Friday 21 December 2012

The true significance of ‘Plebgate’

Yesterday’s Guardian report of Plebgate hinted at the true significance of the story with its headline (“Plebgate rift opens between Tory party and Met police”) but failed to explore this angle further.

The thing that will have lasting significance is not what Andrew Mitchell did or did not say. It is that the Conservative Party has been wounded by the Police Federation’s ham-fisted lobbying campaign and will seek revenge.

Hell hath no fury like a Tory scorned. In 1974, the coal miners brought down Ted Heath’s Tory government. A decade later, Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government destroyed the British coal industry.

This time, the Tories will not destroy the police but they are likely to pursue Tom Winsor’s proposed reforms with renewed vigour. These proposals are what the dispute between the Tories and the Police Federation is really about, since they will have a radical effect on police pay, pensions and working conditions. The government put down a marker several months before Plebgate by making Winsor HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, the first person from outside the police ever to be appointed to the job. Early next year, the Home Secretary will decide whether to implement the Winsor report’s proposals.

It helps to know that the upper classes have never liked the police because there is no officer class like there is in the military. Every police officer has to work his way up from the bottom, so ex-public school boys rarely join the police. One of Winsor’s key recommendations is that there should be direct entry into more senior ranks, which would create a de facto officer class. The Tories will not be satisfied until ‘people like us’ are running the show.


  1. "direct entry into more senior ranks" was proposed under Labour. I think the legislation was actually enacted for Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constables but never implemented for obvious reasons.

  2. I should have signed that post & can't work out how to edit it with that identity.
    My point is that Labour and Coalition policy on many issues including policing are very similar. Kiron Reid.


Please note before commenting: Please read our comments policy (in the right-hand column of this blog). Comments that break this policy will not be accepted. In particular, we insist on everyone using their real, full name. If you have registered with Google using only your first name or a pseudonym, please put your full name at the end of your comment.

Oh, and we are not at home to Mr(s) Angry. Before you comment, read the post in full and any linked content, then pause, make a pot of tea, reflect, deliberate, make another pot of tea, then respond intelligently and courteously.