The ‘disappointment’ of Andrew Mitchell

14 November 2012

Former Chief Whip Andrew ‘Thrasher’ Mitchell has been reflecting on his salad days. In an interview with Cambridge University’s alumni magazine, which one presumes was given some time before the row with a Downing Street police officer which ended his career, Mitchell recalls his arrival at Jesus College in 1975:

‘I came here straight out of the army – literally direct from Brize Norton. I drove up with my four boxes of worldly possessions, unpacked and then lay on the bed.’

That army career (an eight-month short service commission after leaving Rugby School), gets multiple mentions: ‘having arrived straight from the army’ he ‘had very short hair [and] stood up straight.’


Military men always stick together. Mitchell describes how his Head Porter, a ‘wonderful man’ called Regimental Sergeant Major West, would say to him:

‘All these loutish students! At least you stand up straight, sir.’

It couldn’t last. Mitchell confesses:

‘By the time I had been in Cambridge six months, my hair was long, I slouched. I was such a disappointment to him.’

Poor Sergeant Major West must be devastated if he’s still around today.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us now.

  • statechaos

    The sad thing about Andrew Mitchell is that he lost his job as Chief Whip for all the wrong reasons. You should lose your job because you have been found wanting in that job. As it is he never had a chance to prove himself. He should not have lost his job because people who don’t even know him think they don’t like him or because of the prejudices fired up by media reporting of events which we have no definitive facts about. People are quite happy to believe what the ‘police’ say about a Tory MP but not what they say about Hillsborough or Orgreave. The police are saints when it suits us and devils when it doesn’t. What a sad , hypocritical and prejudiced country we have become.

    • Peter Brownp

      Mitchell lost his job simply because he made his position as Chief Whip untenable. He did not have the respect of the Tory Membership.

  • Bernard Siddall

    I would love to buy Andrew Mitchel for what he is worth and sell him for what he “thinks” he is worth. I would never have a financial concern for the rest of my life !

  • PaderB

    Having served for only 8 months, having a haircut and standing up straight would be all he was trained to do. However, a time served soldier would retain those attributes a lot longer.

    Perhaps Cameron will bring him back into Government as Defence Secretary as he has all that military experience.

  • delingpoo

    I’m sure that’s not how you spell Brise Norton?

    • Gus

      I’m certain it is.

  • Sonodboudicca

    8 months? When I started as an officer in the RN, the training was three and a half years. Perhaps the standards in the Army are lower.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here