Andrew Mitchell MP

David Cox
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Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby David Cox » 21 Sep 2012, 5:41pm

The controversy about this MP's language and attitude to the police which looks to be appalling and doesn't help cyclists' reputation. Is there a policy issue linked to his behaviour while cycling away from No 10? Should he be dismounting a push through the pedestrian gate (always authority's preference) or using the vehicle gate on his vehicle from the photos this his is preference. When you approach a building entrance on your bike do you go through the pedestrian path or the vehicle one? For several years I worked at a hospital where there was a narrow and quite long pedestrian pathway through bushes where cycling could be inconvenient for pedestrians and this also involved hiking the bike up a curb. Alternatively there was a car park barrier which required either an electronic pass or a conversation with security via a microphone. On the way out it would rise automatically if a steel bike was positioned just right on some underground magnetic trigger. I tried to persuade Estates to put in a route for cyclists or even a slope on the curb to no avail. What's your experience?

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al_yrpal
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby al_yrpal » 21 Sep 2012, 5:55pm

There are loads of people on bikes who get us all a bad name, so I don't think this will make any difference at all. To be chief whip you have to be a bit of a Rottweiler coupled with a big ego, but he has made himself look stupid.
Walking through the pedestrian area in Reading this morning dodging illegal cyclists and watching others jump red lights does far more damage to public perception.

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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby snibgo » 21 Sep 2012, 6:53pm

David Cox wrote:When you approach a building entrance on your bike do you go through the pedestrian path or the vehicle one?

Through the vehicle entrance. That's what my bike is when I'm riding it.

If a place provides a good cycling entrance, I'll use it. I'll be a pedestrian only as a last resort.

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Si
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby Si » 21 Sep 2012, 8:53pm

Note - his actions have also become the subject of this thread: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=68389

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Si
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby Si » 21 Sep 2012, 9:01pm

If in/on a vehicle I will normally use the vehicle entrance (but may choose otherwise depending upon context).
But if instructed by the police to do otherwise I would comply but would register a query as to why I was being told to use the wrong entrance.
I would not go off the deep end about it like he did* as it should have been plain that that would serve no purpose.

*Although so far (as asked elsewhere) I've only heard the report of what the Sun says he said, and so am keeping an open mind as to what he might really have said until I see corroboration from a more reliable source.


As to him giving cyclists a bad name - nope, I think he will be seen as a member of the govt, a tory and a posh boy before he is identified as a cyclist...three crimes that are even more heinous than being a cyclist in certain parts of the media.

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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby thelawnet » 21 Sep 2012, 9:31pm

I don't like the police telling me what to do either. If they do, I would tend to be politely argumentative, recognising that they ultimately have more power than me.

He obviously felt that he had more power than they, and behaved accordingly.

It might be they are only accountable to more senior officers.

Presumably if a more senior officer had spoken to an uppity policeman, or an Army Major to a Private, in this fashion they would not have gone moaning to the media.

I am not convinced the police can have it both ways. Either he spoke effectively as a member of the public and they have no accountability to him whatsoever, in which case from what I see on 'Road Wars' etc. they experience far worse on a daily basis, and they need to get over it. Or he had some authority, in which case they should have opened the gate when requested, and again they should really get over it.

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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby thirdcrank » 21 Sep 2012, 10:14pm

It's much less common than it once was to have police providing security like this: elsewhere, it's generally people such as porters, security personnel or members of the Corps of Commissionaires. I've suggested several times on here before that it's a good idea to treat anybody doing the security in a courteous, or even friendly way and take the time to have a chat. Many people like to have their position recognised be they VIPs or in more lowly jobs. Beyond that, security work tends to be boring for most of the time so there can be a motive for creating your own entertainment.

I don't suppose people who have achieved positions like chief whip have to bother too much about the security of their bikes, but I suspect with a slightly different approach he might have been riding though the main gate with a some friendly Bradley Wiggins quips. For the rest of us, it's the best way to be able to keep your bike in a nice warm boiler room, under the watchful eye of a friend. :D

thelawnet
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby thelawnet » 22 Sep 2012, 1:32am

Occasionally I amuse myself by reading motorists tales of woe on 'pepipoo' about how they got pulled over doing 85mph and how it was so unfair.

Invariably it seems that the harshness of the police response depends on whether they have been said to have 'failed the attitude test'.

(Aka being an ***)

It seems he's used to shouting at people to tell them what to do. But it didn't work here....

I can only imagine that he rode up to the gate, waited expectantly and nothing happened and it went wrong from there.....

He should get David Cameron's chauffeur to drive in front of him to get the gate open for him.

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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby byegad » 22 Sep 2012, 8:12am

It's a problem.
Do we believe the nice policeman because we know the police never lie or collude with other policemen to alter evidence when it may help the image of the police.
OR
Do we believe the nice politician, a humble person with altruistic aims for society which led him to sacrifice another career in order to serve the public and, of course, who always tells the truth.

Difficult.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby thirdcrank » 22 Sep 2012, 9:19am

I only read the bit on the BBC www and I didn't see anything quoting a policeman, nice or otherwise, or even an unnamed source close to a nice policeman. The area seems to be teeming with hacks and their runners and I had assumed tat this story began in that quarter. Whatever, it does show how this story has the legs to run, until something else knocks it off the front page in its turn. This isn't going to be a case of "Now, Andrew, what do you want to say?" and a mumbled apology. A chief whip's job takes him to No. 10 all the time so unless he parachutes in and abseils out, he'll be going through that gate a lot. Every time, at least till they lose interest, it will be reporters asking if he's going to resign, and photographers snapping away. All that against a background of ambitious tories, all with their knives at the ready....

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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby kwackers » 22 Sep 2012, 9:21am

thirdcrank wrote:All that against a background of ambitious tories, all with their knives at the ready....

And I thought they served for the greater good...

:lol:

Fasgadh
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby Fasgadh » 22 Sep 2012, 11:16am

Yes this is already being used by the bike haters. I have a feeling that some folk find the bike more offensive than the public school bullytalk.

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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby reohn2 » 22 Sep 2012, 2:10pm

kwackers wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:All that against a background of ambitious tories, all with their knives at the ready....

And I thought they served for the greater good...

:lol:

They do, their greater good :?
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby PBA » 24 Sep 2012, 6:16pm

Surely Mr. Mitchell has been to Downing Street before. It seems likely to me that his outburst was as a result of being asked to do something which he does not normally do... I infer from that - he normally cycles through the vehicle gate.

Have the police been asked to explain why they changed the rules in this instance? It doesn't justify his outburst of course. He should know better and deserves anything now coming his way! I'd like it to be fair though and see the police held to account too. :D

skidd
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby skidd » 24 Sep 2012, 7:02pm

I would like to know the full story behind the Andrew Mitchell incident.

Could anyone definitively answer these questions?

  • What would have happened if Andrew Mitchell had been in a car?
  • What was he told to do when he cycled (i.e was he obliged to dismount, lose any time, produce identity etc etc)?
  • Was the officer following orders?
  • Do we have a government and/or police force which genuinely wants to encourage cycling?
  • If Andrew Mitchell was ordered to modify his behavior purely because he was on his bike as opposed to in a car, do the authorities concerned have similar differentiating policies for women, gays and polaks?

Steve Kidd

PS. bearing in mind that Britain is the most electronically surveyed and recorded country in the world, does anybody believe for a moment that the entrance to Downing Street, 40 yards away and the only access to the house of the tenth most powerful person in a world of 6 billion is without a camera? What happened, did Fiona decide to tape Top Gear?