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

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

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teacher Cornwall

£21500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: ***KS1 & KS2 Teachers ...

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Day In a Page

Read Next

i Editor's Letter: A huge step forward in medical science, but we're not all the way there yet

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron has painted a scary picture of what life would be like under a Labour government  

You want constitutional change? Fixed-term parliaments have already done the job

Steve Richards
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album