Chief Whip gets a thrashing.
Yesterday the Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell finally decided enough was enough and cashed in his chips.
Although he says he didn’t call the police “fucking plebs” (and after all, who are we – pesky proletariat – not to believe a politician?) he did the honorable thing and resigned as Chief Whip for, well, not calling the police “fucking plebs”. As one does.
I used to be on the Conservative party mailing list until they really started annoying me. In fact, I think it might actually have been an email from Mitchell, in his former role as Secretary of State for International Development, which finally convinced me to click the “Unsubscribe” button.
This was his email from August 2011:
Today, hundreds of thousands of British Muslims will begin the holy month of Ramadan – a time of fasting, devotion, charity, and care. From sunset to sunrise, they will refrain from eating and drinking, and focus on reflection, self-discipline and prayer.
But for millions of Muslims in the Horn of Africa, this month of fasting will be more than a matter of religious devotion. In Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia people are experiencing the worst humanitarian catastrophe in a generation. Many areas are facing the driest period for sixty years. 10 million people are in desperate need of emergency relief.
In the past few weeks, I have visited the region and was horrified by what I encountered. At one refugee camp in Kenya, I met women who had walked for weeks to reach refuge. Some had been robbed; many had met violence; others had lost children to hunger along the way.
We cannot ignore this appalling situation and I am proud that Britain is leading the way. The government has already provided over £90 million of aid to the region which will provide emergency assistance to more than 2 million people, including access to clean drinking water and treatment for starving children.
But far more is needed urgently. We are vigorously pressing the international community to join us in taking action. We also need to work together as a country, in line with our strong tradition of generosity, and do everything we can to support the DEC Appeal. The British public have already been incredibly supportive but please, as we enter Ramadan, reach into your pockets and give what you can.
Thank you and with all good wishes for Ramadan.
And this was my response:
Hmm, not sure what Ramadan has to do with me or what it has to do with this crisis.
Incidentally, I take it we’re assuming the people affected, even the children, are Muslims because they are of colour and they live in the “Muslim world”.
I sincerely hope many of those affected manage to survive this drought and that they grow healthy and strong, in a world where they actually have the right to choose their religion for themselves, or – dare I say it – to choose no religion.
Happy Ramadan to you, Andrew (or whatever other crap you might believe in).
Religion and politics, such a lovely combination.
He didn’t respond.
Last night the Conservative MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said the Mitchell affair “trivializes politics when there are many important things going on”.
Well in some ways he has a point. The state of the economy, the crisis in Syria, our education system, these are all things that are far more important than what some pompous, aggressive dick on a bike in Downing Street might have said or not have said.
And? Do we stop holding our elected officials to account until we have solved all the world’s financial, political and social problems? No, we try and solve the problems whilst also holding our politicians to account. We can do two things at once, can’t we? We put a man on the moon, for fuck’s sake.
It’s the same attitude which makes thieves complain on arrest that the police should be out catching real criminals like paedophiles and murderers instead. “Quite right, sir, those crimes are far more serious than a bit of theft. Once we’ve caught all those paedophiles and murderers we’ll be back for you. In the meantime, DON’T STEAL!”
Should Mitchell have resigned? I don’t know. Probably, yes. We all have bad days but I really can’t remember the last time I shouted and swore at police officers who were simply doing their job. Probably because I never have.
The thing is, I don’t really care anymore, because he’s gone.
And like Fleas-Bogg says, there are many important things going on.