In September 2012 Andrew Mitchell, the UK Government Chief Whip, had an altercation with policemen on guard at the gate of Downing Street. There is some dispute at what was said but Mitchell has apologised to the policemen and his apology has been accepted.
Since then the UK media has pursued the story ad nauseam. The public has long since lost interest, in what is by any rational standards, a very trivial story, but still the media struggle desperately to keep the story alive, aided by the police and the Labour Party.
It is all clearly a fuss about nothing, so what is really happening?
I suspect that the incident is being used to try and bring down a government minister and each of the three parties, police, press and Labour, have their own agenda.
When Labour were in power the police had power and privilege. The government gave them whatever they wanted and made no attempt to disturb the UK's last bastion of Spanish Practices [Spanish Practices is a UK expression that refers to irregular or restrictive working practices].
Times have changed and they are finding life harder under the Coalition. They are grumpy and sullen. I suspect they want to bring down Mitchell to show the Government they are still a power to fear.
I think they have made a big mistake in picking this fight with the Conservatives. Even if the police succeeded in forcing Mitchell out that will not save them and the Conservatives will take a terrible revenge. The police should remember what happened to the miners after they humiliated Ted Heath's Government in 1974. As Walpole remarked "they are ringing their bells, soon they will be wringing their hands".
The Conservatives bear grudges. If they are unhappy they do something about it. They will exact their revenge on the police at some later date in a compelling and thorough fashion.
Why are the press pursuing the story? Partly for the same reasons as the police. The internet has greatly diminished their influence and they would like to show they are still a power in the land. Also, they fear that they are due for a giant ass whipping for past misdeeds [phone hacking, corrupting public servants etc.]. What is puzzling is why they think annoying the government is the best way to mitigate the ass whipping. It isn't.
Also, like the scorpion in The Scorpion and the Frog story, they cannot help themselves.
The BBC has foolishly joined in the press campaign and will also have their panties taken down in the future, probably via the Jimmy Savile affair.
Incidentally, the press have claimed that Mitchell called the police plebs. I do not believe that for a moment. That sounds like an invention by a tabloid journalist [or the police]. The BBC has repeated the pleb claim over and over again without once, to my knowledge, questioning whether it is true.
These losers think they can score some political points off the Conservatives. That might have worked at first but now they just seem like weak and tiresome political opportunists. They need to give it a rest and stop flogging a dead horse.
Meanwhile, a 61 year old blind man who has suffered two strokes was tased by Lancashire Police who claim they mistook his white cane for a samurai sword. Apart from reinforcing my belief that it is a mistake to arm the stupid, it will be interesting to see how the police, media and Labour Party respond to the incident. It is clearly much more serious than the Mitchell affair. Will the Police Federation call for PC Taser to be sacked? I doubt it. Did the media give this appalling incident the same attention as the Mitchell affair. No, they did not. Will Miliband mention it in Parliament. Don't hold your breath.