Like a previous Conservative cabinet minister, Andrew Mitchell sought to deploy the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of fair play against the British media, and he lost. The judge in Mr Mitchell’s libel case was clear that he had indeed used the much-disputed and endlessly discussed term “pleb”. Thus has “Plebgate” been settled.
It was all in the final flourish of Alistair Carmichael’s statement. We could, he said, achieve “home rule all round”. The phrase is venerable, coined by 19th-century Liberals and nationalists who wanted federal Britain to make Irish and Scottish home rule acceptable to the rest of the United Kingdom.