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Monday, 21 May, 2001, 14:21 GMT 15:21 UK
Did John Prescott overreact?
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, has insisted he was defending himself when he punched a protester who pelted him with an egg as he arrived for a speech in north Wales.
Mr Prescott has been followed by a group of fuel and countryside protests as he tours the country on his election battle bus. Last night he said he was acting in self defence when he was hit at by people in the crowd.
Opposition parties have criticised Mr Prescott reacting in the way he did saying politicians should keep their cool even when provoked.
What do you think? Do you agree that politicians should never be provoked or do you accept, in self defence, hitting back is acceptable, no matter what the profession?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
I find it unbelievable that all those opposition MP's are giving stick to Prescott. What would they do if they were assaulted, stand back and laugh? I think not. It shows the man is only a normal bloke.
I've watched all these comments since the incident happened and one I haven't yet seen raised is this man is the Deputy Prime Minister. He has clearly shown that, in a moment of high pressure he loses his 'cool', forgets who he is and reacts, swiftly.
If something happened to Mr Blair, that would instantly put him into the Prime Minister's seat. Heaven forbid that there is a crisis similar the one that the Americans had with China only a few weeks ago. A man with what I would class as 'standard' self-control should not be in a position where he can get to the big red button.
The Countryside Alliance yobbo should stick to killing defenceless small, furry animals that can't punch back!
A man in his position with the salary to go with it, should be able to stay cool and calm. Lets be honest, if he is sitting in a board room with foreign politicians and one of them throws a pencil at him in temper, does it mean our deputy prime minister should smack him one? I say he should get back in his pram.
Unbelievable! Evans commits a common assault and now HE wants to sue. How pathetic, especially if he's is allowed to! I may not agree with, or even like Prescott, but this was an assault. Has political correctness removed the basic rights of the individual from English law?
I do not think that Mr Prescott hit the chap for throwing the egg. The egg simply attracted his attention, and within a second of seeing that silly mullet haircut, he lashed out. I would have done the same. My wife says that I am jealous because I am bald, but seriously, have you ever met anyone with a crop like that who had anything intelligent to say. I guess not.
Sean Briggs, Brighouse, UK
Mr Prescott didn't appear to look to see who had thrown the Egg.
My God! What would have happened if it was a woman or even a child who had thrown it. It would appear Mr Prescott runs on a very short fuse!!!
Mr Evans deserved what he got. John Prescott was defending himself. How did he know it was just an egg? It could have been far worse. Does Mr Evans not have the intelligence to ask a question instead? No, he is obviously just a THUG!
I am a teacher. If one of my pupils had (Heaven forbid) thrown an egg at me, I would be expected to react with professionalism. Had I stuck the pupil, I would expect to be disciplined and possibly to lose my job. I feel sympathy for John Prescott, but he should, most certainly, step down.
Provoked? I think it is more than an ASSAULT! Why? An egg is just like "a stone of shame and insult" landed to J Prescott's face! And that lunatic is in front of him, what do the people expect him to do? Fight or flight? That lunatic deserves to be locked in jail! Not Prescott!
Juvy Beth Edgington, Cherstefield, Derby
Hey John boy, you got it wrong again, maybe if you were a little more in touch and had a better attitude to other people's needs, this sort of thing would not happen to you. Since when did an egg thrown at a politician constitute a physical threat?
Maybe all serving politicians should spend one day per year in the stocks so the people could throw rotten eggs, fruit etc and get all of this frustration out into the open before an election...
I don't believe in politicians getting special treatment from the law. However, I can only imagine how frightening it would have been to be struck by some object unknown from such a close range. John Prestcott reacted as many of us would have. I for one am much happier having the odd "human" in government than the sleek, polished, infallible phonies we are expected to fall for.
The real issue here though is security. Why were violent protestors allowed to attack the deputy prime minister of this country? It was an egg but it could have been something much more harmful.
Well done John, I'm only disappointed that you were unable to follow it up with a right upper cut. That bozo had no right to catch you off guard like that? It's just not right for the electorate to think that they can get away with assaulting a senior public figure like that and get away with it. You have my full support John. Don't give up.
I think that it should be remembered that he was attacked in the past at the Brit awards and as such was rather uneasy as he made his way down through that crowd of aggressive protestors. A late middle-aged man who had been attacked in the past was very badly protected by the police and, legitimately, defended himself after extreme provocation. Best wishes John
In years to come his actions will become the stuff of legend. Despite clear video evidence, to the contrary showing an out-of-wellied crowd of about 30 disgruntled Welsh farmers, in five years there will be about 50,000 people able to tell you how they were there, in the front line of British politics' "In Yer Face" Years.
Steve Cathro, Perth, Scotland
I am confused and angered by Blair's response to Prescott's behaviour. When my 18 year old nephew exchanged a punch with another young man(neither were really hurt). He was taken to the police station, subjected to police grilling and a court hearing. He was terrified that his future career would be affected and sorry that his family were so upset. His mother went through weeks of worry over the incident. She was not able to say laughingly that Mike was just Mike and get away with it.
A simple case of "fight or flight". I could not imagine this man running away from difficult decisions: perhaps that is the mark of a real leader!
I know Craig and he is a very nice young man. He is big enough to take a punch, and I say fair play to both of the protagonists. Nothing sells newspapers quite like a bit of violence. It was a free range organic egg apparently.
The Countryside Alliance is a group of scroungers living off the subsidies of the general taxpayer. I am heartily sick of seeing their vicious and undemocratic tactics. The action of that disgusting egg throwing yob against a democratically elected MP is very typical of their tactics.
Peter Mather, Barnsley UK
On the basis of my enemy's enemy is my friend, John Prescott is my kind of bloke. Not only does he run up against upper middle class trendies slumming it as a group and claiming to be anarchists, he is also targeted by a hunt supporter who torture hares in their spare time.
All he needs to do now is get more condemnation from the people who think it is OK to shoot a teenager in the back as he tries to run away while it is not OK, as a 62-year-old man, to defend himself against attack from a 29-year-old out to cause trouble and he will have the full set.
Would the country be as much for John Prescott's outburst if the egg thrower had been a woman? He clearly did not even look before he lashed out.
Pat, London, England
Mr Prescott, was right in hitting out. He used as little a force as necessary and it was evident that he was startled by this attack. It would be imprudent of the attacker to file suit in this matter. He obviously caused the problem, and if he raises an action it will be seen as an attack on Mr Prescott's position as Deputy Prime Minister. This could easily run away with any funds offered and leave him crippled financially for many years to come.
So, Mr. Evans is threatening Mr. Prescott with civil action if the deputy prime minister is not charged. This is, of course, perfectly gutless rubbish. Polling numbers indicate that the voters are not buying into Mr. Evans' whining either.
The best part for me was the look of sheer surprise on that violent thugs face when he realised he was going to get a slap.
Well done John I bet that yob thinks twice before he attacks another 62 year old who was innocently walking past him with his hands in his pockets. That protester is nothing but a cowardly nasty violent person and he should be charged with assault.
I think that people don't sometimes realise what a hard job it is to be a politician. The man who threw the egg (who probably just wanted to be popular) should try to be a politician for a day - trying to keep everybody happy whilst putting up with people throwing eggs.
David Bailey, Worthing, UK
John Prescott did not hit the egg assailant in self-defence it was retaliation. There is a very big difference. I think John Prescott is no better than any other street brawler and should have been arrested for affray.
Shame on him, if he cannot control his actions in public he should be in public office and therefore should resign as Deputy Prime Minister.
Good for John Prescott! Nurses are abused in this way every day - because thugs like Mr Evans think they are soft targets and can't retaliate. It's about time someone fought back.
I hope Labour take the same attitude towards thugs in their Law and Order Policy - and start fighting back against the yobs in their national policies.
Is it just me, or did the worthless individual pelt the Deputy PM from point blank when the gent wasn't even looking. It would have been more appropriate if Mr. Prescott had pulled out a pistol.
Would people like it if they were hit by eggs? I would love to see the protester's ugly mug if that happened to him. Why do people think that MPs deserve this? They are after all doing what they think is right.
This man is a buffoon and his action was entirely inappropriate for a so-called politician. This is just the most recent example of why he should not be in the government and representing our country and us.
Graham Critchley, London
Throwing an egg from such a short distance was the act of a mindless oaf. Prescott's response was instinctive - perhaps not the sort of thing he (or anyone else) would have liked to have done, but at least it was an honest reaction- perhaps the first one in the whole election campaign. Good for you, John!
Having done little to quell the culture of compensation, may I wish Mr Prescott all the best in what should surely be the ensuing legal wrangle.
Well done Precott, you haven't lost your common touch. Mohammed Ali will be proud of you!
There was a time when I respected and looked up to the leaders of our country. Now I see an ignorant group of people muddling through on spin and now violence. People should lead by example, and I'm afraid this government is certainly not setting a good one, particularly for our children.
Stuart Quick, California, (ex. UK)
A real politician - human, honest, and reacting in a totally understandable manner. Gets my vote!
I would like to see how those people who criticise the Deputy Prime Minister would react if someone hit them in the face with an egg from two feet away - say going into Tescos with the wife and kids. You would take it with dignity and go and look for a policeman. Yeh, sure you would. Well done John.
Nice one "Two-Jabs"
Yes? I am fed up with protesters who think they can do what they want and get away with it! Good for John Prescott. He made a stand as we all should. Fuel protesters go home we are fed up with you and your tactics. Grow up! The money has to come from somewhere.
Paul , Leicester
Makes "Mr Karate" Hague look the complete wimp he is. Very creditable left, John.
Is this the first instance of politician rage? Prescott should have risen above this. To 'wade in' is the action of the mindless yob not something you expect from your elected leaders.
John Prescott's reaction was over the top. As a politician you have to put up with the occasional egg thrower. You do not have the right to slap someone on the chin. Whilst I don't think he should have to resign, his actions are a poor example to the nation's youth. Clearly every Milbank employee has been asked to write in above! John Prescott should be charged in the same way I would if I punched someone else, whatever the provocation.
I despair at how devalued our political system has become when people defend Prescott's contemptible behaviour. He should be charged with assault, pure and simple. I am a Labour voter with certain reservations, but Prescott, Straw and Cook in particular have displayed none of the qualities suitable for any form of leadership. The man is a bully who should have had the good sense and the good humour to resist being draw into the fray over a fairly common form of protest - let us praise the power of the simple egg. In response to Gareth Warne, I suspect Mr Prescott may actually find himself on the receiving end of many more eggs after this incident.
Flip, London, UK
Tony Blair told Prescott to go out and 'press some flesh'. Obviously, he didn't realise that Prescott would use his fist when he was doing it!
Prescott did the right thing it doesn't matter who you are. You have the right to defend yourself. What was his bodyguard doing at the time?
I don't condone what John Prescott did but at least as a politician 'what you see is what you get. In contrast, with all the incumbent gloss and spin, its difficult to understand what Tony Blair actually stands for or what type of man he really is.
This is one of the few occasions where my sympathies are with John Prescott. I certainly cannot say that I wouldn't have reacted the same way as he did if someone had thrown an egg at me.
I also utterly disagree with comments on this page that politicians should expect to have eggs thrown at them, and that this is somehow normal behaviour. It is not, and I hope that the person who did it is at the very least fined the cost of a new suit.
This incident can be differentiated from others in that the egg thrower is usually some distance from the victim and there is no opportunity for 'reflex' reactions. The police should be brought to book.This might have been a knife or even a bullet. In my opinion Prescott showed an entirely human reaction. I believe whilst we should not 'applaude' Mr Prescott's reactiont the circumstances that allowed this incident to happen should be investigated and criticised more than the end result.
Paul Gogolinski, Gdansk, Poland
I am a Conservative voter and don't understand what he has done wrong. He was assaulted and lost his temper. The guy who threw the egg got more justice from John than he would get from out crazy legal system!
They should lock him up - that is if there's a cell big enough.
I'd never voted Labour in my life, but my respect for Prescott has gone up. If you get hit by an egg and then turn round to see a man grinning inanely at you it's perfectly reasonable to hit them.
Why should politicians have to put up with being attacked - good on Prescott for doing the right thing! As for that woman verbally abusing Blair in Birmingham, it wouldn't surprise me if she had been put up to it by the local Tories. Why can't people understand that it takes time for change to happen, and it takes more than four years of Labour government to put right 18 years of Tory neglect in the NHS? Do people seriously think that voting Conservative in this election is going to bring positive change?
At last, a politician who I can respect.
Considering the closeness of the man who threw the egg and, consequently the force the egg hit Mr. Prescott, who wouldn't have hit out? He could have sustained a serious injury to his eye.
Good policy statement on the part of Mr Prescott - I think a few more fuel protestors need some "robust political debate".
Even though many people will be praising John Prescott's "very human reaction", he is after all the Deputy Prime Minister of a leading nation and this sort of behaviour cannot be condoned. The sign of real character of a man in his position would have been to ignore the incident. He now leaves himself open for attack at every public gathering.
John Hardy, Dublin, Ireland
Prescott is a disgrace. He should resign from his cabinet post and get a job as a nightclub bouncer! The country would be better off without him and his bullyboy tactics. This undignified incident has shown him in true colours - a yob.
I got in a London Taxi today and the driver commended John Prescott for his action and said it was nice to see a politician with feelings. Knowing how cabbies are right in the know of what is happening in life, I'm backing Labour!
Thank God the majority of people in this talk room have got more sense than the politicians and media howling for retribution. Who cares whether he over reacted or not, the Tories are desperate for anything that will focus attention away from their own inadequacies, whereas the press are desperate for anything that livens up a dull election campaign. What did the man who threw the egg expect him to do? Laugh? No he reacted as any person would do in that situation.
Prescott was simply defending himself from an assault. It was refreshing to see an un-choreographed moment in this tedious election campaign. However, I would say that John Prescott's actions typified the approach of his Government. His excellent and prompt initial reaction in the form of a left jab, was let down by the lacklustre undignified scuffle that followed.
A teacher would be disciplined for hitting an egg-throwing pupil. A Police officer would have to justify hitting someone who 'only' threw one egg. A member of the public who hits out at a thief becomes the aggressor, not the victim. Why should politicians get away with behaviour that is against the laws they make? Prescott should be prosecuted. It might persuade politicians to get some common sense and proportion back into the way the laws treats people on the receiving end of loutish behaviour.
David Howard, Berkshire
I'm a little concerned to note that many of the responses to this talking point have stated that politicians should 'expect' to have eggs thrown at them. It is unclear what the protesters agenda is, but it is clear that this sort of behaviour towards politicians should not be tolerated. John Prescott reacted in the same way that many of us would have done.
I think John Prescott reacted as most people would in a similar situation. We may all look back and think he overreacted but at the time the self-preservation instinct of fight or flight kicked in. Why should we expect politicians to have superhuman self-control? John Prescott did not initiate the situation and I am sure that it will not harm his public image. It is more likely to improve it.
Steve Churchill, Brighton, England
Regarding the suggestion that politicians should expect to have missiles thrown at them - why? Is this a legitimate form of protest? I don't think so myself. On the whole I think politicians of all parties do not get the respect they deserve. Also can somebody explain what were the police doing?
Given the violent, disproportionate and irresponsible action of Mr Prescott over a single egg, I dread to think what would happen to the world if he were ever made Defence Secretary. He is unfit for government of any kind.
Mr Prescott you have no control. You should be in police custody to protect the egg throwers of this nation.
I didn't like Prescott until yesterday. I hate violence, but believe in self-defence. There is a thin line between being heckled and being assaulted. The yob with the egg crossed it and got what he deserved.
John Prescott is following in true Labour traditions. After all didn't Neil Kinnock chase off some yobs a few years back. Yobs, disguised as 'peaceful protestors' should not assault anybody. Still, makes a change to see a yob getting a bit of his own medicine.
I don't think John Prescott has any bad intentions for farmers, people have to realise his job is a delicate balancing act which few people would have the patience to do. I wouldn't say he defended himself exactly, but I respect his bottle for standing up
My only criticism of John Prescott is that while he has delivered a fine left jab he failed to follow up with the right.
All these years I've avoided watching election coverage, believing it to be boring. How wrong I was! British general elections need to be more like Italian ones - less talking, more punching!
Vince Warrington, Leicester, UK
Isn't the right to defend oneself against attacks by thugs, one of the main planks of the Tory Manifesto?
Prescott is a disgrace. An egg is a different matter to a thrown punch. What sort of an example is he setting to the children? This is typical of the "me first" attitude of this Govt and the cronies within. Johnny two Jags should go, now.
Several people make the comment that politicians should expect to be pelted with eggs. This is a pathetic and ridiculous comment. No one should expect to receive physical abuse of any type in such a situation. If someone was to throw an egg at a stranger in the street they could reasonably expect the sort of reaction Prescott gave.
The flimsy basis on which some people decide who to vote for never ceases to amaze me. Yes Prescott was provoked. Yes he retaliated in a seriously unprofessional manner. But "Well done, I'm voting for Labour now"?! Why bother with policies for the NHS, education, Europe, defence and all the rest - let's just have a boxing match to decide who wins! This sort of thing just confirms that democracy and universal suffrage are over-rated - the vote should be restricted to those with a small degree of intelligence.
This man is the man who would have his finger on the nuclear trigger should an accident befall Tony Blair. Such primitive instinctual response has no place in the modern world.
A few of your correspondents have said the egg wouldn't hurt. Is it possible for you to line these people up so I can throw an egg at them from very close range, and then see if they have changed their mind?
I can understand but not approve of John Prescott's reaction. From such a close range that egg would have felt like a real blow to his head. Instinctively the sailor in Prescott reacted by giving the egg thrower a punch. He shouldn't have done that, but it was a provoked response.
To the egg thrower I say: it's a shame that you have to resort to the practices of the mob to get any attention to your cause. To me the real culpable party is the police: where were they? It could easily have been a terrorist or a madman and in that case you would all be mourning for Mr. Prescott now.
This comes on the same day that Blair was involved with a protestor outside a hospital and Mandelson walked out of a TV interview. Are these the sort of people we want representing Britain abroad?
Self-defence is one thing, but it has to be with reasonable force. Any normal person would be charged with assault, especially considering the incident was filmed and a police officer was standing close by. Let's hope that John Prescott receives the same treatment as anyone else, no more and no less.
Next thing we know, we'll have some people telling us that throwing eggs at people you disagree with is part of our national heritage! It's high time someone stood up to the rabble and fought back. Well done, Mr Prescott.
Politicians are supposed to be somehow inhuman, but I ask any of those above if they would not have reacted in a similar way. Remember, he didn't know it was an egg, and from such close range (free range?!) it probably felt like a punch. If it had been a punch, would Prescott's critics have been impressed if he had just wimpered and shied away? I don't think so. By the way, I am by no means a Prescott fan, and I have never voted for Labour before - but now I just about think I will.
Anyone would have reacted the way Prescott did. The only reason he should resign is because of his stupid privatisation policies.
It is interesting to note that no one condemns the actions of the "protester", who threw something at the head of another person from three feet.
Jonathon Peel reckons the whole thing was a stunt. Well, I have a theory that all of what happened yesterday was a media stunt to get people interested in the election campaign. How better to do this than with a bit of scandal. It'll all blow over in a few weeks.
I now realise the public have nothing to fear from John Prescott. I was a professional boxer for 9 years and that 'left hook' was the weakest, wettest, wimpiest punch I have ever seen.
It's funny how so many of the anti-Prescott comments come from people in Tory areas. Anyway, anyone who has been hit by an egg thrown at close range will know that they are hard and they hurt. His reaction was instinctive, and in hindsight I bet he wishes he hadn't done it. But in the context of having been pushed and jostled, then feeling a blow I believe that his reaction was natural. The big question is why the police let these people so close when they were obviously wound up.
What kind of example does this man set to children and peaceable men and women? They see an individual arrested and detained for making a lawful peaceful protest (an egg is hardly an offensive weapon), yet the man who physically assaults him is escorted into his appointment. As deputy leader of a party which has systematically undermined parent's and teacher's ability to discipline their children. To react in this way and walk away scot-free is an abomination and contrary to standards of acceptable behaviour.
Kevin Henry, Manchester
Well-done John for defending yourself against this rabble. They got their comeuppance after chasing poor foxes around the countryside and bringing this country to an unnecessary standstill last year due to the petrol situation.
Good on yer!!
I personally feel very let down and betrayed by the Labour party and will not vote for them. In fact, I probably will not vote for anyone. However, I backPrescott 100% in his instinctive reaction to this violent and unprovoked attack. It must not only have hurt considerably but it also must have been a terrible shock! Then again, Labour has created a country where people are allowed time and again to get away with criminal acts. The egg thrower will probably get a holiday paid for by the State!
Janek Czekaj, Swansea, Wales
At least John Prescott showed the Labour Party still has some healthy leftish tendencies. As with all incidents, it should be seen in context. If only he applied the same force with Railtrack!
Dan Hazell, Middlesbrough, UK
Why should John Prescott have to put up with people throwing eggs at him just because he is a politician. People say that an ordinary person would have been treated differently by the police, but an ordinary person would never have had an egg thrown at them.
As a floating voter John Prescott's punch was - to me - the defining moment of the contest so far. He is the first politician to show he has a heart and is a real person with real feelings. He - and the Labour Party - now gets my vote.
When all said and done if anything happens to Tony Blair, this is the man who would be in charge. Can we afford to have his 'act first think later' approach particularly if we are in a period of conflict.
It is wonderful to see that Politicians are human. The punch was well deserved and finally the campaign has been given a shot in the arm. JP should help Lennox Lewis learn a few things about taking control of a situation. Well done JP you have won my praises, nothing to be ashamed about.
Magnus Mchunguzi, Johannesburg, South Africa
What a sad reflection on the British electorate that so many are preparing to change their vote because the
Deputy Prime Minister can't control his temper. Perhaps we should all ignore the important issues facing the country and vote according to our preferred "Jeremy Beadle" style video clip.
For goodness sake - aren't there more pressing issues to discuss?
I've always thought of British politics as boring, but this shows there is some guts in your politicians over there.
What really makes me smile about this whole event is that Tory supporters are desperately trying to capitalise from it by saying John Prescott's reaction was wrong. However, those same Tories support the right of Tony Martin to shoot a burglar in the back as "self defence". It's a funny old world!
Tony Martin defends himself: prison for life. Prescott defends himself, and its 'good on him'. Prescott was surrounded by security, some no doubt armed. I agree Prescott had every right to defend himself, but I cannot remember him standing up for Tony Martin.
Personally I think it was all staged.
Stu Mitchell, Leeds UK
John Prescott cannot be serious. Self defence against an egg being thrown?
In view of the Government's proposal to give thugs new trainers or CD's if they behave themselves, will Mr Blair be offering this option to John Prescott if he keeps his fists to himself?
This just goes to show how effective our police force have become when they can't defend the Deputy PM from an egg.
Darren Chapman, Haywards Heath, England
If someone hit the Vice President of the US with an egg the Secret Service would probably shoot them.
I am a teacher. Pupils leaving this week have thrown eggs at my school. If one had hit me and I had reacted as Mr Prescott did I would expect to lose my job.
If this had been any other 62-year-old hit at close range by a smirking thug, the Tories would have hailed him as a have-a-go hero, and bemoaned Labour's soft attitude to thuggish behaviour.
I had no particular view about hunting but this incident makes me feel that if this aggressive person represents the hunting type then the sooner hunting is banned the better. Mr Prescott was perfectly justified to take the action he did. The bully who threw the egg at him had probably hoped he could do this without retaliation.
S Blennett, Ipswich, Suffolk, England.
Prescott was completely in the right, though now he may find himself as a favourite target in the future.
I seem to remember one Eric Cantona being publicly criticised for a similar action when threatened by a football supporter. High profile sportsmen put up with this sort of thing all the time and, in the main, handle themselves correctly.
This type of behaviour is typical of the yobbish culture of street violence that's so inherent in England's society today. The very fact that people are applauding his decision merely confirms the true nature of modern British mentality: it's ok to hit someone if you think you have a reason. I can't decide which is more nauseating: his actions or the applauding comments I have read on this site.
Andrew Hirst, London, UK
Prescott should be charged with assault, Provoked or not. The man in the street would no doubt be charged so why not Prescott?
You can take the man out of Hull, but you can't take the Hull out of the man.
This incident has done wonders for John Prescott's popularity in our office. Basically, if you are going to throw an egg at an ex-merchant seaman from point blank range, what do you expect to happen?
The police should have arrested both men as they do in any other fight. John Prescott should not have got off Scott-free just because he is an MP. He is a common thug.
John Prescott's reaction was a perfectly normal one, although if his own government would strengthen the laws relating to such situations, he would have had no need to deal with it himself.
Ken Smart, Glenrothes, Scotland
Imagine Hague's reaction┐probably would have hid behind Ffion.
So Labour's "double whammy" has come true at last.
The man who threw an egg at John Prescott was only seeking publicity for himself and brag about it to his friends rather than making a serious protest.
Why do most of you justify Prescott and call the protester a "mulletted thug"? Don't you realise that while New Labour yuppies enrich themselves they are neglecting our agricultural and industrial sectors, and are thus responsible for violent frustrations?
I find it somewhat ironic that prior to the 1997 election Labour had a man in a chicken costume following John Major around to embarrass him, and now they have been embarrassed by the egg! John Prescott is speaking on behalf of the public authority, the government, and therefore must put up with the real voters rather than the cleverly stage-managed audience of friendly secondary school children. Mr. Prescott got the best shot and the press got their headline, but is this man really cabinet minister material?
John Prescott only did what his bodyguards should have done. Many times in the past when politicians or royals have been attacked at close hand the attacker has been given a right hiding.
Do those who condemn John Prescott really think a thug should be allowed to assault a 62-year-old man and expect to get away with it?
John Prescott should wake up to the facts that it is against the law to attack any other person and as a result should be charged with common assault. How Tony Blair can cast off the incident with a banal comment of "John is John" is deplorable and an apology should be forthcoming from both. Do we have to accept thugs being in charge of this country? - No!
Peter E, Broadway, England
People should get off Prescott's back. John showed he is human and got rid of the sense of 'aloofness' that has sadly become characteristic of politicians recently. Thank God for one a real character in government. Many may not like him, but he's definitely gone up in my estimation. At last, reality comes back to politics!
Prescott's fracas is reminiscent of the Clinton era. Fundamental laws were broken but quickly the issue was deflected through spin and presentational techniques. People could not see clearly through the issues, which is why it was left to the justice system. And isn't it remarkable in this instance how poor people's recollection of events are despite ample video evidence.
Human being and politician, whatever next!
Prescott is not a stuck up snobby politician, he's a man with lots of character and wouldn't politics be boring without the likes of people like him? It was an idiot thing to do to throw the egg. If someone threw an egg at the protester, what would he do? Smile and say, thanks? I don't think so!
Self-defence is a measured response to a threat; no British court would accept 'it was instinctive' as a valid excuse. If your natural instinct is violence then you need to learn self-control. If this incident occurred outside a football match (with someone other than the deputy prime minister) there would be no doubting that both parties would have been arrested.
All elections should be settled in this way!
I am 12 years old. Two weeks ago a boy hit me with a stick at school. I walked away. He hit me again later. I punched him in the face (Prescott style). My head teacher threatened to exclude me from school for what I did. Was I right or wrong in what I did? I don't know anymore!
Despite living in what can only be described as one of the last Conservative strongholds, I had made a tentative decision to vote Labour this time around, based on Blair's apparent strength as a leader. Having seen Prescott in action, I now think the best is yet to come! At last we have a politician who tackles situations head on and isn't afraid to express himself. With Prescott in the wings, I'm backing Labour all the way!
I woke this morning to the image of the Prescott brawl. The gripping image not only awakened my interest in an election on the other side of the world but also raised a question about masculinity. Having read many of the responses, I am intrigued by how many male respondents, applauded the use of brute force by Prescott to defend himself. Is this a leftover of the culturally created model of masculinity that many of us have been brought up with or has his action reassured many men that it is okay to be 'fierce' in the right circumstances. It seems to be oddly reassuring to some males to see the 'wild man' persona in public view in an age where he is expected to be suppressed.
Lowell Sheppard, Nagoya, Japan
The bloke who threw the egg - it wasn't Peter Mandelson in a wig was it...?
I'm sorry but having watched this incident through several times, it was not a gut reaction. Mr. Prescott is a trained boxer and he knew what he was doing! He turns, balances, then parries with his left and follows through with his right. He should be prosecuted for assault.
Once again Labour's double standards shining through!!
It's good to see that the deputy prime minister still has a good left hand! I sailed with John on the "Rangitaka" in 1958 and he was involved in organizing a boxing competition between the crew for the passengers!! In this particular incident he reacted as most people would have. Politicians should not be targets for any thugs.
If that was self-defence the Labour spin machine is worse than we thought. He is the guilty one and should be charged for the attack and lose his position.
John Prescott probably regrets his reactions in hindsight. But it all happened very quickly and throwing an egg at someone is a very aggressive act. The egg thrower did so with intent and after careful forethought. John Prescott's reaction was momentary and in the end forgivable. But I don't suppose the media will forgive him in a hurry.
Two phrases that spring to mind are "tough on crime, and tough on the causes of crime" and "zero tolerance". Maybe the prime minister should put these into practice. He won't sack Prescott though until a focus group tells him to.
What a great example to show to all the kids - and he wonders why violent crime is up? Next we'll be seeing kids in the playground thumping one another saying: "I'm doing a John Prescott!"
I have no problem with politicians spontaneously defending themselves from assault. The protester does not have the right to abuse any member of society, elected or otherwise.
Lizann, Sydney, Australia
MP's are supposed to be leaders. Let John Prescott lead you by the fist for the next four years, and you'll see why I now reside in the USA.
Cream and custard pies are soft and should be delivered from close range. Eggs are hard, and should be thrown from long range. This egg was thrown from a distance of four feet. It will have hurt on impact and can easily be seen as "assault" rather than a "prank" or "protest". Mr Prescott would not have seen it coming, he would have been hurt, and on instinct defended himself (and good on him). What is more worrying is that this could have happened in the first place - what if this had not been someone who took his protest too far, but someone from the Real IRA out to assassinate a government leader?
John Prescott should stick to the facts and not attempt to weasel out of what is a very clear situation. He was attacked by someone throwing a missile. He responded instinctively with a punch back. He was in the wrong but it was not premeditated, and many of us would do the same. He should submit to whatever the law decides, and the law will take mitigating circumstances into account. The missile thrower clearly committed a premeditated assault and again the law should be applied to him. Result: justice is seen to be done.
What kind of example is John Prescott trying to set to the young people of this country? No wonder the crime rate is so high when a man in his position lashes out like that. I could understand self defence if the egg thrower had used more than an egg but those actions were beyond belief.
Neal, Stourbridge, UK
John Prescott did what was natural in such circumstances and defended himself. Self-defence, whilst using reasonable force, is the right of everybody in the country.
Footballers are not allowed to get upset at crowds because they are meant to set an example. The Deputy Leader of the ruling party is meant to show some restraint, some leadership qualities, but the real John Prescott shines through. If we all went around punching those with whom we disagreed then what sort of place would we live. This behaviour shows Prescott for what he really is.
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