Sunday, September 23, 2012


When the Mask Slips

Having arrived back from a wonderful newly married break in the Languedoc, I was greeted by the Chief Whip's appalling splenetic outburst against a House of Commons copper and a nation as mired as ever in the miseries of darkening nights, economic gloom and plummeting autumn temperatures. I thought the best comment on Mitchell was by Jonathan Freedland yesterday. He links it with Mitt Romney's 'entre nous' chat with fat cat donors when he suggested virtually half of US voters are not only addicted to government handouts and pay no tax but also believe they are entitled to such state funded largesse.

In both cases there is a strong element of class hatred and entitlement. Mitchell and Romney both think the 'plebs' are lazy and undeserving and ought to 'know their place'. Both also think they are entitled to govern over the lot of us, plebs and all, because they are born into success and surrounded by its trappings. Selfishness and arrogance sits in the same place on the right-wing spectrum, whether in Westminster or Washington.

More's the pity that Mitchell's low profile job means he will survive this little hic-cup; behind his mask Dave and his Chancellor probably think along the same lines anyway. Yet Romney seems to have embarked, with a death-wish velocity, into an orgy of self destructive Clegg-like campaigning. Against a president who was low in personal ratings, struggling to lead a flaccid economy out of the doldrums whilst lagging the Republican in campaign funding he has transformed a dead heat into a current six point lead. I'm sure the battle is by no means over but so far Obama has been extremely fortunate in the person the fat-cats chose to carry their banner towards 6th November.

Your comment that "Dave and his Chancellor probably think along the same lines anyway" spoils an otherwise decent editorial. It is the kind of generalising about a cross section of society that Mitchell is being rightly condemned for. I will also be sorry if Mitchell survives this episode. It was unforgivable, and for the life of me I can not see why Dave still wants this man in his Government.
It's very rare we agree on anything so am happy to join your Chief Whip Must Go Campaign. With a typical Guardian liberal response to your critical comment, I'd go halfway to agreeing that too, though would add Jeremy Hunt to your campaign. Why oh why?

Interestingly perhaps, I thought Norman Tebbitt's condemnation on the Tory side the most beleivable: dislike but respect the man- never a snob, though by Mitchell's standards, every ounce of him a 'pleb'.
One might have hoped that recent marriage might have enabled you to ingest some "common".(*)

Apparently not. Straight back on the hackneyed Grauniad bike for Skip - how disappointing.

For a more balanced take on this sideshow, take a look at

Yes I know, it's the MoS. Plenty of "common" and not a grammatical error or spelling mistake in sight, how ungroan can you get....

(*) That's "common" as in sense. Calm down dear.

Kind regards
So nice to see my personal rottweiler is still as mean and nasty as the party he supports.
Personal rotty ? Don't flatter yourself matey.

I have never ever supported the mean self serving party which claims as its own (amongst others) Calamity Brown, Bruiser Balls, Disfunctional Straw, Hattie Harperson, & last (but by no means least) the-not-fit-for-general-purpose Prescott.

You do need to get out more & at least attempt to break out of the Land of Tax Avoidance as espoused by the Graun.

All the best to the current Mrs Skip.

Kind regards
You misunderstand me: I don't for a minute expect you to be an exclusive rottweiler. I'm sure many other left of centre blogs are the recipient of your sneering brand of ad hominem nastiness. Of which I have in any case had enough.

There is little point in such a futile meeting of minds so I give notice that henceforward I will not publish your comments, so don't bother sunshine. I know I get few enough comments but I'll be none the worse off for losing your negative, wholly abusive commentary.
Hi Skipper

First off, many congratulations, every blessing and wishing you and Mrs Skipper the very happiest of futures (although Leeds - why?)!

On the specific story - I have very little time to follow these things at the moment, but there are a great many bewildering facets to it. Some that I'm still pondering:

1) Might Mitchell actually keep his job because of this outburst? After all, it shows he's a nasty piece of work, a bully, and an arrogant thug with a strong sense of entitlement and a tribalist outlook. In other words, the perfect Chief Whip for a sulky and rebellious backbench party.

2) How is it that this particular officer apparently felt that it was appropriate to tell a Cabinet Minister that the gates wouldn't be opened for him? Before anyone answers with the obvious, yes, there is a general policy that cyclists dismount and use the side gate. However, it would appear that in the interests of not keeping them hanging around where they are potentially vulnerable to egg-throwers if not mad gunmen, ministers are let in through the gate. So could there be a question of a lack of training here?

3) Why is Mitchell so very specific about what he did and didn't say - and why are the Police Federation so obsessed with proving whether one junior minister may or may not have sworn at one of their members, who may or may not have been acting appropriately, and therefore stating precisely the opposite?

4) HTF has a confidential police log book been leaked to the media? In what strange parallel universe, even allowing for Mitchell not very implicitly calling the officer a liar, was that considered appropriate? Which begs the further question - is it genuine?

Like I say, all very strange.

As an aside, there's also at least one other politician I can imagine behaving in exactly the same way under the same circumstances - Ed Balls. Revolting, complacent and supercilious ex-public schoolboys are sadly not the monopoly of any one party. Sometimes I wonder if even Peter Oborne might not be right occasionally in his oddball beliefs.
Many thanks from me (and Mrs Skipper of course)for your good wishes. I agree the story is strange and Mitchell has very unpleasant sides to his nature if the ST profile is to be believed. Hugely unpopular with his fellow MPs one wonders why Dave appointed him to be in charge of their discipline, unless his nickname of 'Thrasher', apparently earned at public school in his enthusiasm for punishing junior boys, was thought to be a qualification for the job. Some reports suggest he was a few sheets to the breeze as well when he made his outburst.

I think the police just want to get a boot into the government after all the cuts they have suffered and that explains their intractable desire to see him sacked or career ruined or whatever.

All in all he and the Tory party deserve each other.

Why Leeds? Well Carolyn, the gorgeous Mrs Skipper, lives here and as I am only working part-time it made sense for me to move over and re3nt out my house in Stockport.
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