Stop these infantile, grubby power games
00:19 GMT, 24 December 2012
Mr Mitchell, as he accepts, was wrong to have set such a bad example by swearing at the police
What an extraordinary – and unedifying – week it has been. Last weekend, the Plebgate saga had appeared all but over.
Ex-chief whip Andrew Mitchell – while still denying that he called police officers ‘plebs’ in an altercation at the Downing Street gates – had long since resigned.
Even the often rancorous Police Federation, which did so much to stoke the row, as part of an ongoing battle with Government over its pay and perks, was making conciliatory noises to ministers.
Then a CCTV tape and other damning evidence emerged which contradicted the officers’ official account of what happened, and all hell broke loose.
Mr Mitchell’s friends took to the airwaves to claim he had been the victim of a deeply shocking police conspiracy to frame him.
The ex-Cabinet minister argued, in highly emotive language, that if officers could stitch him up ‘what chance would a youth in Brixton or Handsworth have’
And, by yesterday, Britain’s top police officer, Bernard Hogan-Howe, considered the situation so serious that he cancelled his Christmas holidays, and headed back to London to take charge.
Make no mistake: the claim that police may have fabricated evidence against Mr Mitchell, in order to inflict political damage on the Government, is grave. No stone should be left unturned in establishing the truth.
Disturbing: Ed Miliband shamefully tried to exploit the alleged use of the toxic word 'pleb', as part of a class war campaign against the 'toff' Prime Minister
However, this is a sorry episode which reflects badly on the political class, too.
Mr Mitchell, as he accepts, was wrong to have set such a bad example by swearing at the police.
Even more disturbing was the way Ed Miliband shamefully tried to exploit the alleged use of the toxic word ‘pleb’, as part of a class war campaign against the ‘toff’ Prime Minister.
His ugly behaviour will only further alienate voters who want to see politicians focusing on jobs, immigration, Europe and healthcare – not scoring cheap points.
The Mail does not know how this grubby episode will end.
But what is certain is that it must be the signal for the police and politicians to stop their infantile games and remember who they are meant to be serving.
Betrayal of the sick
More from Daily Mail Comment…
DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Patients must have dignity until the end
DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Patten must take the blame for a sorry saga
Will the Savile saga change Auntie's ways
Healing the sick can never be a 9-to-5 job
DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Shadow of fear over public's right to know
DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Failure to block porn betrays our children
Labour still can’t face facts on immigration
Libya and a stain on Britain’s conscience
VIEW FULL ARCHIVE
Yesterday was another bruising day for the national health service.
First the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust had to apologise to the families of 38 people who suffered shameful neglect under its care, including one 84-year-old man who, unforgivably, was allowed to starve to death.
Then evidence emerged of how NHS bureaucrats – while complaining loudly there is not enough money to pay for cataract operations and hip and knee replacements – have quietly pocketed average pay rises of 1,459 each since last September.
Would it be too much to expect the pen-pushers to stop their shroud-waving about ‘cuts’, and focus on ensuring that nurses and doctors have the time, resources and, crucially, training to treat their patients with basic dignity and respect
The value of family
With flooding across south-west England and Wales, and huge disruption on the roads and trains, many will face arduous journeys to be with their loved ones this festive season.
For others, there is the battle to find affordable presents, not to mention the diplomacy required to decide who is cooking dinner – and where.
But we put up with the stresses because we know, deep down, they are worth it.
As the Mail has long argued, a strong, loving family – which works hard to remain united – is, especially in these challenging economic times, the bedrock of a stable, contented society. We wish all our readers and their families a very happy Christmas.