Brown vs Duffy, the fallout continues
Could this be a pivotal moment for Labour?
Gordon Brown’s epic election fail yesterday continues to captivate the political commentators and this morning’s headlines naturally are pretty uncomfortable for Labour, as Brown expected. Even his most ardent friends, including South Shields born Mirror man Kevin Maguire have been fairly critical:
A Labour candidate rang to say the only positive he could see is it happened today and not yesterday or the day before. Most of the postal votes, he said with a grim laugh, have already been cast. The words “clutching” and “straws” spring to mind.
He also reveals that a PR firm is already offering a decent sum of cash to Gillian Duffy, presumably to talk about her private meeting with Brown, Maguire says the firm is headed by Lord Bell, whilst actually its chairman is Peter Bingle, who had this to say on his blog:
Today’s episode will bring a wry smile and a shake of the head from those Labour candidates and aides who know the PM. This is why the PM should have continued to be introduced to garden gnomes and Labour Party activists rather than members of the public. The simple truth is that he doesn’t like them and they don’t like him.
The PM who was already dead is now toast. The men in white coats should be called so that they can take him away to somewhere quiet and safe where he can rest and think about September 2007 when he should have gone to the country and didn’t. If only he had had the balls.
So what does Labour do now? Weep is the first thing that comes to mind followed by a stiff drink or two. Then what? I have always believed in the power of prayer but have far too high a regard for St Jude to suggest that Labour candidates pray to him for help. The simple fact is that the Labour Party knew that the PM was a loser and didn’t have the courage to get rid of him. It is hard to feel sorry for any of them.
Meanwhile Paul Waugh at the London Evening Standard reveals that the Prime Minister, in his hurry to lay the blame at someone else for daring to allow a genuine voter to confront him, aimed at the wrong target, his long suffering aide Sue Nye:
Sue Nye is also innocent, it seems. The man who spotted Mrs Duffy yelling at the PM was Labour’s (Rochdale) candidate Simon Danczuk. He apparently thought it would be a good idea to get her to meet Mr Brown and ushered her forward.
Perhaps more grin enhanced apologies are in order!
Long time Labour blogger Dave Semple who writes Though Cowards Flinch said yesterday:
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.
Well, I certainly agree on the Yarls Wood story!
The left’s favourite magazine The New Statesman has admitted that Labour’s campaign has been severely damaged by the Prime Minister’s gaffe, and former Deputy Prime Minister, John (two jags and two shags) Prescott, bizarrely claims that the whole affair is a “Murdoch plot” despite the fact that it was Labour’s campaign team that specifically asked Sky News to attach a radio mic to Brown’s lapel.
South Shields MP and Foreign Secretary David Miliband said of the affair:
“No one will be more mortified than the prime minister by this and he has obviously expressed his profound apologies to her.”
I wonder if he had a wry smile on his face as he uttered those words, or if his mind was already calculating where his future might lie after 6th. May?
The biggest question which remains amid this fallout is whether or not the “bigotgate affair” will prove to be a pivotal point in a Labour campaign which so far has failed to hit any high notes, with the party struggling to get out of third place in the polls. The unmasking of Brown’s character in such a public manner, serves only to confirm what many political commentators have been saying for a long time about his dark moods and inability to accept any criticisms, the alleged bullying of his staff, and a determination to have things his own way, Tony Blair is probably relaxing in the sun today laughing his head off.
Brown’s remarks about Mrs. Duffy may well have served to alienate the very type of voters that Labour desperately needs to hang on to – white, working class, low waged or unwaged, northern, and female! If “Rochdale woman” deserts Labour, votes Conservative or Liberal Democrat or God forbid BNP, the Labour Party could see itself doomed to third place opposition for many years ahead. Brown’s ill judged remarks could possibly heap much damage upon his party, although not quite in the Ramsey MacDonald proportions.