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Author Topic: Gordon Brown eats shoe?  (Read 811 times)

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Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Gordon Brown eats shoe?
« on: April 29, 2010, 12:50:44 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/04/29/uk.election.brown.bigot.apology/index.html


Quote
London, England (CNN) -- Continued criticism over a campaign gaffe by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown threatened to take attention away from the third and final televised election debate Thursday night.

Though Brown apologized again Thursday, his campaigning was repeatedly interrupted by questions about what happened a day earlier, when he was caught calling a supporter of his own Labour Party "bigoted" for her views on immigration.

"I think people know that if you can make a mistake and you apologize, and you talk to the person who was concerned about it, that people understand that," Brown said Thursday morning when a reporter asked him about the remark. "But I think people also know that I'm talking about the big issues. I'm talking about not just immigration -- I'm talking about the economy."

Brown could not escape the controversy when he campaigned Thursday at a factory in Halesowen, just west of Birmingham, but he also sought to put it behind him. "Yesterday is yesterday," he said.

Thursday night's debate, at the University of Birmingham, starts off focusing on the designated theme, the economy. After that, the studio audience and TV viewers may ask questions of the leaders on any topic.

Full election coverage
Video: Brown sorry for 'bigoted woman' remark
Video: BNP aim for seat in Parliament
Video: UK election political humor

"When it comes down to it, this election will be about the economy and public services, and how people see the economy and the future of public services," Brown said.

Like the two earlier debates, held on the last two Thursdays, the event will last 90 minutes, and the audience may not respond to the leaders' answers to their questions. Applause is also restricted to the beginning and end of the night, according to the BBC, which is hosting the event.

The three main parties drew lots to determine the order of speaking, the BBC said. Conservative Party leader David Cameron will open Thursday's debate; Brown began the one last week and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg started off the first forum.

It was during a campaign stop near Manchester Wednesday that Brown encountered 65-year-old Gillian Duffy, who called herself a lifelong Labour supporter. Duffy used the unplanned meeting to raise a series of concerns, including immigration.

At one point, Duffy asked about "all these Eastern Europeans coming in."

After ending the conversation with Duffy, Brown got into his car and was driven away, but he was still wearing a radio microphone that allowed broadcasters to hear his comments to an aide.

"That was a disaster," Brown said about the encounter with Duffy. "Should never have put me with that woman -- whose idea was that?"

He added, "She was just a sort of bigoted woman."

Presented with a tape of the overheard conversation shortly afterwards on a radio show, Brown held his head in his hands. The image was carried in many British newspapers Thursday.

The headline accompanying the picture on the cover of The Sun tabloid read, "Brown Toast."

Brown then turned around and drove to Duffy's home in Rochdale, saying he was "mortified" by what had happened. He said he gave her his "sincere apologies" and said it was a result of a misunderstanding.

Hurting Duffy, Brown said Thursday, was "the last thing I would ever want to do."

Commentators were wondering whether Brown's gaffe sealed Labour's defeat in the May 6 poll. They pointed out that his chat with Duffy had actually gone well -- Duffy initially said she would be voting for Brown -- but that his comment about her had turned that around.

Duffy appeared shocked Wednesday when she listened to the recording of Brown talking about her. She said she wouldn't now be voting in the election and had ripped up her absentee ballot.

"Sometimes in politics, you find the day you have is completely different to the one you planned," Brown wrote on the Labour website Thursday. "So it was yesterday."

Brown also published the contents of a letter sent to Labour Party members apologizing to them for what happened.

"I profoundly regret what I said," Brown wrote. "I am under no illusions as to how much scorn some in the media will want to heap upon me in the days ahead."

How big a gaff did he make?

I'm asking the british members since I figure they are the ones who are going to be voting for or against his party

Offline Dim Hon

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Re: Gordon Brown eats shoe?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2010, 07:50:15 PM »
I don't see what the fuss is over. Like it's a shock politicians are two-faced liars.

No, Mrs Duffy wasn't a bigot. She is an uneducated, rightly concerned old lady asking questions in the only way she could.

Brown had no right lashing out at his staff verbally, and was very wrong to say that about Mrs Duffy. But it's not as if we thought sun shined from his arse. This hasn't changed my mind on who I'm voting for. I knew who I'd vote for since Tony Blair fled his position. 

Offline September

Re: Gordon Brown eats shoe?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2010, 08:00:39 PM »
In my humble opinion, it's kind of telling that he automatically dismissed her as a bigot for daring to bring up the subject of immigration.  This blog post by Daniel Hannan captured exactly my thoughts on it - with apologies to those on the left who do not do this, of course, Hannan is generalising too much.  But after this event I think it's accurate in the case of Gordon Brown.

Quote
Gordon Brown has evinced the single ugliest feature of the Left, namely its belief that opposed views are morally, rather than intellectually, mistaken. You want to cut taxes? You hate the poor! You believe in national parliamentary democracy? You xenophobe! You think that we should determine for ourselves the number of settlers who come to Britain each year? You bigoted woman!

I used to think that such self-righteousness was a symptom of stupidity, but I’m beginning to realise it’s a form of narcissism. When someone uses a phrase like “bigoted woman” or “evil Tory scum”, what he’s actually saying is: “much the most wicked thing you can do is not to fiddle your taxes, cheat on your spouse or lie to your friends, but to disagree with me!”

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Gordon Brown eats shoe?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2010, 09:48:26 PM »
I asked because while I follow the UK news (somewhat, having spent 2 1/2 years growing up in your neighbor's yard, the Republic of Ireland) and I don't think I've EVER seen CNN telecast anything major on a British PM election and they did the full break down on that comment (which I put to the same level as verbal gaffs over here) AND the debate the 3 canidates had today.

I was stunned. For a moment I thought I was watching BBC till I remembered I don't have access to BBC America here in Jax. (I refuse to pay 30 bucks more a month for 2 channels out of the 50 I'd get)

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Re: Gordon Brown eats shoe?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2010, 05:00:19 PM »
...I don't think I've EVER seen CNN telecast anything major on a British PM election ...

I just snipped that part out to comment on Callie as I think that this is a misconception that unfortunately a lot of the British public seem to have and which has been furthered by the TV debates.  We do not elect a PM in the UK we vote- or perhaps I should correct that to "we should vote"- for the MPs that will represent the constituency we live in.  The trouble with the way that things have developed is that people are making their electoral choices forgetting that they are voting in a person to represent their constituency in parliament and the parties are colluding in this.

Normally, we have tons of leaflets and propaganda about each party's plans and about the local candidates at election time.  When I cleared the ton of stuff that had been pushed through my letterbox while I was stuck in Greece, hardly any of it was to do with the election and none of it was about the local candidates (even from the Lib Dems who have been very community minded in the past). 

In short, the whole of the electoral system has been reduced to a choice on the personalities of three men rather than a choice on policy or a choice on what's right at a local level.  To me this is far more of a mistake than any comment Gordon Brown has made about an OAP.

Offline Huginn

Re: Gordon Brown eats shoe?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2010, 06:11:18 PM »
All I have to say is I wonder when we stopped enjoying leaders who could toss a good insult around. Over in the US we could never think of telling someone off in politics, and it seems to be getting bad over there as well. I am not implying its polite but I simply wonder when the change happened.

Offline TheWriter

Re: Gordon Brown eats shoe?
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2010, 10:49:26 PM »
So this Brown fellow is in trouble for calling someone a bigot?  Jeez, heaven help him if he dropped the f-bomb over his in-flight meal like our Illustrious Leader K-Rudd.  Not many countries let their political leaders get away with intentionally saying 'shitstorm' on national television.

As for Brown, yes, someone like him being caught throwing around a word like bigot is very damaging, it was an unfortunate circumstance to fall victim to.  But in his defense it does sound like Mrs Duffy could've taken a bit more care in the way she presented her question.  Sure, it could very well have been a serious, level-headed query, but the first time I read her comments verbatim gave me the impression of at least a little bigotry.  I feel for the woman, being called a bigot across the country would hurt anyone; but at the same time, knowing she'd be addressing a prominent leader of her nation, she could have been a little more aware of how her words could be interpreted.

Offline GeekFury

Re: Gordon Brown eats shoe?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2010, 04:20:01 AM »
As for Brown, yes, someone like him being caught throwing around a word like bigot is very damaging, it was an unfortunate circumstance to fall victim to.  But in his defense it does sound like Mrs Duffy could've taken a bit more care in the way she presented her question.  Sure, it could very well have been a serious, level-headed query, but the first time I read her comments verbatim gave me the impression of at least a little bigotry.  I feel for the woman, being called a bigot across the country would hurt anyone; but at the same time, knowing she'd be addressing a prominent leader of her nation, she could have been a little more aware of how her words could be interpreted.

True but Brown wanted to meet the 'Common People' of Britian yet he was meeting hand picked indaviduals to talk to, wich defeats the purpose and has he said, "Should never have put me with that woman -- whose idea was that?", so he got thrown a curve ball. Ok so she worded her statement wrong, but she's not Oxford educated, maybe she did'nt even go to High School.

On the flip side though, her comments while put badly are are fore front to alot of Brittish people on imigration and that is how it is generaly discussed by them. While I in some way agree the immigration to Britian is getting abit out of hand and the goverment is fudging the numbers to make it all pan out, I don't agree to her level, but I say kudos to her, she actually gave him the 'Common Peoples' view and if he does'nt like it, he should'nt go to see the 'Common People'.

Also on a great note for the papers now, she was a supporter of Gordan Brown and the Labour party and now she has said she would'nt vote in the election because of those remarks. Way to go and piss off the few people left that still want you in power, few more and you're boned!