The US election had Joe the Plumber and now the British campaign have their own version, 66 year old Gillian Duffy from Rochdale (northen UK). Gordon Brown was captured slamming the voter, he’d just tried to win over, on open mic.
It was an ordinary setting, a three-bedroom house in the Shawclough area of Rochdale, the entire British press corps in the front yard mixed with curious neighbors, children and Special Branch agents. In the brief 5 minutes discussion between Brown and Duffy, the 66 year old pensioner told the Prime Minister that she was concerned about immigration from Eastern Europe. Brown brushed the question aside and explained that Britons were also working in Europe, jumping into his prime ministerial Jaguar.
There was just one little detail, that could cost him the election. The broadcast microphone was still on. He told an aide: “That was a disaster. Should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that?”
When the aide said they did not know who was responsible, the Prime Minister snapped: “ridiculous”. Asked what Duffy had said to upset him, Brown told the aide: “Everything. She’s just a sort of bigoted woman who says she used to be Labour.”
Ironically Gillian Duffy had said that she had been happy with Brown’s responses and would be voting for him.
The recording was quickly spread to the rest of the British media and a short time later Gordon Brown was interviewed on a BBC 2 radio show about the remarks. Slumped over with his head in his hand, Brown said he realized he had made a mistake and regretted the remarks. Brown said: “I apologise if I have said anything like that. What I think she was raising with me was an issue about immigration and saying that there were too many people from Eastern Europe in the country.
“I do apologise if I have said anything that has been hurtful and I will apologise to her personally.”
Brown later telephoned Duffy to apologize, then unexpectedly showed up at her home.
40 minutes later he emerged from Duffy’s home and said: “She has accepted that there was a misunderstanding and she has accepted my apology, if you like, I am a penitent sinner.”
Gordon Brown’s opponent, David Cameron, had spent the morning at a Coca Cola plant in Wakefield, not far away. I’m sure he enjoyed something better than Coca Cola last night.
The British Prime Minister candidates have cleverly avoided the immigrant issue on several occasions, because of the political incorrectness, but I doubt they can avoid it at the next TV debate.
You can see the political “suicide” here:
If you like watching politicians doing the back crawl, then watch the clip where Brown emerges from his house and count the number of apoligizes.
Wikipedia: A bigot (in modern usage) is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from their own or intolerant of people of different ethnicity, race, or class.