The Latest Political Scandal In London Has The Best Name Yet

British Police

Photo: Dafne Cholet/Flickr

In the past few years, the political scandals coming out of London’s political elites have followed a linguistic pattern — the suffix “-gate”.For example, Hackgate — last year’s huge scandal over widespread phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper wing, News International, eventually led to Horsegate — the scandal over whether former New of the World editor Rebekah Brooks was given a horse by London police, and whether British Prime Minister David Cameron ever rode on said horse.

Of course, the Brits didn’t invent the term — it refers to the Watergate hotel — and it appears all over the world, but it appears to have reached new heights of absurdity in the UK.

Now there’s a new scandal which is taking the practice to its logical conclusion.

Last Wednesday, a member of the Conservative government’s cabinet, Andrew Mitchell, reportedly swore at a police officer after he was reprimanded for attempting to cycle through the main gate on the home of British politics, Downing Street. Mitchell was directed towards a smaller gate, but apparently swore at the female police officer who had ordered him to do so.

According to leaked documents seen by the Sun, Mitchell “raged” at the woman’s colleagues, saying “You’re “f***ing plebs.” While Downing Street contradicts this version of events, it’s set off a storm of media coverage in the UK over the use of the word “pleb”, which is often used in the UK as a derogatory term for working class people.

The name for this scandal?


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