In a remarkable piece of political interventionism, the Telegraph today calls for Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell to resign following his infamous "pleb" salvo at police officers on duty outside Downing Street.
"The problem is", says an editorial, "he is a walking, talking embodiment of everything with which David Cameron would least like his party to be associated."
Cameron's speech in Birmingham argued passionately that his party's mission is to create a society in which everyone has "the means, motive and opportunity to fulfil their potential". The Mitchell affair reinforces the exact opposite impression - a stereotype of Tories as arrogant toffs tripping out of one fine-dining establishment after another, with no time for the majority of people they're supposed to govern.
Mitchell seems also to have lost the respect of party rank-and-file for retoxifying the party image. "It is, of course, unfair that a successful ministerial career should end thanks to an intemperate outburst." But, for the sake of his party, "he should do the decent thing and stand down."