A PETTY incident – the refusal of Downing Street police officers to allow the Tory chief whip to ride his bicycle through the gates of Downing Street – has developed into a major crisis between the Tory Party and the body of armed men, the Metropolitan Police, whose job it is to protect the ruling class and its property.
The haughty Tory ex-chief whip, Andrew Mitchell, now accepts that he cursed the police officers using the ‘f word’, but insists that the police fitted him up, and lied, when they said that he described the officers as ‘plebs’, and also that the Diplomatic Protection Officer who said that he witnessed the display of Tory arrogance was not even present at the time of the event.
Now, after an ‘unsatisfactory’ exchange of letters between the Chief Whip and the Met Police Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, in which the police chief is said to have expressed concern for the ‘welfare’ of his officers, the Tory faction supporting Mitchell has stated that he is ‘critical’ of Hogan-Howe, but has confidence in Pat Gallan, a deputy assistant commissioner, who is in charge of the Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards, and is overseeing the investigation.
This development has sent Hogan-Howe abruptly back from his Xmas holiday, to defend his job, which is now under threat, with the Mitchell faction railing against the ‘vile’ police ‘conspiracy’ that is said to be an attempt to ‘toxify’ the Tories, as if they could be made more toxic than they already are.
The official police log of the incident says Mitchell used a number of expletives, telling the police, ‘you don’t run this government’, ‘learn your place’, and calling the officers ‘plebs’.
Mitchell however alleges that he has been traumatised by the incident and its consequences: ‘On several days I simply could not get out of bed’ the Tory leader relates.
Now, the ex-minister for Police and Criminal Justice, Nick Herbert, has spoken up calling for a purge, declaring that ‘police corruption may not be endemic, neither is it an aberration.’
The crisis is growing! It takes place after the break up of the 25 year-long alliance between government, the Murdoch media empire and the police, which saw the three work as one to fight the miners in 1984-85, the printers in 1986-87, and then saw Murdoch employees end up as key government and police media officials, while top police officers on retirement joined Murdoch companies, or while they were on the job were extremely slow to investigate hacking scandals, but much speedier in winding up the investigations.
The break up of this very close and corrupting alliance has coincided with the current banking and industrial crash in which the police, their jobs, pensions, wages and the numbers of officers and police stations have not escaped the cuts. They are very angry that they are being treated like the commonality, and don’t have an exemption from the cut, like their masters the bosses and bankers.
Also the government, with its move to have elected police commissioners (elected by a tiny minority) with the power to sack Chief Constables, has spelt out that it wants political control over the police and no divided loyalties – as was a feature of the News International crisis.
Police chiefs and the police are completely opposed to close political control of the police, and want the old method of rule to continue, where the strength of capitalism allowed a fictional policing by consent to function, operated by Chief Constables who were extremely difficult to get rid of, and who did not change every time there was a change in Commissioner.
For our part, we see the conflict between different sections of the ruling class and their state apparatus as being part of the break-up of the capitalist order in the face of the developing world socialist revolution.
We hope that the different bourgeois factions do the greatest possible damage to each other, and in doing so prepare the way for the successful British socialist revolution, that will completely smash up every part of the British capitalist state, to bring in socialism.