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Oh dear, Mr Mitchell, you really don’t want the people looking after you offside you know

Posted on 21 September 2012 | 9:09am

Remember the launch of Labour’s manifesto in 2001? No? Ok, well if I say ‘do you remember John Prescott thumping the bloke with a mullet hair cut?’ and possibly ‘do you remember Sharon Storer, the woman who took Tony Blair to task outside a Birmingham hospital?’ you might recall it better.

But there was a third mishap that day, of the three probably the least remembered, but at the time the one TB was most concerned about, namely then Home Secretary Jack Straw being slow-handclapped by the Police Federation. Not for the first time, TB said ‘if there is one group of people you don’t want offside during an election, it’s the cops.’

That thought came to mind as Fiona and I were leaving the Olympic Park during the Paralympics, and a uniformed on-duty machine-gun-toting police officer came up to me and said ‘can I ask you to do me a favour?’ Of course, I said, thinking he might want a book for his Mum, a ticket for a Burnley match when we next play in London, or a speaker for a cops’ night out. He leaned towards me and said ‘please, please, do whatever you can to get these f—ing c—s out.’

We had a neighbour’s teenage children with us and they, along with several other people in the immediate vicinity, were taken aback, as was I. It is not uncommon for strangers to come up to me and talk politics, and in recent weeks I have found teachers in particular wanting to let off steam about the government.

But this was real venom. There were two main reasons he gave. The first was pensions, and the feeling that the government’s planned reforms are unfair and will seriously impact on the standard of living of public servants. The second was that the Prime Minister had visited earlier in the week, and he and others charged with looking after him had been struck by an arrogance they had not detected from watching him on TV. It was a charge backed up by colleagues who had spent more time with the PM than this one chance assignment.

So we chatted away, and others joined in before the police officer decided he had made his point, said thanks for listening and headed off.

And now, courtesy of The Sun, we hear of a rather unpleasant encounter between government chief whip Andrew Mitchell and police guarding Downing Street. My experience of the many cops in and around Number 10 was that if you were nice to them, they were nice to you. As a result, it was usually possible to park where you shouldn’t, get tipped off if there were media hanging around you wanted to avoid, and get let in when you’d forgotten a pass, including via entrances not normally used.

It would appear that Mr Mitchell, who to his credit prefers his bike to a chauffeur driven government car, was prevented from cycling out through the main gates, the police insisting he go out as a pedestrian through the side gate. He disputes calling them ‘plebs’ but does not dispute the loss of temper and the nature of a discussion suggesting that they should know their place.

The chief whip requires good politics as well as robustness. This suggests more of the latter than the former. He has reportedly been given a dressing down by the PM and is going to make a face to face apology to the officer who bore the brunt of his outburst.

But the damage is done, and in their own quiet way, the police are likely to exact a price. The man in the Olympic Park was not a lone voice, but one of many feeling undervalued, looked down upon rather than seen as a member of the team. ‘All in this together?’ Perhaps not. If there is one group of people you don’t want offside during an election, it’s the cops, or the teachers, or the nurses, or the doctors, or the public. Every time the government alienates someone working for them, the ripples fan out, and eventually they meet other ripples, which become a flood.

  • @OWStirling

    Well, if the police and other public servants don’t like government decisions affecting them, maybe they should’ve been born to the correct parents and gone to the correct school. Not everyone can be born to rule, after all.

  • pc anon!

    Thank you for these words!

  • Richard

    Your delight at quoting the foul mouthed yob dressed in a police uniform astounds me. (He would be a good man at the G8 conference if a pedestrian did no do what he was told, or indeed if he was on the streets of Tottenham or Brixton and encountered “the enemy”.)
    Louts like him destroy the credibility of the police force and your blog in admiration is pathetic. In public, on duty, and carrying a machine gun behaving in such a way is loathsome, and you should know it.
    If such louts are policing Downing St, then PLEBS they bloody well are!

  • Anonymous

    John, sharing an egg between themselves? of course I, at least, do. Pints are still bought for that bloke in his local, I have heard. He read too much into the Daily Mail spiel, as well as overbought eggs by mistake that week from his corner shop.

    The point, ah yes the point. I like coppers, out of their kit – very funny fellas, but they can only take so much piss taken out of. As I said, after their marching up and down with their helmets on at their boot camp, and salute with their trucheons to senior officers, they are taught peelite principles, which, sadly, is less reflective how they are told to perform on the actual today beat, in their early years.

    It is as seems the psychos amongst them put up with bizarre orders as constables, then get promoted to senior positions…

    Who was that idiot that was in charge when that brazillian electrician got shot in London Bridge, or was it Walerloo? Jessica Trill or something. Shows the psycho numbnuts get promoted from both sexes.

  • Trip

    Epic timing with the deaths of two WPCs still reverberating across the country. Clearly shows how little this government cares about anything or anyone but themselves. Id challenge the severity of the rebuke given by the PM too.

  • Mel

    They’re a one-term government. They know this and their post-government plans have nothing to do with ‘plebs’.

  • ambrosian

    Many years ago I was told an anecdote about a Tory N. Ireland Secretary of State who, at his English home, would not allow his bodyguards to have a fag break in the driveway of his home and made them go out on to the public road. According to my source, one of them said ‘and this bloke expects me to take a bullet for him.’
    It’s the height of stupidity to annoy those whose job is to protect you, just as it is to be rude to waiters whose methods of revenge are legendary.

  • Gilliebc

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there ambrosian. It is indeed the height of stupidity. Andrew Mitchell’s petulant and downright rude comments to the police on duty in Downing Street, just serves to confirm what most of us knew already about the way they really think about us plebs! Even if it turns out that he didn’t actually use the word ‘plebs’ the damage is done.

  • Michele

    OMG I hope my imagination’s worse than the actual!

  • Anonymous

    Cressida something? What the fuck is a name called Cressida? Who in hell would name their child that? Sounds quite hippy to me….

  • Michele

    I agree that the words are awful but I think the day in question was the very one that May passed on the maze-like changes she and they (her fellow *spit* members) are making to the contracts of employment upon which people joined a SERVICE, a service in which they agree to never, ever, strike and a service in which they know they are being spat upon by people who are making no changes to their own contracted entitlements.

    That means the officer in question would have had no chance yet to look at the ‘info’ and no chance even to talk to colleagues and let off steam in any other way.

    Don’t drag in the lonely neglected bloke being cleared away from a street he himself had been a 30mins obstruction on btw, that’s opportunistic garbage but SO very cheap and typical of you.

    The Met happen to have been put on 14hr(MIN) shifts x 6/7 for more than three months around the Olympics.

    No negotiation, no ‘is that OK with you chaps and chappesses and your families and their school holidays?’.
    Imposed, enforced.

    Great, overtime pay you might retort in your oh so smartrrrrs way (not so great if it becomes so much it attracts higher rate taxes for Officers with no dependents and so is not as valuable as it sounds).
    Setting an example?

    Whose turn is it to do that?

  • Michele

    ………………………… “they should know their place…………………..”


  • During the general election of 2010 the manner of Gordon Brown became a big issue as we all remember. The papers were full of it and of course there was Rawnsley’s book.

    I never knew how much of it to believe but I do think that being a prime minister would be massively stressful and probably not likely to bring out the best in us when we are in the office with our workmates.

    The current prime minister does not seem to be subject to the same kind of press interest in how he deals with with people on a day to day basis. The indications are quite strong that he is not a likeable person in these situations, but of course I don’t know this, just as I don’t know about the reality of Gordon Brown.

    What I have observed however is that whereas Brown was subject to enormous press scrutiny and negative speculation by the press, Cameron seems to be completely left alone.

    I think that many of Cameron’s problems with people like Nadine D. and others might well be that they just can’t stand him. However no press investigation into this possible unlikeability is underway. Had Brown been receiving unveiled attacks on his personality by back benchers you can be sure that a relentless and unending investigation by the press would be well underway. However with Cameron the press seems to just ignore these indicators of problems, instead preferring to speculate on relationships between the two Eds in the Labour party, or more amazingly, consider if Ed M. is not good looking enough to be a PM.

    Maybe Andrew Rawnsley is writing another book now? If he is I suggest the title “The Party Never Began”.

  • Dave Simons

    One of the principal characteristics of the police is that they have to deal with us, the general public, as part of the job, and like anyone else whose work entails that – nurses, bus drivers, library counter staff, social services front-line staff, retail assistants, etc. etc. – we, the general public, can be a demanding, self-centred and utterly stupid bunch of (I nearly said ‘nutters’) very challenging individuals. Consequently we make what often seems like simple work very complicated and it takes its toll in terms of daily stress for those who have the thankless task of dealing with us. Add to that the constant and almost systematic belittling and morale-sinking attitudes taken towards the front-line rank and file by people of Andrew Mitchell status (remember Ken Clarke talking about ambulance men as being like ‘taxi drivers’, an insult to two occupations) and it’s hardly surprising that they sometimes break out of their professional codes of conduct and sound like ‘foul-mouthed yobs’. Not you though Dick – I sometimes wonder that you don’t just clap your lily-white wings and fly up to Heaven!

  • Liberalreform

    Perhaps he’s as much a lout as Mitchell appears to have been Richard, no excuse for either of them. It all comes from the top remember, Cameron shouldn’t accept this behaviour but neither should the Commissioner.

  • Michele

    You’re meaning Cressida Dick (who is back in office) and
    He happened to have the misfortune to live in the same building as one of the three would-be bombers that had failed with their deposits at Stockwell tube station the day before (2 weeks after the bombs in Central London on 7th July.
    He came out of that building and boarded a bus that went a mile or so, passing three overground stations and did not dismount.
    He did dismount at Brixton tube station, he must have forgotten it had been closed for building works for several months.
    He did not go behind it to the overground station, instead he got on another bus and went to the next underground station …. Stockwell of all places. He seemed determined to travel by underground!
    We know what happened next, some of us have formed our opinions from the ‘witness’ statements from traumatised passengers outside the station during the afternoon, interviewed by the Standard and TV/radio.
    Some of us haven’t.
    Why was he so confused, panicky and jerky?
    He was later discovered to be an illegal immigrant who also happened to be in a cocaine hangover and late for work.

    Sod all that eh?
    None of it makes him deserving of death, neither does it make him your useful tool so don’t use him.

  • Speaking of ‘epic timing’, need I say Hillsborough…..

  • Richard

    Not so long ago I went to a pub where the entire area round the door was covered in detritus, fag butts and ash, because the bastard politicians would not let the people smoke in the pub. The landlord, who was not a former NI secretary, subsequently asked smokers to go onto the footpath and to stop ruining the approach to his premises. He was not a Tory, but like the Tory MP, did not wish to be up to his ears in the waste smokers leave behind.
    PS Nobody ever asked a Police bodyguard to “take a bullet for them.” They are asked to do their job, without fear or favour for any political party, and they are rewarded accordingly. Your “source”, whilst suiting your post to this blog, sounds as though he is making mischief with his tale, as well as being another yob who our host so much admires in his blog today.

  • Anonymous

    I was on a train one morning and 3 posh twenty somethings got on – it transpired they worked vaguely around government, I don’t know if it was for parties or civil service but defo westminster village. I heard two of them tell a friend that they knew people who had met or worked in and around Cameron, and Samantha Cameron. They said they were pleasant and friendly, but both very much gave out the sense that they needed doors opening and so forth by the little people, especially samantha but call me dave too. I can well believe it. I say send Dave to Afghanistan and get Prince Harry to run the show, Harry seems less posh, more humble.

  • Anonymous

    Rebuke by the PM? It looked forced, the way he stomped off after giving it, to the press.

    Where’s Prezzie when you need him?

  • Anonymous

    What? He didn’t even tell him to have a fag in the potting shed? Oh dear oh dear.

    Bullshite – you are allowed to smoke in the fresh air anywhere, that is a right at present. That is all he had to do is stick two fingers up at him and light up, and if he wanted to take it further, talk to his gov, and he would have told him to file his complaint where the sun don’t shine – these here today gone tomorrow politicians, don’t listen to them when they get like this.

  • Anonymous

    Good gawd! Downthumbs are quite active all of a sudden! Two police deaths and hysteria! What happened in 1989 then, and who’s fault was that then? And it is said many more could have been saved in the July 2005 underground bombing if the constabulary weren’t so H & S.

    Get in there I would have done, as I had to in this night huge accident on the M6 about twenty years ago. It baffled me the cops didn’t get involved with saving life. I put four people in recovery positions within two minutes in their cars, making sure their airways were clear, while they were out, and held my hand over a chest of exposed broken ribs open fractured, to make an air seal, while the traffic cops just stood around and talked on their walkie talkies, doing zilch.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, that was her Michele, thanks. Wasn’t quite Captain Janeway from Star Trek, was she? Far from it, lost control.

    And shut up Michele, he was an electrician, working freelance, and with a trade like that, he was allowed to live in this country, since we are well short of them, especially in that London.

    And I will ignore your comment on cocaine, as like drink tests in Sheffield….

  • Michele

    Nobody asks them?
    No, I believe they have to volunteer.
    Perhaps less will do so when they realise that despite the vetting they undergo they are still thought of as doormen (who should perhaps just wear top’n’tails and bow?).

    If someone is ‘target’ enough to need protection then that protection will be in the same line of you know what (had grenades apparently being the mode weapon of now).
    I think they have to volunteer for those roles, I would imagine when they travel in the same cars they are as likely to be hurt by something as silly as a bullet in a tyre.
    I daresay, from the sound of your ‘entries’ on this blog you have the same low-life evaluation as Mitchell.

    Perehaps the commentator who spoke today about the cardinal sin of a Chief Whip being them losing their discreet low profile means this ****ing pleb will be out on his chin pdq.

  • How right you are Patrick. TV coverage, especially on the BBC, has been totally sympathetic to the Government. At times they appear to repeat Conservative Central Office press releases word for word, rather reminiscent of Pathe News. A few stories, that have hit headlines elsewhere have had to be covered, but they’re being careful not to damage Cameron and Osborne personally or those close to them. I notice Grant Shapps has escaped scrutiny on several embarrassing issues lately.

    Of all the issues of concern to the public, the Government is particularly vulnerable on the economy and the NHS. In fact the BBC coverage of the NHS reforms and its consequences for patients has been shameful. Twitter is teeming with complaints about the BBC letting voters down, in hiding truth and basic information about these very important changes to our healthcare system.

    Two promises which were instrumental in bringing Cameron and Clegg into power were on tuition fees and the NHS. Both gained votes under false pretenses. The BBC has adequately exposed the Clegg deception but appears to go out of its way to protect Cameron, when he is equally guilty of misleading the public. One has to ask why, when the last Prime Minister was treated so badly, would the BBC want to protect and promote Cameron.

  • Gilliebc

    I agree Ehtch, Cressida is a b****y stupid name. Sounds like a posh salad. It’s got to be right up there with Jocasta in the ‘daft names’ list. Poor woman didn’t strike lucky with either her first name or her surname – double whammy.

  • Dave Simons

    They can rebrand as much as they like but they never change their spots, do they? The juxtaposition of Boris Johnson’s declaration about swearing at police, made at last year’s Party Conference, and Andrew Michell’s recent outburst, confirms what I’ve suggested previously on this blog – if the Conservative Party were a stick of rock the word stamped indelibly down its middle would be ‘Hypocrisy’. It’s hardwared into their B&Q.
    (Sorry – I meant ‘hard-wired into their DNA).

  • ambrosian

    Firstly, the policeman was not smoking on the politician’s doorstep. The house was set in large grounds. And this was long before the smoking ban and today’s hyper-sensitivity about smoking.

    Secondly, you brand my source, about whom you know nothing, a ‘yob’. He was not a yob. And the insult tells us more about you than about him.

  • Dave Simons

    Troilus would disagree!

  • Michele

    f you bother to read full reports you will find that ALL services were ‘blamed’ re Hillsborough due to ALL services having been reduced after ALL the ten years that we had endured another lot of CONservatives and cuts to SERVICES.

    You might even find out that one of those services had been on industrial action all year and still was, four months and more AFTER Hillsborough.
    Perhaps that service knows that no matter whatever goes wrong it will always be the Police that collect all the blame.

    99% of us are hypocritical, pretend that the Police are simply there to provide a number for an insurance claim when not copping the blame for what goes wrong.

  • Michele

    He was an illegal immigrant, he had overstayed his visa for quite some time and in a knowing way.
    He was working illegally and doubtless evading tax.

    He still had cocaine in his bloodstream, there is no point in you accepting what you want to believe and rejecting what you do not, that makes you a liar.
    It makes your prejudice so visible that it makes your posts saddening but such prejudice is what it always has been.

    Do you really not get it?
    He avoided FOUR overground services that all serve the self-same route as the ONLY one out of Stockwell.
    He SEEMED to:
    want to be underground
    to be in a hurry
    to be confused
    He DID :
    come out of the same block of flats as a CTVed bomber was staying.
    This was two weeks after July 7th, many tube lines were not even running again, it was one day after three failed bombs at THAT station, Stockwell.

    He did NOT deserve to die, knowing what we know now, but if he had been what was suspected at the time the officers that surrounded him to protect other passengers would have been sacrificing themselves.
    You have to stop being so kneejerk and show you CAN look at both sides and at info because if you cannot do that you simply expose yourself as an incapable and restricted bigot.
    You clearly have no real empathy with anyone, no idea of what that July was like here but not to worry H.
    It’s so easy to be always right with hindsight isn’t it, to let hysteria blind you – well done that ‘man’.

  • copperswife

    Interesting one this for me as a copper’s wife. My hubby has been in the job for over 20 years. We have had a frantic fortnight trying to work out how we are affected by the pension changes. We are, luckily, one of the cushioned few who has the protection of a tapered scheme. We still lose, but the federation have protected us as much as they could and have done as good a job as any union.
    The interesting bits have come form the change of mood within the job. The level of sheer venom and anger towards the government from my husband’s colleagues is, I believe, historically unique. After the tragic events this week, the like of which always send a chilling shudder down the spines of all of us within the police family, my husband said “God had better help the government if those girls died because of the cuts, because we bloody well will not.” You see, the venom from the front line is anger based not just on pensions, but on the certainty that this government does not listen, does not have any respect for professional best practise, and as a result is putting lives not just of officers but of the public in grave danger. The government had better beware the federation. They are now as politicised as any trade union. Expect them to drag out the Mitchell saga for all it is worth, until they have their first scalp. My husband is based in intelligence gathering. It is not “front line” but stops serious brown stuff ever hitting the fans. Lives are saved on a daily basis because of this quiet work behind the scenes. It is highly skilled and complex. But what has happened to my husband’s post is traumatic and harrowing. I cannot speak about it publicly, but am happy to privately state to anyone who wants to know what has happened. It has had a dreadful effect on him as an individual because he is now dealing in 4 different intelligence areas that are unrelated (rather than 2 which were connected), crucial for public safety, and yet is trained in only one of them! He knows he is in danger of putting the public in danger. He also knows this is being replicated across the country.

    The police are a family. We will look after each other while the police look after everyone else. Roll on 2015.

  • Michele

    The blog is not ‘in admiration’, the blog is not about that officer.
    The blog does not even mention why the officer was so UPSET that day. His future had been thrown up in the air THAT day, just as had been that of a woman I met mid-week whose husband has 15yrs service and contributions and would have been told about the 12pg document that is still being untangled by actuarial experts.

  • Michele

    I doubt you’re open-minded enough to appreciate this column:

    and I’m positive you agree with chancer hysterics who deem ANY alteration to be the opposite of a correction.

  • Michele

    I don’t agree with the tone of this blog OP.
    It suggests that if someone is dislikeable and snobbish the person responsible for defending them could take a dislike, feel resentment about them and not do their job properly.

    It also lists things that are allowed and insinuates there’s some bias in some concessions and judgements as opposed to simple pragmatism.

    Lastly I’m not impressed with Mitchell’s impersonation of the ditsy village lady with his wicker basket on his bike. Froth and pseudo PR.

  • David Kingston

    One of the clearest signs of their attitude to public sector workers is in the language used regarding pay and pensions. They talk about regional pay in terms of what workers need rather than the value of the job. The clear implication is that they value people by where they live rather than who they are. On pensions they use the language that suggests that defending the pension that was agreed on employment is akin to being a benefits scrounger. In their minds public servants are just servants, to be used, undervalued and cast aside at whim.

  • Anonymous

    I thought your moderation was usually fairly liberal, AC, but obviously my comments about the Tories were a bit too candid to make it below the line. Shocked, shocked at this censorship!

  • Michele

    Blimey, even the Wail’s on Mitchell’s back now, I’d not realised he’d been expecting the central gates to be opened specially for him (or that there was a witness).

  • Gilliebc

    Lol, yes I’m sure he would. Perhaps he loved her despite of her name! After all what’s in a name?

  • Gilliebc

    You hadn’t realised he’d expected the central gates to be opened specially for him! Well, what exactly did you think all the fuss was about then?

  • Gilliebc

    John Charles deMenezes was assassinated in cold blood, after being misidentified. Whether he was an illegal immigrant a cocaine user or ‘confused’ the latter being soundly rejected btw. is irrelevant. So why you dragged up all the irrelevant stuff again is anybodies guess! Although I note that at least you conceded that ‘None of it makes him deserving of death’.
    I think anyone should be able to mention him as an example of police incompetence without being accused of using him or anyone else come to that as a ‘tool’ Regarding police incompetence. Mistakes happen in all walks of life and occupations. Most people are accepting and forgiving of genuine mistakes. But what most don’t like is cover-ups.

  • Anonymous

    Did they have photos of all residents from that block of flats, from surrveilance, to avoid this sort of confusion? If not, that is where they cocked-up. And seems to be Cressida’s lack of experience at the sharp-end street level didn’t help. And what of these suspects in this block of flats, was it confirmed they were a danger?

    These fast-promotions streams do show up their weakness at times, and this was one. She should stick to looking after budgets, or something, and not trying to understand the street, since it seems she hasn’t spent much time there, Kojak-like.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, Michele, that is one we all fall at the feet of, whatever happens – money, and their makers. We run really scared of upsetting them, don’t we?

    Well, most of us do.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    The ‘services’ didn’t do their jobs M and it had absolutely nothing to do with numbers or morale. You bang on about the ambulance service but there were more than 40 ambulances parked outside the ground waiting for the nod to do something.

    Your ‘insurance claim’ theory is just plain cuckoo. Most people I know want them to actually do something to prevent the burglary or whatever even happening or failing that, catch the perpetrators.

  • Anonymous

    Was always fascinated by this shop, when living in Croydon and near area. As if it was still in the nineteen fifties in basic set-up. If it had been a shop in a provincial city, it would have closed in the eighties as an anachronism. And here we are in 2012, a Grace Brothers type shop being dragged screaming and shouting, like Mitchell, to it’s grave,

    It is 2012 Allders, and your friends that kept it going for SE England tory political closed world purposes are long gone, friends, in your monthly boardroom, money for old rope.

  • Anonymous

    Hello Alastair, are you there? You seem to be twittering as we speak, any chance of saying neigh or yeay here, while you are at it?

    It is your blogsite after all. Where are you at the moment? At home? Singapore fascinating Grand Pricks is about to kick off, about eight or nine o’clock pm there, in the dark.

    Think Hamilton will take it, from his pole.

  • Michele

    Apparently Mitchell has admitted the swearing (by which he surely means the f-ing word) but denies the ‘pleb’.

    And there was I just considering the possibility that he’d used ‘pleb’ and that in it being passed along the line by rightly-disgusted people the f-word could have been added as one or other’s quality judgement on ‘pleb’.

    Either way he knows that the word ‘pleb’ is the snobbism and it’ll be interesting to know what noun he will admit in lieu of pleb ….. rhymes with, sounds like? Nuffink.

    The word ‘snob’ however; s’easy peasy.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, I know a lot of people who work in food preparation. Its ironic that those who complain most about food are the ones who get to eat the most ‘special’ of ingredients.
    I hate eating with complainers, I always want to say “She complained, I’ll tip – so please distribute the gob accordingly, yes?”

  • Gilliebc

    Oh dear, that was badly written Gill.
    ‘despite of’ what were you thinking.

  • Michele

    I don’t remember mentioning morale, it would be an excuse to do so.
    I mentioned NUMBERS and if you have thousands of people you are trying to protect then a reduction in NUMBERS could have been of no help; get real.
    Burglary prevention – isn’t that the responsibility of those responsible for premises?
    The ‘nod’ to do ‘something’ —– hmmmm, that would need a chain of people able to pass the nod along wouldn’t it? We are, after all talking about a much lower tech time.

    These are REASONS that should not be confused as excuses.
    Most things are explainable IF anyone wants to do so, is even interested and I’m afraid that all the venomous descriptions I’ve heard this week have shown no interest, no wish to discuss wth the event was held where it was despite many protests beforehand that it should not be, that the ground was unsuitable, was not safe.
    I’m right in thinking all-seated stopped such massacres aren’t I?

    There was no blame being attached to people by those describing the simple factual truth that fans had been enjoying the unusually sunny day, there was no reason for people to describe it as ‘blaming the fans’ for the crush.
    It was an understandable human situation that happened to be a contributory detail and to have ignored it would have been stupid.

    It was an utterly awful tragedy but these things get no better at all by blame being apportioned to fellow humans who are lumbered with unmanageable situations when capitalists get off scot free.

    Having lost someone in a tragedy (not Hillsborough) I know there is no alleviation to the pain of bereavement (let alone that of having to ID) by survivors blaming others.
    Explanations are needed, improvements in situations are needed, but blaming people (who could only do their best and every single one of them did so with whatever organisation was available to them) improves nothing and in fact it does the opposite, it causes constant defensiveness.

    However, it takes all sorts and perhaps there really are some that feel better by blaming fellow humans (especially those that don’t magically and without evidence, manage to ‘catch’ perpetrators) instead of fate or their effing god.
    We saw what stopped last year’s riots, we KNOW what mattered (not to mention the CCTV that has allowed so much reactive ‘catching’).

  • Michele

    Wow. Just imagine this Gbc:
    I thought he wanted to use the middle gates because they happened to be open at the time.

    Just imagine! How thick and ingenuous of me eh?

  • Michele

    Can you remove the code and say what you mean? Who is the ‘we’ and the ‘them’?

  • Michele

    ofhs on and on and on and on, grasping at straws to ‘qualify’ your prejudice.
    There was CCTV of three bombers leaving Stockwell after failing in their attempts to place bombs (or board trains with them). One of them was arrested the same evening. It was thought another was staying in the flats at Tulse Hill, the officers had probably been watching all night. We know one of them was having a loo-break when JCdeM left for his bus.
    Why not get a factual book out about it H? It would be a lot easier for us both.

    You might even find out some worthwhile info about Ms Dick, you know it makes sense to amend all that sexist inverted snobbery.

  • Michele

    There has been no cover up about JCdeM.
    The mistaken ID was announced the same evening, at around 6pm.
    Cold blood?

    I think it behoves someone claiming the moral high ground and ‘insight’ to all the world’s ‘CTs’ to avoid hyperbole and character assassination, especially someone with a ditsy sweety gif. xxx

    As for ‘tool’ that is EXACTLY how JCdeM was being exploited here. He is a dead man, he is not opportunistic ‘material’ for the use of someone with prejudicial ‘issues’ making cyber pops at a whole group.

  • Michele

    It’s sheer crass evasion to avoid the simple INFO that his being an illegal immigrant is probably why he did not stop when asked to, in fact he ran to the platform as the departure was being announced.

    It was a horrendous sequence of events, nobody has denied anything, people had willingly surrounded him to protect others (as they still understood things).

    People will have to live with what they did and saw and lost that day, exploitation of it for cheap cyber jibes makes me heave.

  • Michele

    I don’t understand why you confine yourself to blogging.

    You owe it to yourself and everyone else to get off your backside and JFDI, not whinge about how you think others fail to. It’s sooooo obvious (and there are at least anther two Musketeers that should be willing and able to accompany you, one for all an’ all that).

  • Anonymous

    This he-said she-said primary school yard discussion with teacher-media is getting a bit pathetic now, isn’t it?

    He lied, he called them names – stand in the corner Mr Mitchell, and let’s hear the last of this. You are all starting(!) to make yourselves look bluddy stupid now!

  • Anonymous

    Oh no, it happened agian, tried replying to my Hamilton post on Singapore, but clicked edit instead, and tried to backtrack to reply, but the original post disdappeared. DISQUUUUSSSS!!!! Ah well, never mind, here is the reply anyway, as per….

    Oh, bollox, Hamilton’s gearbox gave up. Bluddy McLarens! He was well in the lead and storming it. But as an aside, though GP teams don’t mention it, because they don’t want to sound like whingers, but due to the high density of electronic mobiles/tablets/pads etc. etc. use in Singapore, and with all those tower blocks about that they drive between, bouncing electronic signals about, especially when the team in the pit is trying to do an adjustment by fly-by-airwire, it does bugger up their cars electronics at times. Especially when Hamilton was passing, with instant photos being sent by people to “friends” when he passes. It seems Hamilton’s gearbox electronic control box played up

    It is as same on the cycle road races in the Olympics Alastair, especially the first one that Saturday with the ladies, that mobile devices were affecting their chips they were carrying for GPS positioning, with name information, that got Hugh Porter and co. scratching their heads commentating on the beeb.

    Know all this stuff with aircraft flight systems designing with those engineers in the 1990’s – emi it is called -electrmagnetic interference. Screened wire cables and metal boxes is the answer, but puts weight up, what you don’t need in a GP car, so compromise has to be done. Compromise didn’t work in Sing for Hamilton, sadly, it looks.

    Technology lesson over. All true, honest, even if it does sound bull.

  • Anonymous

    Yes Michele, when the wailing Daily Snail get on the tory’s backs, it just shows we have socially moved on for the better, at last, maybe…

    Yes, we have got to still keep an eye on the Snail, they are very fickle. They could very well resort to type in the run up to the next GE, so don’t trust them yet,

    Just wait for the next Mrs Blair pic, we will judge them from that. But to be truthful, we are just dreaming, they will still be the same mouthy buggers, to talk to all those types, who themselves talk as if their mouths are full of copies of the Daily Wail.

  • Anonymous

    The City mun, Cameron won’t allow anything bad to be said of them, since it gives him and his pals good paid jobs in the future, as well as pay for their election expenses these days.

    Hope that is clear now Michele.

    now I will go off and rip my code book up, it has Bletchingly been compromised, by myself! : )

  • Liberalreform

    I quote you:
    The key words are ‘Emergency Services’.
    Last resort, panic button, inevitably bad situations.
    Bothered about Police morale? I am.

    Where is it mentioned in any report that a reduction in the emergency services had any impact on the outcome at Hillsborough? You are making it up as you go along M.

    You’re suggesting that the emergency services in those days had no means of communication. Again, get real.

    If you remember, Taylor attributed the ‘blame’ on the South Yorkshire police; who ‘retired’ Supt. Duckenfield. It is now evident that the SYP set out to incriminate the fans and avoid any blame themselves. We will probably never know what happened unofficially at the governmental level.

    It is also evident that the FA, the Sheffield Wednesday Club and the council knew that there was no safety certificate.

    This was a tragedy that should and could have been prevented and it’s a disgrace that it’s taken 23 years for the truth to be published.

    How can you refer to Hillsborough as a massacre? You’ve obviously not read the findings of any of the investigations have you?

  • Anonymous

    Oh come on Michele, a spade is a spade, either sex.

    Reality strikes? Take the taff police officer in Minder, he had to take it in that Lahndahn, that’s life,

    What has got to be mainly remembered girl, it is a strange ol’ world, Michele darling. : )))

  • Liberalreform

    ‘Musketeers’, aren’t they the ones who happen to fall foul of your set of rules M? Or have you become a self-appointed moderator all of a sudden…

    Btw, you’re probably aware that one of Richelieu’s stated goals was centralisation so, thanks for the compliment.

  • Anonymous

    …by the way Michele, can I ask you a personal question? What star sign are you? I’m a goat, a capricorn.

    Please tell, and I will let you into my little secret why I asked. I will impress you with my reasons.

    But please, don’t be spooked why I’ve asked, it will all become clearer, trust me. : )

  • Anonymous

    Vince Cable is a lip-quivering liberal, neither here nor there.

    How he has a stage to tell us things is baffling, Alastair.

    He is a gormless twit.

  • kelda

    A fine post. We have a son-in-law who is a policeman in norrh London, brought up in a Tory-voting home. He now detests Cameron and Co, Would be interested to hear more about how your husband has been affected. Best wishes,

  • Anonymous

    oh bollox, selfishly for me in mind, bad news received today, hard to get over.

    My mam’s best friend’s daughter, only heard today, past away last year, 48, Fiona. What age is that to pass away, ey?

    Born diabetic, trained nurse, moved to Liverpool to work about fifteen years ago, since she was a BIG Liverpool fan. Diabetic something happened, and that was it, just like that, last year, only heard, since lost touch due to mam friend stupid me not visit to see.

    Year younger in school to me, both mams tried paired, run scared. But she was nice, we shared the occasional snog, Staff Nurse Fiona, come over for some.

    As I said, a big big big Liverpool supporter, when she dragged me into her bedroom at eighteen, there was Ian Rush on the ceiling, or was it Kenny? For Fiona,

    And no, we behaved, me and Fiona, sadly. hanky

  • Anonymous

    Alastair, try toolgate, or, bolshiecyclistgate, or, what are these gates, who had them built in the first place, OHHH, the Thatch, explains a lot-gate!!!

    ‘King ‘Ell!

  • Michele

    One of my first ever posts here linked one of Stewart Lee’s ‘Democracy’ videos, his TiC ‘history’ with David Cameron at Oxford and how people might have learned to know their place with the latter.

    At least SL’s blessed with a lovely voice đŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    “April Casburn”
    Anyone seen a photo of her yet? Hmm, I smell state London living bullshite!
    No doubt an MI5 spook as well, who helped the tory’s try to get in.

  • Anonymous

    Here is the obituary. Damned and blast. Only found out yesterday, when phoned her mam on the offchance to see how everyone was doing. 80 is her mam, an ex-nurse too, like my late mam, but she is seriously losing her sight, down to 10% she says, and doesn’t like it, to state the bleeding obvious. Still got all her marbles though thankfully. Always liked Anne, Fiona’s mam.

    Brilliant people, all of them. When you start to get old, keeping in touch becomes a two year thing, and etc.. Life ey, who’ll have it? hanky please again

  • Michele

    Yes, massacre was an odd word, used as a measure of the number of dead, nothing else.

    There was NO proactive crowd-control by something as simple as ticketing with nominatied areas in those days, just the simplistic greedy ‘pack ’em all in an’ let ’em find their own space’.
    Great idea if there had been on-site entertainment and encouragement to do all the milling around and urge to get in place earlier.

    After all, there was history to study, even then and as sure as eggs is eggs there will be more in the future.

    Let’s think about the very unpopular use of ‘kettling’ eh?

    There are several ways to look back at awful situations like this, one is objective and the other is understandable – it’s a way (a bad way imhoo) to prove how awful you (one) think a situation is but I do get very suspicious of competitive outrage.

    There WERE important reasons and explanations that have been overlooked in the reporting and the commenting.
    Cameron’s blaming of ‘the state’ lets all the private (actually responsible FA and ground owners) right off the hook.

  • Michele

    PS: Yep, that quote is about the situation NOW, the repeat situation of massively reduced numbers, the inevitablility of what it leads to.
    We have after all seen how ’11’s riots were eventually controlled haven’t we? Numbers do matter, even now with all the IT.

    But my use was not about the morale of THEN.
    It would have been relevant to mention though eh …… given the inevitability of burdens from other Em Svcs having to be passed along?
    If you don’t ‘allow for’ the absence of the immediate comms we take for granted now then there’s not really much point in further discussion.
    You have your bone, keep on at it.

  • Michele

    Simple reference to your armchair expert-ise pet.

  • Michele

    Interesting article in ‘The Week’ about why the woman PC that Mitchell had abused made her written report.

    She expected him to be making a complaint about her so wanted the details and sequence to be recorded, not left to memory.

  • Michele

    Must admit I’ve rued the easy loss in this version but at least we don’t any more have the ever-decreasing column width. Small mercies etc đŸ™‚

  • Michele

    Must admit that having read about the ‘modesty’ of Cameron’s inheritance but then having read elsewhere that wills only have to describe what is owned within the UK ……… I’ve been doing some hmmmmmmmmm-ing (a.k.a. JimmyCarr-ing!).

  • Anonymous

    By the way, I am not criticising Sing at all here at all, with their mobiles use, fucking up modern days GP teams telemetry.

    I like Sing, had, cough!, more ladies per day results there in my life ever, Sri Lankan extract girl, black as the ace of spades, who worked in a Sing mushroom farm, which Helen took me around, with a torch. And that Brunei lady, half-euro-dutch half asian, five foot nine and a beut. They were the mammories, sorry, memories. : )

    I like Sing, as you must now tell. Must remember to return there one day, jonnies in the suitcase ready….

  • gedon

    Elegantly put Alistair.

  • Anonymous

    yes, Fiona, come for some cutch, again. Sent my dad down to see her mam now, hope she is in, and take her next week down to Llandefaelog to Ysgubor Fawr, where my great-uncle lives, she knows it well, Anne, where my grandad was brought up. Brilliant village. That is all is left I can do. I feel hopeless.

  • Anonymous

    As my grandmother said, Michele, if ifs and ands were pots and pans there’d be no trade for tinkers.

    What were we on about again?

    Ach, bugger it, a gypo/tinker song,

    If you have a problem with them, then, you have a HUGE BIG problem with me.

  • Anonymous

    earthing problem there McLaren, ey? that will be five thousand quid please…

  • Anonymous

    hey Michele, you must know me by now, and still can’t understand some of your posts, as you with mine. I like you. Have you answered my question what star sign you are yet?

    As I said, over months, I am an old celt, strange ideas in my head. Pray tell, when were you born, Michele.

  • Liberalreform

    So, which group committed the ‘massacre’ as you put it?
    What is your objective opinion of this particular situation?What has been overlooked by the latest findings and not reported upon?
    Or, is it going to be more waffle?

  • Liberalreform

    My bone, as you so eloquently put it, is that you’re commenting about something that you obviously know nothing about. As I’ve explained to you before, read the findings and then perhaps you can remove your police hat and look at things objectively.

  • Liberalreform

    Ps. Police radios were introduced in 1969 according to wiki so, yet another false contention by you.

  • Anonymous

    yep, Michele, bluddy rich tax dodgers they are. And to think they put Lester Piggot and poor ol’ Ken Dodd in clinque for it! Makes you think, doesn’t it, how it is these days, people living in our fine country and not paying their due contribution to it, ey Michele?

    Bluddy mosquito blood suckers they are to the rest of us, effectively. Or basic cunts, I would obviously say, ey Michele love?

  • Liberalreform

    Expertise? Thanks again for another compliment, 2 in one blog from you must be a record. I bet you’re the person who ‘liked’ my last comment aren’t you but don’t want to admit it….

  • Michele

    There was no committing of anything like a massacre by anyone. My post explaining my use of the word in the context I did was ON before you wrote yours (or else yours would have arrived with mine, which it did not).

    So there, in one little pair of posts, we have an example of someone (you) using cynical manipulation to distort extant INFO.
    So don’t dare claim any moral high ground when you ALSO accuse others of spiteful intent for what could well have been CORRECTIONS and not DISTORTIONS.

    Yes, radios existed but could they be of any sodding use when channels were blocked?

    Grow some fgs, DARE to admit that you’re letting your ‘ethnicity’ and distorted ‘loyalty’ colour your ‘opinions’. We know some have become cowed

    We get NOwhere by blaming, we get somewhere by EXplaining. We get NOwhere by denying people crowded in to the ground with too little time and with too few entry points and with NO nominated position, many thinking ‘Right, I’m in, I’ve got my spot and anybody else will have to get past me to find their own, it’s their own fault for being later than even me’.
    It is human nature, it is not evil, it is not something to deny or scream ‘accusations’ or ‘blame’ about.–police-did-doctor-evidence-in-bid-to-avoid-blame-8126233.html

    YOU would do well to read about more examples of crowded disasters, some of them killing 000s – the history was there for the FA and the ground’s owners to know they were on the wrong track. Have they admitted any culpability? Whose insurance stumped up? Did the club actually get paid out for damage?

    Comment on kettling is needed from you btw.
    NO excuse to ignore it.
    When crowds resent being kettled do they have the right to?
    When crowds bang and bash against and climb over in mosh pits should they be stopped?
    Is there one effing solution that’s suitable as well as acceptable for any and everything?

    Waffle – yep LOL.

  • Michele

    You should give up on guessing or assuming.
    No, I have Liked one or two of your (more objective) posts in the past but not that one.
    Gbc has suggested it’s possible to see from whom they come but I don’t know the ‘how to’.
    I do however know that most are meaningless anyway since from one machine, one IPA, it’s poss to do multiple repeat strokes on either (as well as on both) arrowhead/s.

    I took issue with a Dis/down a couple of weeks ago as I didn’t take in to account the immediacy of a stroke vs the pace of post arrivals so I presumed a ‘hit’n’run merchant’. I could have been right or wrong so like I said, meaningless.

  • Anonymous

    Enjoyed the episode of Minder earlier, with Derek “I Claudius” Jacobi in it. Like Minder I do, good humour. George Cole is a legend.

  • A Good Pleb

    Great article and very true… particularly that last paragraph! Thanks.

  • Liberalreform

    You need to re-evaluate your position; I have pointed you at the ‘findings’ and yet you still make contrary statements. You are the one who claims to occupy the high ground by talking about facts and yet you have consistently stated opinion, yours. Without overtly stating the findings are wrong, your opinions allude to precisely that…

  • Anonymous

    Yes. I Claudius, with SiĂ¢n Phillips, saying the classic line in it, “don’t eat the figs” : )))

    It must be in there somewhere, with above!

    Ok, so it isn’t – damn!

  • Michele

    …… NObody is able, now, to reliably know what is 100% correct.
    Who ‘misinformed’ whom? Isn’t 2nd hand info often passed along irresponsibly? It’s how things happen, isn’t it how myths come in to being?
    People don’t always remember to say ‘didn’t see this with my own eyes but so and so said ……’ KMcK pleads he was misinformed by Person A; who misinformed that bod via jungle telephones or were they creator of the misinfo?
    Who first said that Police were being urinated upon when trying to help people in the crush?
    I do not believe it happened and I doubt the ‘info’ originated from a Police source and surely it’s the originator, not the passer-along, that ‘matters’.

    When do people willingly accept what they are being told? In this case I would suggest the big fat silencer is the blame being apportioned where it now is, THAT is what has been being hankered for for 23yrs.
    The new report is effectively a dummy.

    EVERYthing can be distorted – you used ‘waiting for the nod’ instead of the actuality of ‘working to rule’ re others.

    We are not going to agree on much of this. I would hate to be treated with such placatory appeasement as this report.
    Hillsborough has been re-built, would it not be absolutely awful if some of that funding came as insurance to its owners re the disaster?

    Onwards, avoidance of such situations in the future.
    Eg 1. KETTLING – no need for you to hold back so you can criticise it when used again. What other method to avoid crowd crushes is there so do YOU accept it as a necessary tactic?
    Eg 2. Example used by poor Rich a few days ago, moving 00s of people along out of harm’s way of a 12′ high window smashed by rioters and one bod just will not be moved.

    Speak up. Who knows, people in ‘the house’ might even do so now.
    I don’t wear a police hat btw and your pathetic assumption that I must OR that it would be an insult puts you in the same league as those that would use the word ‘pig’ in different company.

  • Gilliebc

    It used to be possible, before the ‘upgrade’ to see where the likes had come from. But doesn’t seem to be the case any longer. If it is possible, I don’t know how to do it now. It was quite useful actually to use it to as a way of acknowledging a reply post.