The nub of the Andrew Mitchell affair is that he is a cyclist. He was told by the police that he was not allowed to cycle where cars and other wheeled traffic could but would have to take the pedestrian route. His anger was justified, and reminiscent of Virginia Woolf's anger because as a lady she was not allowed to walk on the grass in a Cambridge college (see A Room of One's Own). As I steamed with Virginia Woolf as she stormed away from the college, so I mentally swore at the policeman along with Andrew Mitchell.
Andrew Mitchell denied he used the word "pleb" but wouldn't enlarge on what he did say. My theory is that he call the policeman "fucking petrolhead." The police are petrolheads after all. Their image of themselves at their most heroic are the car door slamming Sweeney or siren-blasting car chasers in every second Hollywood film.
In our car-and-driver dominated culture that would be a worse insult and far more politically dangerous than "pleb". Class insults are bad, race insults worse, but topping them all is outraging the sense of entitlement the internal combusters have. The only successful street, or rather road politics that occur, are blockades by lorry drivers against rising petrol prices. The government caves in at once, though it will ignore millions marching against a war in Iraq. The rage that you most often see expressed in this country is road rage by the thwarted motorist, whose sense that he must have total, quick and easy access to every part of the country is as absolute as Charles I's to his divine right to rule. The internal combusters are the great majority and cities are built and the countryside paved around their needs and desires. Foreign police i.e. grovelling to the repulsive Saudi Arabian government is a direct result of their requirements for oil.
This of course has not been made explicit. The tabloids have projected the affair as our heroic police being abused by an arrogant toff, They won't make explicit to their readers that they are truckling to their pleasure at the thought of a cyclist forced to go pedestrian any more than they tell them that their fascination in three in a bed romps, dressed up as righteous morality and public interest, is simple prurience. The Labour party were happy to follow the populist line and take a chance to poke the Tories, but in fact Labour are bigger petrol eaters than the Tories who at least have David Cameron and Boris Johnson on bikes. (Ed Miliband and Ken Livingstone are taxi and limousine men). They know who fills their petrol tank.
Follow the money? No - follow the oil traces on the tarmac.
Andrew Mitchell - the cycling martyr who fought back. RE-INSTATE HIM AS TORY CHIEF WHIP NOW!