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Prescott deals a blow to his own electorate (literally!)

By cezarg in News
Sun May 20, 2001 at 01:35:46 PM EST
Tags: Humour (all tags)

Most news agencies in Britain are reporting about a very direct "response" that John Prescott issued yesterday to one of the members of the public who initiated a confrontation with him.

John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Transport in the UK, replied with a direct punch to the chin of a hapless protestor after the man had thrown an egg at John. The incident took place in North Wales yesterday and quickly became the headline news of the political campaign in the UK.

The Register has hilarious coverage of the incident. For a more serious version with the essential spin doctoring sprinkled throughout check out the BBC coverage.

John Prescott is one of the least popular British politicians as he's percieved as the main initiator of the outrageous hikes in petrol taxes that were supposed to be a part of his programme of improving the public transport infrastructure. The reform essentially resulted in higher fuel prices and no tangible benefits in return for the extra costs that motorists have to endure. Farming and transportation industry were hit particularly hard by the increasing fuel costs. The hypocrisy of the programme was highlighted by the fact that John himself is a proud owner of two Jaguar vehicles: admittedly not the most fuel economical means of getting to work in the morning. In honour of the fact British tabloid press christened Mr. Prescott as "Two Jags".


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Whom would you throw your egg at?
o John Prescott 6%
o Tony Blair 22%
o Peter Mandelson 0%
o Robin Cook 12%
o Inoshiro 59%

Votes: 66
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o The Register
o coverage
o Also by cezarg

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Prescott deals a blow to his own electorate (literally!) | 51 comments (43 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
No (4.52 / 17) (#1)
by trhurler on Thu May 17, 2001 at 11:35:50 AM EST

I am sorry, but if you are throwing something at someone, then you do not qualify as "hapless" unless you're under the age of ten. Throw an egg at me, and I'll do worse than tip your jaw:)

And when you consider that Siggy is second only to trhurler as far as posters whose name at the top of a comment fill me with forboding, that's sayin
Element of Surprise. (4.60 / 5) (#3)
by RocketJeff on Thu May 17, 2001 at 11:45:40 AM EST

Given the increase in the number of pie/egg/whatever throwers over the past few years, I'm surprised that this hasn't happened more often. Surprise anyone with a physical attack and a counter-attack has to be likely.

I'm actually more surprised that this wasn't because of a pie. You've got to get really close to hit someone in the face with a pie (bad aerodynamics), but an egg makes a good distance weapon.

[ Parent ]

Me too (none / 0) (#49)
by Otter on Mon May 21, 2001 at 06:51:24 PM EST

I'm continually amazed that the media continue to portray pie throwing and the like as a cute, harmless activity. To my mind, it's a physical assault on the body of the target and ought to be punished as such. I certainly can't blame the target for throwing a punch or two.

I can't help but think that if Operation Rescue were hitting feminists or abortion clinic workers with pies, the spin would be a lot different.

And if I were Bill Gates, I would have offered $50,000 to the first person to pie the guy who got him. To be repeated each day, for the next 60 days. I mean, what's $50 billion good for if not that?

[ Parent ]

Yeah (3.80 / 5) (#6)
by wiredog on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:00:03 PM EST

I would call the egg throwing assault. And the punch self-defense.

"Anything that's invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things", Douglas Adams
[ Parent ]
Self-defense (2.50 / 2) (#25)
by Nikolai on Fri May 18, 2001 at 01:50:30 AM EST

I would call the egg throwing assault. And the punch self-defense.

Self-defense against what? Was the guy about to throw another egg?

If the attack was already made and there was no danger of more attacks, what was he defending himself from?

[ Parent ]

The best defence... (none / 0) (#33)
by pallex on Fri May 18, 2001 at 06:56:25 AM EST

...is striking first!

[ Parent ]
Well (5.00 / 2) (#35)
by wiredog on Fri May 18, 2001 at 09:38:27 AM EST

You've already been hit once, the guy that hit you is still within striking distance, and you don't know his intentions. Ensuring that he can't harm you further is self defense.

"Anything that's invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things", Douglas Adams
[ Parent ]
Self-defence...? (2.50 / 4) (#7)
by kaemaril on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:01:21 PM EST

And then you'd be arrested for assault. Self-defence must be proportional. You're not allowed to beat the living daylights out of somebody if they happen to hit you with a pea-shooter. Or even an egg.

If this had been a dispute between two normal people in the street I'd be very surprised if they weren't both carted off for questioning by our boys in blue. Good job politicians are above the law (cf Jack Straw)

Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?

[ Parent ]
Depends (3.66 / 3) (#13)
by trhurler on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:21:05 PM EST

A prosecutor(at least in the US,) is probably going to want some sort of reason why he should pursue such a case; you'd have to have pull, or I'd have to cause you permanent harm, or something like that. Or maybe if it got a lot of bad press, maybe because of a racial issue or something. Otherwise, this is an unimportant case with ridiculous circumstances where lots of jurors would be sympathetic to the defendant and the judge would likely feel that his time was being wasted. That's known in the lingo as a "bad career move." Remember, prosecutor is not an appointment for life, or in some places, an appointment at all - they're quite often elected around here.

And when you consider that Siggy is second only to trhurler as far as posters whose name at the top of a comment fill me with forboding, that's sayin
[ Parent ]
Oh, you WOULD be arrested... (3.50 / 2) (#16)
by kaemaril on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:15:29 PM EST

But you might not face any charges. Certainly, the UK police will arrest you at the drop of a hat for assault. The CPS may decline to press charges and/or the police may well let you go, but our police don't take changes. They'll slap you in cuffs soon as look at you. Rightly or wrongly.

Conversely, of course, sometimes it's the CPS who are the fanatical idiots and the police who take a more tolerant approach. As with the recent case of the 11 year old boy prosecuted for racially aggravated assault.

Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?

[ Parent ]
Does assaulting the Welsh count (none / 0) (#31)
by eWulf on Fri May 18, 2001 at 06:26:42 AM EST

...maybe because of a racial issue or something.

Frivolous point really but the attacker was Welsh.  Does this count:->

[ Parent ]
not really (none / 0) (#42)
by wib on Sun May 20, 2001 at 05:54:18 PM EST

unless you are Anne Robinson.


-- McDonalds? if i want some anti-biotics i'll go see my doctor.
[ Parent ]
It does depend.. (3.33 / 3) (#22)
by gridwerk on Thu May 17, 2001 at 04:02:20 PM EST

I know and have checked into it in the US state of Arizona that if someone hits me I can hit them as many times as I want in the intial hit, it is only after you persue them after they have fallen or retreated to continue to hit them does it become assult and no longer self defence.

[ Parent ]
not if you were raised in a public school (4.16 / 6) (#19)
by Seumas on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:32:59 PM EST

If you were raised in a public school system, the appropriate way to respond would have been to calmy sit and speak with the person, understanding that there may be socio-economic issues that drove the person to be so violent. If they do it again, turn the other cheek and let them peg you again. After all, perhaps they had an unfortunate upbringing in a non-liberal household and didn't have the benifits of Nintendo and Tinky Winky or Sesame Street during their formative years.

Of course, if they're a loner, wearing black or have any musical item on their person that promotes or contains material other than by Peter, Paul and Mary or the Beatles, then they are obviously dangerous agressors that are a massive risk to society and you should immediately have your Secret Police tackle them, arrest them and imprison them for life.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

egg-zactly! (3.75 / 4) (#21)
by xdc on Thu May 17, 2001 at 02:13:52 PM EST

I am sorry, but if you are throwing something at someone, then you do not qualify as "hapless"
Exactly. I saw video of the incident on Fox News, and it's clear that Mr. Prescott reacted reasonably. The egg man acted inappropriately and deserved to be punched. How such an attacker can be painted as a victim is beyond me.

Deputy Prime Minister Prescott's quality of leadership and policy-making is irrelevant. As an American, I'm unfamiliar with the UK domestic policies he has supported or enacted. It's entirely conceivable that a sizable portion of his consituency feels he deserved to be hit in the head with an egg. Even so, they should acknowledge that Prescott was justified in hitting back.

[ Parent ]

Minus one, materially misleading (3.10 / 10) (#2)
by streetlawyer on Thu May 17, 2001 at 11:37:14 AM EST

Prescott has never had any tax-varying powers, and the increases in fuel duty were part of an "escalator" policy aimed at reducing hydrocarbon usage; a policy which began in the previous government and which had cross-party support until last year.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
I remember a debate (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by cezarg on Thu May 17, 2001 at 11:56:35 AM EST

where he was defending the fuel tax increases. I assumed it was his responsibility or at least he had some weight in those decisions. You're right that I should've verified the facts but I did say in the article that he's perceived responsible. I never said he actually was.

[ Parent ]
+, NOT materially misleading (3.50 / 2) (#10)
by kaemaril on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:05:49 PM EST

He's PERCEIVED as being the root of all evil as far as most motorists are concerned. Including me ;)

Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?

[ Parent ]
'Two Jags' (4.62 / 8) (#8)
by Afty on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:01:24 PM EST

The irony of this man and his initiatives to cut down transport usage by the British public was hightlighted at the annual conference of his political party.

When faced with a walk of around 150 yards from hotel to conference venue, he had a large chauffer driven executive car pick him and his wife up from the steps of the hotel and drive them for approximately 15 seconds down the road where they got out.

When asked about this that evening by the press he blustered for a while, before explaining that his wife didn't want the strong winds to mess up her hair. Seriously.

This man was one of the principle reasons my petrol bill went up to 90 a week($150 approx?) to travel to my first job when I left college.

The US can beat that (4.66 / 6) (#17)
by weirdling on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:17:19 PM EST

Mr. Clinton idled Air Force One for forty-five minutes while he got a hair cut. Oh, and did I mention that he backed up all the other heavy traffic at the airport, too?
This was the 'ecology' president.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
First Glance (4.60 / 5) (#11)
by slick willie on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:11:59 PM EST

I thought the headline read that a politician "deals blow" not "deals a blow."

My initial reaction was, "Now that's an interesting way to stay elected..."

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

Hmmm (none / 0) (#32)
by pallex on Fri May 18, 2001 at 06:51:23 AM EST

I hear that a police chiefs son was arrested for possessing Ecstasy.
No doubt he`ll get the same treatment as everyone else.
Just like when the Home Secretaries son was found selling drugs in a pub and got a caution. Everyone gets a caution for selling drugs, dont they.

[ Parent ]
It's becoming quite a tradition. (2.50 / 2) (#18)
by jd on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:22:52 PM EST

A few years back, Mrs Thatcher had some flowers shoved in her face by an irate OAP.

Next election... Survival V -- Which of these people will survive whatever is (literally!) thrown at them?

I bet (none / 0) (#20)
by cezarg on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:55:22 PM EST

she didn't retaliate with a left jab to the jaw though. I think the punch looked fairly professional. Makes you think whether he's had some martial arts training.

[ Parent ]
He did have trainning (none / 0) (#30)
by Stick on Fri May 18, 2001 at 05:04:12 AM EST

He used to be an amatur boxer. The punch wasn't that powerful though, but fast. If had got his body behind it I doubt the guy would have stayed standing, but because it was mainly reaction he only got his shoulder behind it and not his whole back. Btw, I'm an assistant instructor at a kung fu club so I have some idea what I'm talking about. Also, any spelling mistakes in this are due to me being up all night getting my lan working.

[ Parent ]
I wonder if this is a phenomena... (4.00 / 2) (#23)
by cbatt on Thu May 17, 2001 at 04:55:08 PM EST

... of British and ex British colonies that have maintained strong ties to the mothership, such as my own Canada.

Just a few years ago, our Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, managed to get a nice little choke hold and a punch on a protestor that was "in his face" at some sort of demonstration or rally. Quite humorous actually... from a certain standpoint.

I'm wondering if this has also happened in Australia and/or New Zealand (as well as any other british commonwealth nations).

Before you can understand recursion
you must understand recursion.

Naaah (none / 0) (#24)
by cezarg on Thu May 17, 2001 at 07:05:45 PM EST

Does anyone else remember the fight in the Russian Duma sometime during the nineties? If I remember well, it was some communists that got into a fight with more liberal MPs. They quite literaly went at each other throwing punches and pushing each other. I think there were more than two involved. Don't remember what the reason was but the scene was pretty comical.

[ Parent ]
Happens all the time in Taiwai (none / 0) (#44)
by odaiwai on Mon May 21, 2001 at 12:20:44 AM EST

The Taiwanese parliament seems to work as a full contact forum - fights break out with amazing regularity.

-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]
violence (none / 0) (#27)
by chale on Fri May 18, 2001 at 02:38:20 AM EST

while a cream pie may be comical--oh, look, he got a pie in the face!!--or even just an egg thrown at ones back, it is assault.

if you resort to violence in protest, then you have crossed the line from protestor to attacker. while Mr Prescott's reaction to the attack was regrettable, it was a natural response.

it seems to me that Mr Evans was not expecting to get a direct physical response to his attack. to me, this shows a definite lack of intelligence or foresight. it also seems to show that the protests organisers weren't very careful about choosing the people they recruited to protest.(that is if Evans was part of an organised protest)

earnest protest and peaceful civil disobedience are both good tools when your purpose is to outline and try to change the faults you perceive in the world you live in. violence is not a good means to an end.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -John Muir

Justified and deserved (none / 0) (#28)
by GiTm on Fri May 18, 2001 at 03:28:53 AM EST

I don't know why you refer to the attacker as 'alleged' in the film clip the man who was punched was quite clearly the one who threw the egg.

Any violence in demonstrations is unacceptable, regardless of who initiates it. Unfortunately it is a natural human response to retaliate - and the egg-thrower got what he deserved in my opinion.

As for pie-throwing being comical, give me your address and I'll belt you in the face with one on your way to work and see how comical you find it then.

--- I have nothing funny to say here.
Alleged.... (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri May 18, 2001 at 03:53:55 AM EST

....because legaly speaking something has not happened until it is proven to have happened in a court of law, so if the intial poster would have said that the event happened for certain, then the egg thrower could sue our k5 friend.

Doublespeak in its purest form.

Lawyers, don't we love them all?

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
What about the punch? (1.00 / 1) (#39)
by Nick Ives on Sat May 19, 2001 at 09:08:59 AM EST

As the above poster pointed out, if the egg throwing is "alleged" why isnt the punch?

I think that in this case calling either "alleged" is a bit stupid, after all there is clear video footage showing the entire incident. Even if the egg thrower doesnt get charged with assult then he couldnt sue anyone for saying that he threw the egg because there is definate evidence to say he did. The only thing that a court of law has to decide was wether or not a crime was committed (i.e. was the egg throwing in this situation a crime?), not that it'll get that far, most likely the egg thrower (who's name I cant remember, but I saw him on the news last night) will get let off with a charge of assult or somesuch.


[ Parent ]

Is it the thrown egg which is alleged? (none / 0) (#34)
by eWulf on Fri May 18, 2001 at 07:32:09 AM EST

I would agree that the fact that the egg and the punch were thrown would be very difficult to deny (at least I saw both on the TV).

What I find curious is that according to the poster of the story the egg throwing was alleged but the punch wasn't. Surely if we were going to speak in legal anal-eese both events are alleged?

[ Parent ]
My Address (none / 0) (#41)
by moshez on Sun May 20, 2001 at 03:06:08 AM EST

Is in on my homepage. Wanna try?

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]
Two Jags (none / 0) (#36)
by Devil Ducky on Fri May 18, 2001 at 11:24:58 AM EST

I wonder if he has two sheds to keep his Jags in, because then they could call him John "Two Sheds" Prescott...

Those of you who laughed, laugh again at the people who didn't get it for they do not watch nearly enough Monty Python.

Devil Ducky

Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
Day trading at it's Funnest
allegedly? (1.00 / 1) (#38)
by fvw on Fri May 18, 2001 at 01:23:43 PM EST

Don't think it was allegedly, here's a vid of it happening. (the person who's hosting this might just kill me for linking to it, please mirror).

Go Prescott! (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by decaf_dude on Sun May 20, 2001 at 12:51:08 AM EST

That Craig fellow should be happy he wasn't taken down by Prescott's bodyguards!

I say this was the best possible reaction to the incident, and I tip my hat to John. He did not use any offensive weapon, which is illegal in UK even in self-defence, he threw a well-aimed punch at his assailant. Many of you say it's not fair to punch a guy for throwing an egg at him, but that egg could have easily been an acid-filled capsule. In the heat of the moment, you don't have time to perform a comprehensive chemical analysis of the matter splattering all over you!


Shocking! (none / 0) (#45)
by jynx on Mon May 21, 2001 at 04:17:53 AM EST

The British media have made a very bug thing about this. Although it's quite shocking, this is mainly because we very rarely see politicians behave in this way.

I think that it was a very human response, and that a lot of people would have reacted in the same way. This British electorate seem to agree - post-punch polls show no drop in Labour's lead.

Luckily for the Labour party, this incedent detracted attention away from another incident on the same day, in which a disgruntled voter chastized the Prime Minister for a full 4 minutes about the state of the NHS. The PM hardly managed to get a single word in edgeways before the voter stormed off, leaving a rather red-faced Tony. See the BBC story.


And on the same day, before Blair got harangued... (none / 0) (#47)
by keyeto on Mon May 21, 2001 at 10:57:47 AM EST

... Jack Straw got slow-hand-clapped by the Police Federation. The campaign team weren't terribly worried about the woman who harangued Blair, since she was attacking from a position further left than the Labour party (pretty easy nowadays). This meant she couldn't really be used by the other parties as part of an attack on Labour. The Police Fedearation was a little more worrying, since the Tories are gung-ho about law'n'order, and could quite easily use this to say that the Police are being undermined by Labour, whereas they of course, would always support the Police, leading to a more effective force.

So Prescott punching the guy was a gift to the campaign team. It's dominated the news since, with all the media saying it's done nothing to damage Labour's standing with the electorate (as far as you can measure that using polls), and may even have improved it a little.

"This is the Space Age, and we are Here To Go"
William S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]
Labours Greatest Demon (none / 0) (#48)
by jynx on Mon May 21, 2001 at 04:38:31 PM EST

Ah yes, I'd totally forgotton about that. The beeb have the story here.

On an almost totally irrelevant and somewhat juvenile note, I have never gotten over Jack Straw's shocking resemblance to The Demon Headmaster (scroll down, not the greatest picture but the best I could find in 30seconds).


[ Parent ]

I dont' know (none / 0) (#50)
by Ceebs on Tue May 22, 2001 at 06:47:48 AM EST

I saw that woman giving Blair a piece of her mind and I didn't think he handled himself that badly. If his minders hadn't dragged him away, it was starting to look as if he was getting on top of the situation. Given another couple of minutes and I think the woman would have even stood round to shake hands with Blair. When he started to talk to her he looked obviously rattled, but within half a minute started to get into his stride. Unfortunately most news programmes showed a very limited selection of the situation.

[ Parent ]
Edited? (none / 0) (#51)
by jynx on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:08:59 PM EST

Maybe I didn't see the whole thing, but the last image I saw of the situation was the woman storming off and Tony half following, half stuttering after her.


[ Parent ]

weak punch (none / 0) (#46)
by Ender Ryan on Mon May 21, 2001 at 10:56:32 AM EST

The only thing regrettable IMO is that Prescott didn't deliver a harder punch.

From the video, it really didn't look like Prescott was trying to really hurt him, the guy was in his face and Prescott just gave him a weak jab to the chin.

I don't see what the big deal is, I only wish more politicians were more "human".

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Prescott deals a blow to his own electorate (literally!) | 51 comments (43 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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