Back to Front PageIt would be nice to think that the people on the public payroll are up to the jobs for which they are generally overpaid. But they will keep proving that they are about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

Plebs At The Gates

A deeply unpopular Tory chief whip rides his bike up to the Downing Street gates and expects the coppers on duty to open the gates, as they have been doing earlier in the day. But he runs into a particularly obstructive jobsworth copper, he is obliged to use the smaller gate for pedestrians, and he exits Downing Street muttering curses and feeling hard done by.

The coppers, worried about being told off for showing disrespect to a senior political figure, cobble together a false report in their log. As the Tory chief whip is involved, someone decides it would be a good idea to pretend that he called them "plebs". An off-duty copper joins the conspiracy by pretending to be a member of the public who witnessed the incident, and he provides an account which matches the log entry in an illiterate email.

As the chief whip is rather full of himself and less than popular, the newspapers and just about everyone else prefer to believe the police story (or go along with it as something they'd like to believe is true). The Police Federation rushes into full victim mode over "Plebgate" and coppers turn up in "PC Pleb" T-shirts at their annual conference.

The Cabinet Secretary "investigates" the matter and lets the Prime Minister know that, sadly, there is no hope for his chief whip, who gets the push. But the chief whip didn't get where he is by going quietly.

He asks to see the CCTV footage of Downing Street on the day in question. Surprise! It shows a relatively brief confrontation and no earwigging passers-by.

Which means that the coppers on gate-duty are exposed as log over-eggers and the "passer-by" is outed as an off-duty copper. The Cabinet Secretary is exposed as a jobsworth, who didn't make any sort of investigation of the incident, probably because he wasn't competent to do so. The Prime Minister is exposed as an idiot who cleared the decks of an inconvenience without making an effort to get to the truth of the matter.

So what happens as a result of all this? Nobody gets the sack or suspended or fined or prosecuted for misconduct in office or attempting to pervert the course of justice, of course, because everyone involved is in the public sector. The sacked chief whip gets another government job in due course as compensation for putting up with a gross injustice. The dust settles until the next shock horror comes along and the inevitable cover-up fails. Because that's how things work in and around the Government.

At least nobody ended up dead this time.

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