Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The one with Gordon Brown and that Bigoted Woman

On my lunchbreak I'm watching the media have a field day with Gordon's gaff in Rochdale, privately calling Gillian Duffy "that bigoted woman" after a positive public conversation with her. They're loving it for the same reason everyone else is. Gordon Brown is the most shameful and awful man in Britain. No one else has ever turned from a conversation and vented to someone else. No-one else has ever said one thing publicly and another privately. No-one else would ever do that. Oh, hang on...


  1. Fair point that everyone does this from time to time. I think the media is justified in reporting it though - if only because the fact that Gordon Brown thinks it's "bigoted" for the lady to disapprove of his policies (I'm assuming that he was referring to her reservations about immigration) it does have genuine implications for how he will govern if elected. If he's using such a strong and morally-loaded term to dismiss the suggestion that current immigration levels are a problem, it reveals something about his fundamental political thinking and principles - which is something which I'd like to consider when choosing who to vote for, and something which has thus far been absent from most of the campaigning.

  2. They can report it, and I watched it...

    It does reveal something about a person, though I think it's very likely that Cameron and Clegg and the journalists all do the same, while taking the moral high ground over Brown. He got caught that's the only difference. Humble pie for the lot of us would be good...

    The issue here is that a techie with a bit of professionalism and a conscience should have muted the Mic, rather than broadcast a conversation that could rightly be considered private, surely?

    The fact that he is a bit two-faced actually makes him seem more human to me... we're all hypocritical. And he's allowed to think that anti-immigration views are bigoted and have that weighed up, but the reporting isn't doing that.

  3. I hear you, and I agree with your basic point. But there's another side to this too

    There is a call on our leaders, and our prime minister in particular, to strive to be the same in public as in private. So, while there's no moral high ground for the rest of us to claim over him, that's not the issue, the issue is whether or not he has the character to be our PM.

    His comments, I would argue, are symptomatic of the way he and his party have tried to deal with everyone that doesn't agree with their views - as bigots who should be silenced or ignored.

    So, yes, some aspects of the media frenzy over this make me feel a little sick, as they did with the expenses scandal. But as then, so now, there's still a valid point or two to be noted from this. And as an illustration of the sort of regime Gordon Brown has and will (if given the chance again) preside over, the whole thing is pretty potent I think. The only difference is he won't apologise to the preachers, parents, schools, churches he's maligned - perhaps because unlike Mrs Duffy many Christians will keep voting Labour.

  4. I agree he ought to take it as an opportunity to consider his character, as should the rest of them, and me. Quite apart from that, I caught his, Cameron's and Cable's speeches during the day and didn't find Brown as persuasive... character counts but so should policy, and the right to disagree matters too.

  5. I'm no great Brown fan...
    But I think there are some big questions for Sky News (and the others) in terms of the decency of unauthorised broadcasting of private conversations... Brown left the mic on, they should have muted it and not broadcast it. I grant it's juicy but I can't imagine they'd want it done back to themselves... seems really unprofessional to me, just like hounding Gillian Duffy for a response while she was on the phone. Shameless and shameful journalism and broadcasting.

  6. The media have been waiting for a gaffe for weeks - I even heard them talking about it a week or so ago on Radio 4 (of all places). We just love other people's misery.

    The question is: does it affect the way we're going to vote? Has this pensioner from Rochdale changed the election? I suspect not, but it will put people off Brown who weren't going to vote for him anyway. Brian

  7. I agree, policy too. Hence why I see this as a little reminder to us that Gordon Brown cannot tolerate those who are out of step with his doctrine. He and his government have tried (and at some points succeeded) to limit people's freedom of speech in the name of spreading their agenda, or in the name of political correctness. It should not surprise us when the man who has presided over that sort of policy treats a Gilliam Duffy with the disdain he did. But you're right, the reason not to send him back to no 10 isn't simply his slip of the tongue, or his opinion that someone who disagreed with him is a bigot, it's his policies.

    Sky probably shouldn't have put it out, though I wonder how I would've felt if a reporter had simply heard Gordon mutter those things under his breath, without the use of a microphone. Once it was out I don't mind them giving Mrs Duffy a voice, and a chance to speak about how Mr Brown had made her feel. I agree that's not all they did though, and that they have no basis for claiming any moral high ground. It seems we ought to be ashamed of our media as well as our politicians - so all in all a good day for Britain.

  8. Would have been more influential if Cameron or Clegg had done it I'd imagine... so much journalistic sensationalism. They'll just be gutted they couldn't have prophesied it in the 8am news "Today, Gordon Brown will be in Rochdale where he will mutter privately about a voter and give us the story of the day/week..."

  9. Rather than debating the public/private argument of his right to an opinion or whether a tecchie flicked the right or wrong switch, maybe we should look to his behaviour once he'd been caught out. Many would have stayed silent and avoided the issue but we see here a man publicly humiliated for his gaff taking an honourable approach, admitting his foolishness and graciously humbling himself to apologise to her. What he said afterwards in private is no man's business but you have to hand it to him for taking it on the chin.

  10. Agreed Karen, the apology was helpful - though I do wish we'd learn to say "I was wrong" rather than to just apologise for any offence taken... sort of dodges it, but good of him to be a penitent sinner.

    Obviously when I originally posted it he'd not gotten to that.