YouGov’s final Sunday Times poll of the year is online here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 43%, LD 10%, UKIP 8%.

YouGov repeated their semi-regular trust tracker they have asked since 2003. While people in the survey said the Mitchell affair had made them trust the police less, the percentage saying they trusted local police officers was actually almost unchanged – 67% trust local police officers a great deal or a fair amount, typical of all the times YouGov have asked the question in the last few years. There was a slight drop in the proportion of people who trusted senior police officers with 47% of people saying they trusted them. While this is the lowest YouGov have recorded, it is not a significant change from the 49% who said they trusted senior police officers in November.

In contrast the Savile affair does seem to have significantly damaged trust in the BBC. Today’s figures actually show a slight increase in trust in the BBC since YouGov last asked the question at the very height of the Savile affair – now 51% of people say they trust the BBC, compared to 44% a month ago – however this is still a significant fall from the BBC’s 60% trust rating at the start of the year.

Looking at the more specific questions on plebgate, Andrew Mitchell is now narrowly more believed than the police – 31% think Mitchell is telling the truth, 28% the police, 41% don’t know. 43% of people still think that Mitchell probably called the police officer a pleb, but this is a drastic change from September when 69% of people thought he did.

Despite the turnaround in opinion people still think Mitchell was right to resign by 49% to 26%. 29% of people think he should be offered another government job, 40% think he should not. Even if Mitchell’s own version of events is proven to be true, many people think that should be a resigning matter anyway – asked about Mitchell’s admitted version of events, where he said to the officer “I thought you lot were supposed to f—— help us”, 38% of people still think this would be a resigning matter, 44% do not.


169 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 43, LD 10, UKIP 8”

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  1. Ann

    He didn’t, it was an plain clothes policeman who had just arrived back from Switzerland where he had extensive cosmetic surgery to make him look like Mitchell. This man is presently being kept in a safe house in case he is needed again

  2. Richard,Oh well,that explains it then!

  3. Anthony

    I realise that the distinction between “main” and “minor” parties is pragmatic, not theoretically based.

    However, do you have any ideas as to what level of support would result in your relegating a “main” party to “minor” status?

    I’m particularly thinking of the Lib-Dems in Scotland, when you conduct Scotland only polls (as I hope you will be doing at some point again).

  4. For all I know, and many Tories seem to bear witness to its likely truth, Mitchell may well be a deeply unpleasant man and, from an entirely human perspective, you can possibly understand police officers overreacting to being treated obnoxiously, but giving false witness and falsifying a police incident form can’t be justified. If the police lose the public’s trust then our whole criminal justice system and, conceivably, our entire democracy is brought into question. Already, so I’m told, juries are far more sceptical about police evidence presented to them in trials and, if so, it may well become ever more difficult to convict the guilty. I don’t think May’s reforms are the answer one way or the other, they seem more concerned with the bureaucratic and organisational to me, but a change in the culture of the police is urgently required. That can only come about over time and with principled leadership.

    As for the politics of plebgate, and this YouGov poll provides some telling supportive evidence, it’s reminded us all of the lingering toxicity of the Tory brand. It only took a Cabinet Minister getting his bike clips in a twist in Downing Street, a few lurid Sun headlines about Plebs, and the public quickly believed the worst about Mitchell and his party. Snobbery, arrogance, haughty disdain, bullying and aloofness; all potential daggers to the heart of what Cameron is trying to do with the image his party, yet a seam of political gold for Miliband.

    So, expect to hear an awful lot more references to fox hunts, country suppers and the Bullingdon Club between now and May 2015. Plebgate has shown us that these images chime with the electorate’s misgivings about the Tory leadership in particular and the party in general.

  5. “Snobbery, arrogance, haughty disdain, bullying and aloofness”. The public may well see these as characteristic of Tory Politicians and it may well be that they are true of some of them. Personally I doubt if it is true of all and analogous charges (e.g. of bullying) have been thrown at MPs of other parties. What I personally suspect is a more insidious danger is a failure of imagination. Why did Cameron and Osborne fail to use their experience from the Bullingdon days in their analysis of the mayhem characteristic of the riots? And how far does Osborne’s gut reaction to our current economic woes simply follow that of those with whom he is most likely to mix?

  6. If there was a “conspiracy”, the police are unlikely to have acted on their own initiative. Has no one considered the possibility that others “encouraged” the police to inflate the story to get rid of AM, because he would not resign initially and tried to hang on to his job? At least in this country such people are not usually disposed of in a traffic accident or other “incident”.

  7. AW
    Yes i do remember very well reading that (thank you) and I also remember thinking that it was a form of polling arrogance. You (that’s ‘you’ :-) know that some people in an FPTP election will not vote for a ‘minor’ party because it’s a wasted vote. So you angle the questionnaire to that end.

    I suppose one would have to have two questions, ‘who would you rather vote for’ and ‘who are you probably going to vote for in your constituency’ (always assuming anything sensible as an answer could result from that one).

    In other words the question is posed as if we had PR (but of course presuming, essentially, that the ‘minor’ parties would never reach the minimum vote).

    Never mind, we know what each other is talking about. I just don’t like it, that’s all.

  8. StatGeek:

    I don’t think it’s partisan to think it was right for him to resign; had the story been the same with a Lab MP I would be more reluctant, true, but I’d want them to step down over it. I think though that this sort of story grew because it was a Con MP and that played into stereotypes (whether true or perceived).

    As for Ms Abbot I would gladly see her step down, even if just for the pathetic attempt at a leadership run. Hopefully a real contender will come into the ring sometime (I’m looking at you Oona!).

  9. CrossBat11

    And yet, and yet, it didn’t work in the Crewe by-election did it?

    Perhaps the fact that the candidate was the daughter of the previous incumbent was a worse concept for voters. Another sort of arrogance.

  10. Amber-thanks for a clearly heartfelt post.

    When I saw your inclusion of Ian Tomlinson, my initial reaction was -that’s different-that was a cop who liked hitting people , doing it to a man with a heart condition, with fatal consequences.
    Nothing to do with fabricating evidence.

    But on reflection I think you were right to refer to that case . My memory tells me that Constable Simon Harwood was revealed , not only to have had a history of violent behaviour-but to have constantly been re-instated to the Police Force, in spite of it.

    So there you have a common theme-arrogant & unaccountable. The closed society which Rob Sheffield describes as “essentially untouchable and proverbially a ‘law unto themselves’;”

    I agree too that ” it has been ingrained over many years that we should take the word of the police “.

    In that context the deepest irony of all is the demands -on live tv- by the Police Federation , that until Mitchell apologised for the things which THEY asserted he had said-the “integrity” of the Police was being questioned !

    I have thought a lot about what Mitchell actually said he said-ie ” I thought you lot were supposed to F’ing help us”.
    Shorn of the words which the police record accuses him of using, that phrase actually becomes quite familiar.

    It is the phrase -or words to it’s general effect-which pass through the minds, and mouths of thousands when confronted by the inflexible mindset of public officialdom.:-

    No you can’t.

    No I won’t

    You will just have to wait.

    Because that’s the way “it” works.

    Because I say so.

    …….because you have nowhere else to go , so I don’t have to bother.

    The police merely join the ranks of such tin pot dictators if they lose the respect which caused us to take their word.

  11. @ Howard

    “I suppose one would have to have two questions, ‘who would you rather vote for’ and ‘who are you probably going to vote for in your constituency’ (always assuming anything sensible as an answer could result from that one).
    In other words the question is posed as if we had PR (but of course presuming, essentially, that the ‘minor’ parties would never reach the minimum vote).
    Never mind, we know what each other is talking about. I just don’t like it, that’s all”

    On this theme I actually have a sneaky feeling that pollsters may well be find there is a discrepancy with the LD vote in 2015.

    Obviously a number of 2010 LD’s have deserted the party for Lab in protest at the coalition. There anger is no doubt genuinely held. The open question remains how will such voters behave in seats which are strictly Con v LD contests with Lab a distant third.

    My theory is that a goodly number will insist to pollsters (and indeed feel quite strongly) right up until the 2015 campaign that they intend to switch from LD to Lab… but when placed in front of a ballot box with the FPTP realities of their seat will with great reluctance put a X alongside the LD candidate.

    We’ll see…but it would be a good example of how FPTP can distort polling outcomes. By the way perhaps this situation plays more advantageously to the ICM methodology rather than the YouGov one.

  12. @GRHINPORTS

    Your post (the logic of which I accept) should not be seen as one which seeks to minimise LD misery by claiming that ICM is right and others wrong. I am sure you didn’t mean it to be.

    It’s just that I question whether comparing polls (consolidating them even) who placed their questions before voters in various ways, is valid.

    Apples and pears. If we had five YGs on the go simultaneously, one could take the average. You can’t average YG and ICM.

  13. Amber

    Ambigious too

    “Remember, the last man to have been hanged in Britain died, not because he murdered anybody but because police officers claimed that he had uttered words of encouragement to his friend!”

    “Let him have it!”

    The gun (which the policeman was asking for), or the bullet?

  14. @ Colin

    Thank you for having the patience to read my long comment which covered a lot of connected issues.

  15. It’s hard to know where to begin, so perhaps I shouldn’t bother. But you know me better than that…

    It is certainly true that some police officers distort their evidence in some cases. When I have seen it happen it is usually far more often a question of “over simplifying” rather than outright lying, although that happens as well. I would argue (22 years in) that this is probably happening less now than it ever has.

    Having had a great deal of experience of the general public I’d also add that police officers are amongst the most honest people I’ve met. Witnesses and suspects, not to mention some lawyers, are seething pools of falsehood by comparison.

    Lots of huge assumptions are being made, and conclusions jumped to. Classical rhethorical devices are being deployed, such as referring to “The Police Federation” when in fact the over the top attacks on Mitchell came from a particular spokesman in the West Midlands. The Federation itself was quite restrained. It was widely felt within the police that the West Mids spokesman was going much too far in his criticism, and ultimately harming the overall case that police officers were trying to make.

    There are 130,000 (and falling) police officers in the UK, who between them tackle hundreds of thousands of incidents, confrontations and situations every week around the country. Some of them are, inevitably, ****heads and even those that are good, honest officers may occasionally have a slip up.

    Colin wants the police to be reformed. Let me tell you we are reformed constantly, and the Federation has been calling for a Royal Commission on policing for as long as I can remember. We are about to be “reformed” again, in the sense of having the pay of recruits cut so drastically that they will earn substantially less than PCSOs, and provisions for compulsory severance introduced, all whilst still having no trade union representation or industrial rights.

    Amber (and others) wants us not to trust what the police are saying when we sit on juries. I just hope, Amber, that you are never the victim of a crime that goes to trial because you’re advocating a recipe that under current law would render the pursuit for justice virtually impossible.

    UK police officers are amongst the most honest, and amongst the least violent, in the entire world. We have many faults, of course, but we don’t steal from houses where we’ve put out a fire, we don’t let patients on our wards starve to death, and we don’t massacre our elderly patients with morphine.

    The full truth of the Mitchell incident has yet to come out. I’d be astonished if the “email incident” turns out to be part of any kind of conspiracy. I expect the officer probably had a look at, or heard the details of, the police log, and decided to weigh in. There is even some question about the way Channel Four’s CCTV material was presented.

    As for the idea that the original log was some sort of conspiracy, I think that’s fantastical. There was clearly a verbal altercation between Mitchell and the officers. It may be that both sides simply remember it differently. That happens in virtually every case I can recall. In fact, if ever two witnesses have an identical recollection I as an investigator become very sceptical.

    The best solution to the problem is police body cameras, which are/were being trialled in some areas. Devon and Cornwall’s experiment with them in Plymouth was very successful but was cancelled due to budget cuts.

    Finally I’d add that police morale is fairly close to breaking point at the moment. By the end of the “reform process” most officers will have had their real terms income cut by over 10% – along with a range of other “changes”, all of them negative. Be careful lest your rage against us winnows us down to the penniless, savage and cynical mob we were in the 1960s and 1970s.

  16. @ Steve

    I am not of course going to say corruption and fit ups don’t happen of course they do, I personally have never witnessed any but the evidence stacks up that they do upon occasion take place.
    ——————-
    Fair enough; but the evidence also stacks up that police officers & their federation ‘close ranks’ against the public interest when ‘one of their own’ needs support.

    If you did personally witness or become aware of a fellow officer behaving in a way which was below the standards which I believe you set for yourself, what would you do? Help him/ her out? Or tell the truth as you see it? Or choose the ‘wise monkey’ middle path?

  17. I believed the police at first but now realizing they lied i think mitchell should get his job back. i dont think you should lose your job from someone elses lies

  18. @ Neil A

    Amber (and others) wants us not to trust what the police are saying when we sit on juries. I just hope, Amber, that you are never the victim of a crime that goes to trial because you’re advocating a recipe that under current law would render the pursuit for justice virtually impossible.
    ——————————
    I merely said that we should stay awake whilst serving on a jury; that was a plea for people to be open-minded & consider all the evidence; i.e. asking oneself whether the polices’ version of events is credible & unambiguous! You would prefer that we did not do that? That we simply take the polices’ version on “trust”! Quite frankly, I find that frightening. I’d formed an impression of you as one of the ‘good guys’.

    You have simply shredded your own credibility with the above quoted paragraph. Your interpretation is such a blatant mischaracterization of what I actually wrote that it makes me even more concerned about our police service!

  19. Has the world ended yet? Its hard to tell.

    ps MinM:

    I think you shoud send your suggestion re Mr Mitchell direct to the PM.

  20. @Amber,

    My apologies. When you quote back your actual paragraph I do realise I stretched my reaction too far.

  21. The worse thing about the British police is you can’t bribe them, in Mexico I used to bribe the police all the time cos I was driving without a licence and without window wipers. In Guatemala I got caught with some stuff but a 30 min chat on the differences between various police forces and “accidently” dropping my wallet and forgetting to put all the money back in when I picked it up again, and problem solved. Try that in the UK and you would be handcuffed in seconds, we should do something about it, like maybe pay them less

  22. Am I the only one who thinks Mitchell resigned to save Osborne getting tarred with the plebgate brush, as Osborne was found out travelling first class and refusing to pay for it.

  23. Sorry, I find all this rehashing of the plebgate thing incredibly boring, I’m surprised that wasn’t an option in the polling

  24. RiN

    I feel as if the end of the worlld has happened and I’m a some sort of hell where all people can remember is plebgate and we are doomed to discuss it for ever

  25. @ Neil A

    Thank you, it is genuinely reassuring that you went back & re-examined the ‘evidence’.

    I have a good opinion of the majority of the police despite my ex-husband having been wrongly charged with assault when he’d actually been defending himself from an attack. The sheriff found me to be a more credible witness than the officers (who’d arrived during the incident & hadn’t seen everything which happened) so the charges were dismissed.

    I have also had occasion to help the police. I provided information which resulted in the arrest of a man whom they considered to be dangerous. He pleaded guilty to having attacked a woman & to having seriously wounded a police officer.

    I think the best way to describe my position is: I want a police service which the public can trust, not one which we take on trust. I think that’s what most police officers would want too.

  26. Richard

    Didn’t you ever think of offering one of them a column in the Times? (the Sun for ranks of Inspector and below).

  27. @Howard

    “And yet, and yet, it didn’t work in the Crewe by-election did it?”

    But the “it” was never going to work in the Crewe by-election in May 2008, was it? Some 20% or more behind in most polls at the time and only days after the infamous 10p national income tax band fiasco broke, Labour could have run the slickest and most effective campaign in by-election history and still lost by a country mile. The fact that they compounded their woes with a ludicrous and ham-fisted attempt to portray the Tory candidate as a lightweight toff was irrelevant. That was then and this is now.

    What’s going on now from the opposition, and this is far more potentially lethal for the Government, is the orchestrated political exploitation of a growing perception that this is a Government made up largely of people who don’t lead the lives, and never have done, of the vast majority of those that they purport to represent and govern. That’s got nothing to with pantomime Toffs, although fox hunts, country suppers and public school dinner clubs are useful and easily understood metaphors. A much more serious political point is being addressed now.

    A point, incidentally, that the easily ridiculed, yet smarter than you think, Nadine Dorries made not long ago. If the public think that they’re being governed by an out of touch elite, and not a very competent elite at that, then an electoral comeuppance lies in wait. If difficult medicine is being administered by a sympathetic doctor then the patient is more likely to take it. This Government’s Achilles heel is that it comes across as a collection of largely unsympathetic characters who are desperately difficult to warm to. Polls corroborate this and I’m afraid Mr Mitchell has added himself to the growing rogue’s gallery. In some ways, and this is where I have a smidgeon of sympathy for him, he was just another, albeit more vividly publicised, example of what the public think they already know about the innate character of this Government. That’s why what it is alleged he did, even if it turns out to be untrue, was so easily believed.

  28. Everybody has it wrong. Plebgate is nothing to do with plebs. Nor politics. It’s yet another manifestation of the longstanding hatred of HMC towards cyclists. Mitchell’s sin was cycling, as was Charles’ friend in the very sad post early in this thread.

    As my own contribution, I copy’n’paste below a note I wrote 18 years ago following one of a series of police vs cyclist events. This is a true verbatim account (and a damn sight more accurate than most police notebooks, I’ll warrant). [apologies for the loss of formatting, which added to the expressiveness of the report].

    Happy Christmas one and all….

    Notes on Conversing with Her Majesty’s Constable

    Twenty minutes later; 11.53pm; Friday 21st October 1994.

    SCENE: CENTRAL WORTHING. TURNING OUT TIME. ALL PEACE, SWEETNESS, AND LIGHT. PLACE CRAWLING WITH HM CONSTABULARY: WHITE MARIAS, JAM SANDWICHES, DEFENDERS OF THE PEACE BY THE BOATLOAD. TROUBLE PRESUMABLY ENVISAGED, BUT NONE IN VIEW.

    Herr Schickelgruber (for it is he): you again!

    (Stage direction: Herr S is middle aged, grizzled, probably very good to his wife and kids, but otherwise hates the world and all it contains. I suspect he has a massive chip on his shoulder for never getting beyond PC after so many millennia. Young constable alongside looks sheepish; for dramatic effect he should be called Hitler Youth, but that would probably be unfair).

    Me: (removing walkman headphones) yes.

    (Stage direction: brain says play it straight; 60% of heart wants to burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation; 40% of the heart wants to pan his silly little head in. Manage with some struggle against both elements – particularly first – to let head rule heart).

    Herr S: I stopped you a few weeks ago and told you not to ride on the precinct.

    (Thinks: Two weeks, actually. And the order was an afterthought; the real offence was that I failed to kowtow).

    Me: Yes.

    Herr S: I am reporting this offence (removes notebook from pocket). Name…

    Exchange ensues of name, date of birth, address, how long I’ve lived here, and occupation. Last two appear irrelevant, but are answered nonetheless. All is purely factual, save for the snide “Oh that’s impressive isn’t it” from Herr S in response to “computer systems manager”.

    Herr S: I’m not going to caution you; I’m going to recommend prosecution. Anything you say will be written down and may be used against you. Do you understand this?

    Me: Yes.

    Herr S: Have you anything to say?

    Me: No.

    (Stage direction: Cycle on. Think: he could possibly book me for causing an obstruction for parking my bike against a bench; possibly book me for drunk-in-charge of a bike (though certainly not for drunk-and-disorderly, let alone drunk-and-incapable); possibly book me for cycling without due care and attention, given that I was wearing a walkman. But no; cycling on a precinct is all Herr S’s imagination runs to. Look forward with great anticipation to magistrates court (with press in attendance); see my closing speech now: “It is highly gratifying to live in such a law-abiding town; wonderful to know that a squadron of twenty or more Constables are arrayed apecifically for the purpose of nabbing errant cyclists, there being nothing more serious for them to concern themselves with. Cautions are for drug takers. Cautions are for first-offence GBH. Cautions are for theft of bicycles. But, for cycling 20 yards on an empty precinct: nothing but prosecution will suffice. Sir, I have used a great deal of irony here. I mean no disrepect to your court, and apologise if anything has been taken amiss. I do, however, mean the greatest possible disrespect to the prize prats who brought me here in the first place”. I doubt, however, such a felicitous outcome: if the kid PC doesn’t talk him out of it, the sarge no doubt will; and failing that the Crown Prosecution Service surely have better things to do with public money).

  29. STEVE COBERMAN

    Sad that criminals go to such lengths to protest their innocence of their evil behaviour.

    10 years on the treadmill would hugely strengthen your leg muscles for better velocipede riding in future.

    The state always has your best interests in mind!

  30. @Steve Coberman

    Wittily put but, I’ve got to be honest, just the sort of righteously aggrieved tosh that I read almost every week in the letters column of my local newspaper.

    “There I was, minding my own business, acting in a totally reasonable way when this bleedin’ jobsworth had the gall to pull me over. I pay my taxes, doff my cap to the royal family (now called “doing the right thing and playing by the rules”, I believe) yet here I am getting nicked for just going about my peaceful and lawful business. Why aren’t these police chasing the real criminals down on the council estates rather than coming after solid citizens like me……….blah de blah de blah)”

    Neil A may comment further but I suspect a lot of coppers have to deal with pretty objectionable diamond geezers and solid citizens on an almost daily basis!

  31. Neil A

    Had you got better by the 80s?

  32. I ask because in my South Yorkshire neck of the woods, there were some rather morally questionable (sod it: let’s call a spade a spade – “illegal”) things going on by the police in some rather high profile events.

  33. @Crossbat

    I don’t disagree with you at all. The note was written 18 years ago by me, for me, and not for public consumption.

    I just put it in here, with tongue firmly in cheek, for a bit of Christmas light entertainment.

    And actually, in the 18 years since, I’ve come to have a little human sympathy for Herr S. He may have been an objectionable jobsworth, but at least he was acting on his own initiative. In the years since, we have had the ever-accelerating growth of a defensive box-ticking culture in both public and private sectors, which explicitly prevents personal decision-making in the interests of minimising the risk of being sued.

    The world consists of people. And people always have and always will make mistakes. No amount of “processes” will ever alter that fact, and process-driven defensiveness merely lowers the likelihood of good being done.

  34. @Neil A

    “UK police officers are amongst the most honest, and amongst the least violent, in the entire world. We have many faults, of course, but we don’t steal from houses where we’ve put out a fire, we don’t let patients on our wards starve to death, and we don’t massacre our elderly patients with morphine.”

    I understand you being sensitive to some of the more intemperate attacks on your profession that you’ve read on these pages, but you must know, possibly not when you wrote these words in anger but certainly now in retrospect, that they are appalling examples of generalising from the particular in order to impugn whole organisations; the very tactic that some are using now with their criticism of the police.

  35. NEILA

    @” By the end of the “reform process” most officers will have had their real terms income cut by over 10% – along with a range of other “changes”, all of them negative. ”

    Well who hasn’t?
    And to make real comparisons of degrees of pain, you need to compare starting points.

    @”Be careful lest your rage against us winnows us down to the penniless, savage and cynical mob we were in the 1960s and 1970s.”

    That sounds like some sort of threat.

  36. I have been in contact with the police twice in recent years.

    Once in a case of admitted damage to my wife’s parked car, the other driver’s mother threatened to make an unjustified complaint to the police about my wife.

    The policeman happened to know the woman, and ‘phoned her. He was a very personable young man and to see how he charmed these two old ladies was hilarious.

    In the other case, a break in, the policeman ‘phoned his father in law (a joiner) who came round and fixed the damage and was gone in less than half an hour with no charge.

    Simon Guilfoyle http://inspguilfoyle.wordpress.com/
    would be impressed.

    He is a blogger who writes about his experiences about e.g. buying a pie, which unless you are in the police you won’t realise are parables about police management systems.

  37. Why are the NRA so careless of children’s lives? All those yellow school buses are natural targets for the crazed killers that hang around every grassy knoll in the USA?

    Surely every school bus needs an escort of M1A2 Abrams tanks?

  38. @ Old Nat

    The NRA plans to develop a school emergency response program that would use volunteers from the group’s 4.3 million members to help guard children. It has named Asa Hutchinson, a former Republican congressman for Arkansas, as national director of the program. Hutchinson said local districts should make decisions about armed guards in schools.
    ————————-
    What could possibly go wrong when an amateur posse of gun ‘nuts’ are responding to an emergency call from a school?

  39. I’m not sure that we’re learning much from “Plebgate II – Revenge of the Posh Boys” except that the tiny percentage of those that care about these things (such as us) are only too willing to fall for whatever the latest spin is, according to the collective politico-media wisdom (this week’s version). The echoing sound is because its collective head is permanently stuck in its collective rectum.

    If you actually look at the facts of the case very little has changed. Calling someone a “pleb” was never a criminal offence; fibbing about where you got a juicy bit of information isn’t either. Yet somehow there has been a massive turnaround and “evil man making dreadful threats against our boys in blue” has become “poor innocent victim conspired against by evil men in blue”. People who would be the first to denounce “loony-left conspiracy theories” are now busy making up their own without even the plausible profit-seeking Big Business villains that the Left has – I suppose there’s always the Freemasons.

    All that has happened is that behaviour that was deemed completely unforgivable a few weeks back is now though perfectly OK – and if not they probably made him do it. There is no reason for this except that the Westminster choir has changed the hymn sheet and, for some one reason, usually sensible people on both political sides feel obliged to go along with it.

    Heaven knows the tabloids will often decide to re-assign some X-factor or Big Brother contestant from pantomime hero to pantomime villain (or vice versa). But they usually manage to drag up more convincing reasons than we’re seeing here.

  40. @ Anthony Wells’s web-administrator.

    All I want for Christmas is my eye-rolling smiley back!

  41. Amber

    Oh! Come on! You have been in the USA, and seen these vehicles which are specially identified as carrying innocent children, and yet we don’t need tank driving nuts protecting them on their way to and from their security camps?

    Bunch of pathetic wimps in the NRA!

  42. Amber

    Anthony and his vigilante web administrators are probably too busy gunning down subversive smiley users – keep a low profile!

  43. @ Old Nat

    …subversive smiley users – keep a low profile!
    ————-
    ROFLOL!

  44. Looks like the “revenge of the plebgate” is a blue on blue horror movie. The plotline is that the fibbing policemen conspired with no 10 to remove Mitchell from office thereby weakening the powerbase of David Davis. Though an alternative plotline has been suggested, that David Davis has reopened this can of worms in a move to destabilize DC and hopefully become Tory leader and prime minister, no word yet on who’s he’s conspiring with!!! I can see a sequel in the making already “the shortest suicide note in history”

  45. Amber

    ROF – superb! :-)

  46. Regarding Plebgate,a police officer decided to pose as a member of the public based on something he`s seen or heard.Is it such a big deal and does it prove anything that Mitchell said or din`t say?I think no in either case and find it odd that people think there`s a systematic conspiracy.

    I am still of the opinion that Mitchell shouldn`t have resigned for what was a momentary loss of temper.And the UK police are far,far better than the police forces that one encounters in the developing world.

  47. @ Howard

    “Apples and pears. If we had five YGs on the go simultaneously, one could take the average. You can’t average YG and ICM.”

    Indeed, I agree. Furthermore I make no claim as to which of YouGov’s or ICM’s methodology is “right” as such.

    I just ponder whether ICM has chosen the way they are doing things to cover precisely the scenario I outlined above.

  48. I think Mitchell shoud have been sacked for that cabaret spoof he did that was featured on the news when the story first broke. Or sectioned.

    Or shot.

    Happy xmas… it’ll soon be all over.[xmas, if not the world]

  49. Given that it’s almost Christmas couldn’t we have a few more positive stories about the police of the kind given by John B Dick? Surely there must be a lot? (Like in my case women police officers giving up their free weekends to look for missing girls they thought might be in trouble in the nearest big city?).

    Actually I suspect that the real difficulty for the police is that they have to keep good order in situations where they are (even in twos and with radios) likely to be hopelessly outnumbered. In such situations respect must be all. Lose that and chaos reigns (ask any secondary school teacher in an inner city).

    So if one is duly submissive one gets away with murder (or almost) but if one isn’t one attracts the full force of the law. Sadly for Mr Mitchell he had never had to learn this basic lesson. Hopefully he will be the better man for it but it doesn’t sound as if he is taking things this way. (Trying it on again at the gates, sounds suspiciously like cycling again in a precinct after being warned).

    (And if the police participants on this site have not gone off for Christmas I would like to know how far I am right).

  50. @Charles

    Good point and I have to say that my instinct is to side with an on duty bobby rather than a self-righteous and pompous politician. I also go with the gist of Neil A’s argument about the good far outweighing the bad and having listened to a friend of mine who emigrated to Thailand ten years ago talk about the ingrained corruption of the Thai police, then we should probably count our blessings in this country. That said, we shouldn’t become blase or complacent either and there is nothing wrong in demanding the very highest ethical standards from our Police.

    My final thought on all this is along the lines of Lefty Lampton’s typically pithy observation about the irony of the Right’s current attack on the police. It seems to have taken the case of an allegedly wronged Tory Cabinet Minister for them to turn on them. When the boys in blue were fitting up scousers and miners, or crushing heads at the Poll Tax riots, I seem to recall that that the very mention of the words “our wonderful police force” used to guarantee a standing ovation at every Tory Conference!

    How times have changed. Now the Police have taken their place alongside the BBC, the trade unions, the EU and the civil service in the Right’s pantheon of villains.

    Oh, and not forgetting the good old Labour Party, of course! They too have played their part in the ruination of all that’s great and good in our benighted country! lol

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