Monday diary: Has Jon Gaunt loved the Police Federation to death?

This PR maestro, hired to advise the police over Plebgate, has questions to answer

Share
Related Topics

Each man kills the thing he loves, wrote Oscar Wilde in The Ballad of Reading Gaol, and in a more recent crime setting the old boy may well be proved correct. No one loves the Police Federation like my friend Jon Gaunt, the son of a copper who bragged about taking his truncheon to a mentally infirm arsonist, so one understands why the West Midlands branch hired Jon and his brother Jason, who trade in Coventry as Gaunt Brothers, as PR advisers over Plebgate. Who wouldn’t want counsel from the genius who included Rolf Harris in his Top 10 Greatest Brits? At first it went spiffingly after The Sun – another Gaunt Bros client, by weird coincidence – broke the Andrew Mitchell story. Gaunty had officers issued with “PC Pleb” T-shirts, and arranged a meeting between the Sutton Coldfield MP and Federation officials.

Alas, it now seems not only that the pleb accusation was false, but that the details of this meeting were finessed, in contradiction of a tape made at the time, to make Mr Mitchell look shifty and cocky. Until Gaunty’s role in the fiasco is fully investigated, let no one rush to judgment. It could prove that the Brothers Dimm – “Discover how the Police Federation ... have benefitted [sic] from our media training and advice”, their website insists – are no purveyors of fairy tales after all. However, if this government is inspired finally to dismantle the last great union barony, the credit will go to the man who literally loved the Police Federation to death.

If anyone has the balls to do so, it is Theresa May. Already the Home Secretary has proved impressively intransigent towards the police, and now we glimpse the cause. “I have been a Geoff Boycott fan all my life,” she laughingly tells the Daily Telegraph. “It was just that he solidly got on with it.” Whether domestic violence campaigners will approve of her worshipping someone with a French conviction for brutally assaulting a girlfriend is anyone’s guess. Either way, we look forward to Mrs May penetrating the corridor of uncertainty regarding Plebgate, and smashing the Federation to smithereens if required.

Curiously, The Sun has yet to say sorry to Mr Mitchell for being suckered by its sources. No one could blame it for that error. It’s hardly as if it has experience of police mendacity to ring the alarm bells, concerning rather more tragic results from the failure to open a gate at a football ground. But even Kelvin McKenzie will concede that there comes a time when an apology is warranted. With the Leveson kaleidoscope in flux, the demented arrogance is best kept hidden for now.

Critic inconvenienced

Strife on Radio 5 Live on Friday, when the film critic Mark Kermode rebuked Shelagh Fogerty for introducing him as “Commode” rather than “Cur-mode”, which he prefers. If being mistakenly saddled with a humorous-sounding name worries him, he could always revert to the original. Mark Fairie.

DNA evidence doubts

Elsewhere on BBC radio, I am outraged to find James Naughtie attacked for slovenly interviewing. David Balding, a genetics professor, lacerates Jim over a chat in July with the owner of an ancestors-tracing firm who claimed to have used DNA to establish that a 69-year-old Edinburgh woman is related to the Queen of Sheba, and a retired chap in the Highlands is directly descended from Eve. “Complete and utter balderdash,” says the Prof. “We were shocked by the pathetic lame interviewing...” A shameful slur, as is the imputation of a failure to declare an interest. Brevity is of the essence on Today, and Jim simply didn’t have the time to mention that Alastair Moffat, not a scientist himself, is the old friend for whose latest book he wrote the introduction.

Another sharp arrow

Fears that Sid Waddell’s absence would ruin Sky viewers’ enjoyment of the PDC world darts championships recede. John Gwynne does his utmost to replicate the verbal acuity that made Sid so beloved. “Webster, who in that leg bemused me beyond, well ... understanding,” observed Mr Gwynne on Saturday. This fresh insight into the meaning of “bemused” was brilliant, if unsurprising. Mr Gwynne used to teach English.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor’s Letter: The Sussex teenager killed fighting in Syria

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Actor Zac Efron  

Keep your shirt on Zac – we'd all be better for it

Howard Jacobson
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit