Campaign moments and Brown’s bigotry
I don’t know how to describe the transition between open fury and weary resignation that Gordon Brown calling a woman a bigot sent me through today. It did, however, provoke a lighter moment.
Tory Shadow Chancellor George Osbourne came off with this gem:
“That’s the thing about general elections, they do reveal the truth about people.”
Which is exactly why CCHQ have kept you hidden under the bed, you utter pillock.
Once again, however, the Dear Leader of the Labour Party has made the job of Labour activists across the country that bit harder. Just as Labour were getting traction, with every indication that the Tories are nowhere near where they should be – bearing in mind how deeply unpopular this government is with the chattering classes – Brown puts his foot in it.
And how! Is there a better way to highlight the chasm that separates political leaders from real people than by calling someone bigoted for raising an objection to Eastern European immigration? It proves the remove between the political class and ordinary people, that having any objection to immigration is simple bigotry and not, perhaps, the result of squeezed services or the other real problems immigration causes.
Or simpler still, could it not be the result of bad information? Which it may well have been, judging by the woman’s decision (prior to the remarks about her bigotry being made public) to vote for Labour.
Reading over Twitter, there seems to have been a mix of reactions – some have defended the actions of Brown on the grounds that they too have come away from the door step and been thoroughly irritated with the people who they’ve talked to – as my blograde Paul Cotterill has, picked up by Miljenko over at 21st Century Fix.
I don’t sympathise however. I have problems keeping my temper under control at the best of times, and this blog has often been my soapbox for long and humourless rants against Brown, or Cruddas, or other bloggers. Yet I don’t think there’s any excuse for slagging off people whose doors you’ve just knocked on, or who have come to hear you speak.
At the risk of sounding thoroughly holier-than-thou, on the doorstep I’ve met BNP voters, voters angry with Labour to the point of shouting, I’ve met religious homophobes and I’ve had my fair number of doors slammed in my face – and I don’t recall ever waiting to get out of earshot before I let my real opinions be heard.
This woman comes near none of the above (video here), and seemed perfectly willing to discuss her problem.
The result is that Gordon Brown’s subsequent words depict him as upset that someone didn’t kowtow by serving up a soft-ball question, of the sort he’s used to fielding at Question Time from Labour MPs. Apart from making it harder to get the few decent Labour MPs re-elected, it also plays into the right-wing narrative that any discussion of immigration gets shouted down by the Left as racism, or bigotry.
Fuck Gordon Brown and the horse he rode in on. And if you want to talk about real bigotry, talk about Yarl’s Wood immigrant detention facility, happening under Labour’s watch.