terry before, but he may be starting to. “I did not use the words attributed to me,” the Chief Whip has claimed, after casually disembarking from a Volkswagen Polo, shunning the usual ministerial motor in a clearly choreographed attempt at not being the sort of chap who says “plebs” to policemen.
In contrast, the former England captain has embraced the possibility that he’s burnt his bridges, and jumped. The Chelsea skipper has retired from international football on the eve of his FA hearing for alleged racist abuse, claiming the Football Association had made his position “untenable”. Having already been cleared in the law-courts, he perhaps feels there's no founding for further interference. The FA clearly do. If found guilty however, the club will likely cleave to their captain, as Liverpool over Suarez, and the spectre of racism will still follow football until purged from the peer group that supports it.
The robust ranting of Andrew Mitchell, sounding more like a character from Eastenders than a former UN peacekeeper, was reportedly in response to a police rebuke on his cycling habits. The officer was allegedly on the angry end of an aggressive appraisal of his social standing, liberally loaded with the industrial invective we might more expect in the Chelsea changing room. The police log quotes the use of “plebs”, “morons” and enough fornicatory phraseology to embarrass a rapper. The Prime Minister’s spokesman says there is no need for an investigation, or an exact explanation of what Anglo-Saxon was uttered, because Mr Mitchell has already apologised. And indeed he has, twice. Whilst denying the verbose vocabulary, he has publicly regretted his rudeness, and the stage-managed ‘sorry’ still seems odds-on to save his skin, but betting is not yet suspended.
Where I come from they taught us; “don’t sh*t on your doorstep.” For the future benefit of Mr Mitchell, that useful maxim should possibly stretch to any doorsteps with policemen standing on them.