Gordon’s Gaffe Heard ‘Round The World
Like most Americans, I really don’t pay much attention to the political happenings that happen on the other side of the border of the United States. I have to admit that I don’t know many leaders of other countries around the world. The ones I do know are the ones who occasionally appear in the news. I know there’s Angela Merkel in Germany who didn’t look too happy when President George Bush tried to give her a back rub during one of those world leader summits. There’s Silvio Berlusconi in Italy who had the party with all the naked women at his official resident. Kim Jung Il in North Korea stays in the news with his threats to blow South Korea to hell. I know Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the President of Iran that we constantly hear wants to develop a nuclear bomb to take out Israel that has an undisclosed number of nuclear weapons to retaliate, although admittedly there is some debate over whether or not Mr. Ahmadinejad truly runs the country. Ban Ki Moon isn’t the leader of the country but as the leader of United Nations I think he ranks a worth mentioning. And then there’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown of England who made the news lately because of a gaffe heard around the world.
I can’t believe that Prime Minister Gordon Brown would be caught saying something so utterly stupid. It was an embarrassing mistake with just a week before England voters go to the polls. Supposedly, Mr. Brown was caught on an open microphone calling an elderly widow on a pension a bigot. While engaging in a meet and greet with the commoners, Mr. Gordon had the unfortunate luck to run across sixty six year old Gillian Duffy. Ms. Duffy peppered the Prime Minister with questions about taxes, the national debt, and immigrants from eastern Europe. The woman insisted that Mr. Gordon do something. Mr. Gordon tried to answer her questions and recover some shred of his dignity. But he quickly ended the campaigning and got into a car and sped away. As he left, the microphone he was wearing during the campaign stop was still on and he was overheard talking to an aide saying that the whole affair was a disaster and referring to Ms. Duffy as a sort of bigoted woman.
Mr. Brown later paid a visit to Ms. Duffy’s house to apologize personally for his insult. It was his third apology to the woman after first saying he was sorry during a radio interview and secondly by a telephone call placed to Ms. Duffy. Mr. Brown said he was mortified by what happened. The visit lasted forty minutes. Mr. Brown said that he had misunderstood some of Ms. Duffy’s comments and reevaluated his approach in order to relate to her fears over the eastern European immigrants in Britain. The Prime Minister emailed members of his party and apologized for his mistake. And there’s some speculation that this event has cost Mr. Brown’s party any hopes of a favorable result in the election. Mr. Brown’s party is currently in last place in most opinion polls, behind the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Most pollsters believe that Britain is heading for a hung parliament where no single party has an overall majority.
Mr. Brown probably jumped to conclusions about what Ms. Duffy was trying to say. But anybody who bothers to take a look at the conservation could reasonably conclude that Ms. Duffy was a bigot. She talked about the fact that she had to work hard all her life to earn a living and now that she’s retired she’s being taxed on her pension. And then she added to the conversation with a comment about how the government is taking her hard earned money and is giving it to all the people who don’t work and don’t try to find work. And then Ms. Duffy went even further and made the association to the Eastern Europeans who are coming into the country. Ms. Duffy sounds like one of those people in Arizona who wants to solve all of the state’s problems by rounding up all the illegal aliens through questioning anybody who fits a supposedly generic racial profile but looks like they might be from some slum in Mexico.
The gaffe I saw Mr. Brown make was not challenging the woman’s assertions right there on the spot. He should’ve asked for the clarification he needed to remove the reasonable doubt from others. Instead, Mr. Brown continued to talking to the woman trying to placate her fears with inconsequential political talking points. Ms. Duffy wasn’t there to placate Mr. Brown. She saw an opportunity to voice her opinion and she took full advantage of it. If Mr. Brown honestly thought that the woman was being a bigot he should’ve addressed that bigotry right there on the spot. Instead, he wants to say how he really felt under his breath. The only reason he went back to Ms. Duffy’s house was to undo the damage he made to his campaign. He didn’t care about that bigot. All he cared about was politics. His attempt to repair the damage done to his party’s image was truly lame. Mr. Brown is oozing with lame right now and his high political hopes are going down in flames. Ms. Duffy may have been a bigot. Some people might argue one way or the other. But Gordon Brown is lame. And there should be no doubt about that.
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