Friday 30 April 2010

Gordon No Friends, the prime missing her

With an UK election only days away, this kind of gaffe won't work in Gordon Brown's favour.

The UK Prime Minister was caught with his radio mic still on, as his car sped away after an awkward interview, for all to hear. Some said if his wife Sarah was around, a PR expert, she would have switched the thing off. His staff must have been asleep on the job.

This from the New Zealand Herald:
  • LONDON – Britain’s bedraggled Prime Minister Gordon Brown walked into a political train wreck Wednesday after forgetting to turn off his microphone.

    He described a loyal Labour voter as a bigot for asking about immigration, blamed advisers for a “disaster” ahead of next week’s election, then rushed back to the voter’s house to beg her forgiveness.

    All the country could do was look on – in shock, amazement and sometimes glee – as the painful, riveting drama played out over television and radio for hours. The debacle created a massive setback for Brown on the eve of the last TV debate ahead of the May 6 vote.

    Grandmother Gillian Duffy, 66, met with Brown at a campaign stop in the northern town of Rochdale and questioned him about the influx of eastern European immigrants who have come to Britain. …

    Brown brushed the question aside and explained that Britons were also working in eastern Europe, leaving in his car in a hurry and forgetting to turn off his microphone.

    “That was a disaster, they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? It’s just ridiculous,” Brown is heard saying.

    Asked what Duffy had said to upset him, Brown told the aide: “Everything. She’s just a sort of bigoted woman.”

    Duffy, a retired widow who had worked with handicapped children and whose family had all voted for Labour, had questioned Brown on taxes, university fees, immigration and Britain’s record deficit of 152.84 ($323) billion pounds.

According to David at KiwiBlog, the message to every other UK Labour supporter who has concern about immigration, is that your leader thinks you are a bigot.

Brown could have gone on the offense when confronted with a Pauline Hanson lookalike comment about the influx of eastern European immigrants into the UK. Some commentators say that
Gordon Brown should 'own' his comment, and stand up for it. Something like “Britons have colonised and settled countries in every hemisphere of the world, so if you have a problem now that immigrants from Eastern Europe are coming here, then yes, you are a bigot.”

KiwiBlog says that the latest YouGov poll has Conservatives 34%, Lib Dems 31% and Labour 27% – results taken before Brown's latest fopah. According to the UK Polling Report Swingometer, it would result in the following:

  • Conservatives 259 (+61)
    Labour 251 (-105)
    Lib Dems 109 (+47)
    Others 31 (+1)

"This leaves the Conservatives 67 short of a majority, even if the Conservatives extend their lead over Labour to 10%, they still look 41 seats short of a majority," David Farrar says. "To get a majority, the Lib Dems have to poll less than 30% and Conservatives need to be high 30%."

Here's Brown's annus horribilis...

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