British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called Rochdale, England senior citizen Gillian Duffy “bigoted” Wednesday as he was being driven away in his car, expressing his dismay at having to talk to this voter, according to an article and accompanying video at BBC.com. The Prime Minister apparently didn’t realize that he had a live network microphone (Sky News) on him as he left which caught his “private” remarks. He has since apologized on BBC Radio 2 as well as to Gillian Duffy personally. Gordon Brown has said something that is ill-timed, especially when his party is trailing in the UK polls and could be tossed out of power for the first time since 1997. Yet how many politicians make such off the cuff remarks like “bigoted” about the voters when they think they are out of earshot?
Gordon Brown calling Rochdale, England Senior Citizen Gillian Duffy “Bigoted” Is Only Surprising in that He Was Caught
The Prime Minister explained on the radio that he’d been concerned over the woman’s attitude about immigration policy, but what Sky News caught as he was being whisked away to another event sheds some light on what politicians could be deemed as thinking about people who challenge them with tough questions. For the UK’s leader said this, “That was a disaster – they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? It’s just ridiculous…” Gordon Brown went on to say about what was discussed with Gillian Duffy, “Ugh everything! She’s just a sort of bigoted woman that said she used to be Labour. I mean it’s just ridiculous. I don’t know why Sue brought her up towards me.” The Prime Minister’s handlers are trying to make him more accessible to the people. Did they have this in mind?
At the BBC article/accompanying video, Rochdale, England local Gillian Duffy expressed her anger, and said that she had thought Gordon Brown was “understanding” to her before she heard about his “bigoted” remark about her out of earshot. Several media were on hand to ask the 65 year old about the Prime Minister’s comments, which she took real offense to, and at this point Duffy said that she won’t vote Labour and doesn’t think the Prime Minister will be retained.
Gordon Brown Has Hurt His Chances of Staying on as Prime Minister by Calling Gillian Duffy of Rochdale, England “Bigoted”
But the most surprising thing about this “bigoted” comment is that the politician was caught this time. That doesn’t happen very often, when the public gets to hear what our leaders and popular political pundits really think about us while their being chauffered around, sipping fancy drinks on their yachts, cashing big checks for speaking to groups, lounging around in their country clubs, or are on lobbyist-sponsored junkets. During election time, politicians really act as nice as they can to get votes to voters’ faces, but how many of them really care about the people? What if we could have them “miked up” all the time? What would their words about voters be behind closed doors? For Gordon Brown and Labour, being behind closed doors of the car is only as good as not having a live microphone of a network on the Prime Minister.
Offending people who vote, especially senior citizens like Gillian Duffy, isn’t going to do any favors for the Prime Minister or his party. The voters may show the Labour Party what they think of the “bigoted” remark on May 6, election day.
Gordon Brown ‘bigoted woman’ comment caught on tape:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/election_2010/8649012.stm, April 28, 2010
Poll tracker: Interactive guide to the opinion polls:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/election_2010/8280050.stm, BBC.com (subject to updating)