Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday 28 April 2010

The public and the private faces of Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown today shot himself and the Labour Party in the foot quite badly - it would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I didn't relish seeing the man exposed for the two-faced person he is. On the basis that nothing is more instructive than seeing and hearing what actually happened today, I am embedding the video-clip which Guido has kindly put up for all our 'edification' (and frankly, amusement):

- I watched the full exchange between Mr Brown and Mrs Duffy earlier today and indeed it seemed to be a friendly-enough encounter. She is obviously a long-standing Labour supporter (hardly surprising, I expect, in a town such as Rochdale) and her questions about the 'national debt' were obviously those of someone who has probably 'scrimped and saved' for everything throughout her life and is worried about the futures of her grandchildren. I share her concerns too abouut the profilgate expansion of the national debt that has occurred under Gordon Brown's 'watch'!

On the 'Eastern European immigrants' question, she expressed a pretty conventional view amongst many working-class people, those most affected by the large number of people from new EU member states to came to the UK soon after they joined, because the UK was one of the very few existing member states that did not impose a 'transitional period' of controlled movement for work on citizens of new member states. People like me weren't very much affected by the large numbers that came in, apart from being able to find people to do things like plumbing and carpentry more easily than before. I must also be completely honest here - I supported the decision to allow immediate free movement and deplored the decision of other existing EU member states to inhibit it. It was one of the very few decisions of the Labour government (along with our participation in the 'liberation' of Iraq from Saddam Hussein and his sons) that I thought good. Whilst I haven't fundamentally changed my opinion on either matter, I now accept that both had ramifications that I did not foresee at the time, in the case of the 'Eastern European immigrants' question probably affecting people like Mrs Duffy's family much more than people like me. In other words the much-touted core Labour supporters.

What today's incident laid bare is what Gordon Brown really thinks about the 'little people' who put Labour in Downing Street (nobody put Gordon Brown himself there, except the pusillanimous Parliamentary Labour Party). If the man had kept his mouth shut, or switched his microphone off, his 'sucking-up' to Mrs Duffy on-camera would have shown him in a very favourable light to those likely to vote for Labour next week, but his in-car comments revealed what he really thinks of people like Mrs Duffy. It is not attractive, but it is the truth. Nick Robinson, the BBC political correspondent, implied on-camera today that this side of Mr Brown's character is not a surprise to people who know him - here is his perhaps somewhat more considered assessment.

1 comment:

  1. In absolute agreement with everything you've written Bill.

    The ironic thing about the event as you say was the actual chat with the lady went as well as these things can be expected - a lot more tractor stats than empathy compared to David Cameron's talk with "ordinary member of public" yesterday of course. But it wasn't the a disaster, not until...


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