1 May 2010


Duffy. Not the gorgeous Welsh songstress and certainly not the Scottish lesbian Poet Laureate, Carol-Ann but Gillian, Gillian Duffy, widow, grandmother, sixty six year old Rochdale resident and salt of the earth. On Wednesday, accidentally, she encountered the Labour prime minister Gordon Brown during one of his pre-election walkabouts. She spoke to him in a pleasant, respectful manner and politely posed a couple of questions about immigration into the UK from eastern Europe.

Later, leaving that Rochdale suburb in his car with TV mike still attached, Gordon Brown was heard to describe Gillian Duffy as a "bigoted woman". There are questions to ask about how this recording ever emerged. Who broke trust with Brown? A BBC technician? A news editor? Shouldn't it all have remained discreetly private? After all, we know for sure that David Cameron and Nicholas Clegg would have equally condescending things to say about voters in the snug confines or their own official cars.
But getting back to the issue. Brown showed his true colours that day. The majority of the "host" population of the UK have questions to ask about immigrant waves and Mrs Duffy was only voicing what most people feel. It's not Gillian Duffy who is the bigot - it is in fact Gordon Brown himself - he of the high moral Presbyterian ground - who looks down on people like Gillian Duffy - the backbone of Labour's support. She is not a racist. She is an ordinary citizen. It's okay for Brown living the high life in London, jetting round the world - he doesn't have to live in fragmented neighbourhoods invaded by economic migrants.

I will vote Labour as I always have done next Thursday - even though I know that Labour have lost it. This is the party of health care for all, of quality public education, of libraries, of trade union comradeship and of welfare services - the party of the ordinary people. I couldn't vote for anyone else but with regard to Brown with his false smile and Presbyterian bigotry, I say do the right thing and resign next Friday - leaving the door open for a new New Labour headed by David Milliband, Andy Burnham or Alan Johnson. Just like Hull City Mr Brown - you're going down and you've let us down. The idea of England's parliament being led by the odious "Tory boy" - David Cameron, turns my stomach - and this is largely down to Gordon Brown's bumbling ineptitude. Labour's case could have been presented so much more convincingly.


  1. This reminds me of the conjugation of the verb "to be firm": I am firm, you are stubborn, he or she is a pig-headed fool.

    Why is it that "we" are always right and "they" are always wrong???

  2. Being away from UK politics, luckiliy!, I'd be interested to know your thoughts on Tony Blair - has he any role to play in the downfall of the Labour Party, in your opinion?

  3. RHYMES Stay off the bourbon! I'm not at all sure what you were trying to say. Please explain further.
    BRIAN In my view the Blair years were brilliant until he went along with that stupidest of US Presidents - Dubya Bush and supported the illegal and unwarranted war on Iraq. So many young men died but Blair now makes money from speeches, connections, investments. We discover too late that he wasn't really "Labour" at all just a self-seeking, self-important capitalist. And yes his legacy has not helped Labour's cause one jot. If given a gun I would gladly assassinate him - as long as I could avoid capture.

  4. I have no idea how that conversation went, but we have a major immigrant issue brewing in this country as well. This is a nation of laws -- based on the US Constitution, which is a remarkable work of policy and art -- and reasonable people can disagree about immigration and its consequences. What reasonable people cannot disagree about is the fact that we are a nation of laws, and if you broke one, you must be held accountable. And that includes walking into our home without our permission.

  5. Ohhh I totally agree with you. I too will be voting Labour - - though I too know they've lost it. But I can't bear the alternative.

  6. Can't agree with you here, Puddy.

    Immigration is the least of the problems in the UK. In my view there are far too many people who are quick to blame immigration.

    Brown is a fool, if anything, to embarrass himself apologising to the woman.

    I'm really surprised how people can get their knickers in a twist about it.

    Some might have called her an attention-seeking bigot more accurately.

    I'm not sure you could call her 'salt of the earth' just because she's wearing an anorak either!

  7. feel the same of big O, he is all we got cause the tea party won't do

  8. re Putz's comment, also because if something happened to big O we'd get Joe Biden and then if something happened to Biden we'd get Nancy Pelosi. It seems to be an assassination-proof plan. Is there a "line of succession" in Britain? (In the government, I mean; the one in the royal family has nothing to do with the government.)

    YP, I suppose my first comment is just another way of saying that "My way or the highway" certainly explains rush-hour traffic.

  9. In the U.S. I think national politics are a waste of time, there is no representative government, they are all bought and paid for. While everyone was distracted about who Bill Clinton was sleeping with, our local county board of supervisors slipped around and screwed everyone in our county, giving favors to all the real estate developers. There were maybe 3 other people at those meetings. Whenever more than a dozen people show up to oppose something the supervisors back down. It makes more sense to me to flex your muscles at a local level.

    I live in a farming community where more than half the residents are immigrants. People fresh from Mexico are great; it's their 3rd generation, Americanized, urban children in gangs who can be a problem here.

  10. Thanks,
    You more or less confirm the long-distance feeling I got, all started well, but went downhill afterwards when Blair finally managed to do away with any credibility politicians (in general) have.
    Hope you have a great election and may the best man win! (or should that be the "least bad"?)

  11. The face of British politics got disfigured when The Smiths broke up......

  12. SAM Britain's immigrant problem is largely a direct result of our European Union membership. People have come here legitimately but who makes the laws?
    DAPHNE Perhaps you and I should form a new party - The Yorkshire Freedom Party. You could be the leader and I would be Minister for Truth.
    BOOTHERS I disagree with what you say but I defend to the death your right to say it. Mrs Duffy was NOT trying to imply that immigration is at the heart of our country's ills. She was simply reflecting widespread concerns that most certainly exist and should therefore not be dismissed out of hand. And why would you not think that she is "the salt of the earth"? - A decent woman - a widow, grandmother, good neighbour, law-abiding, hard-working - these are precisely the sort of people that Brown should have listened to during his. tenure.
    PUTZ Thanks for dropping by. I am honoured even though your remark sounds like it came from The Riddler!
    RHYMES You are normally a straightforward communicator but in this matter you seem to have been with Putz on a "How To be A Riddler" course.
    JAN BLAWAT It's interesting that you make a distinction between first generation Mexican immigrants and those who have been with you some time. But were you always so cynical about national politics?
    BRIAN I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a hung parliament to allow Labour time to blood a new leader - probably David Milliband.

  13. re your replies to Putz and me: obviously you know as much about American politics as Putz and I know about British politics.

  14. I was a Political Science student at UC Davis, I worked in campaigns, it was exciting. The cynicism came much later. I think it's interesting that my 24 year old son and his friends have-on their own-already reached the state it took me years to attain. That's sad, it's nowhere near as fun to be a pessimist.

  15. To be fair he doesn't know much about British politics if he thinks Brown's non-media savvy persona is the reason people will elect a smug self-centred aristocrat as PM on Thursday. ;-)

    I distrust anyone who uses the free movement of the world across fake boundaries as a reason for the UKs problems, when the ever-growing indigenous slobs that have been feeding of the state are more to blame!

    Especially some dotty old grandmother who wants her 15 minutes by accosting the Prime Minister!

    I distrust them in the same way I distrust people who don't love dogs!

    Completely illogical but it's served me well so far...

  16. "Why is it that "we" are always right and "they" are always wrong???" - RWP

    Well, I think I understand what Robert is saying. Terry Pratchett puts it this way :

    It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.

    But what do I know, way down here? I never did understand politics anyway.

  17. Katherine nailed it. As Pogo said, "We have found the enemy, and he is us."

  18. After visiting France for the last month and watching British TV all I can say is how I am sorry for you all. Politics coverage seems to be non stop and like most elections very boring stuff indeed. I imagine you will all be glad when it is all over and you can go back to knowing which party you should have voted for.

  19. THANKS to all contributors - especially Rhymes and Katherine who are surely vying for doctorates in philosophy! They left me way back in the shallow end. And Helsie - you've been visiting France? I'm so sorry that our border officials wouldn't let you into England. It's always sad when you have to settle for second best.


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