Friday, 28 November 2014
The Perils Of An Incomplete Classical Education.
Andrew Mitchell born in Hampstead the son of another Tory MP, Sir David Mitchell, was educated at Rugby school, studied history at Jesus College Cambridge and was an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment. A typical Tory then, born into a privileged world, the beneficiary of an expensive education, arrogant, rude and prone to approaching every problem with an open mouth. A pity then that he doesn't seem to have learned very much during his stellar career. It's never a good idea to badmouth a copper, as any working class kid could have told him, but its even a worse idea to take a newspaper into court on a flimsy charge of libel. He should have known better. That he didn't probably explains his use of the term "pleb" as an insult. His classical education should surely have informed him that in ancient Rome such an insult would have made no sense. During the early phase of its history Roman society was indeed divided between a privileged and wealthy patrician class and an underprivileged and much poorer plebeian class. However, over time many in the patrician class lost much of their wealth and their privileged position while many in the plebeian class gained both wealth and positions of great influence. During the Republic the Tribune of the Plebs, who by law had to be a member of the plebeian class, was the only politician who could enact legislation and could veto any law proposed by a Senate that could only only suggest new laws and not enact them. Marcus Antonius (Mark Anthony) was a plebeian as was Gaius Marius, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great). In fact the policemen that Andrew Mitchell called "f*****g plebs" are in very good company - except, perhaps, when dealing with an ill-educated lout like Andrew Mitchell.