I’d like to start by making the point that the Gordon Brown gaffe now being named as “bigotgate” has been blown out of proportion, mainly by the media but also through sites such as twitter.
I’ve seen a number of responses to what has happened, many more sensational than the last. Firstly, there’s the Murdoch angle. I label it the Murdoch angle because The Sun and Sky are doing most of the Tories dirty work when it comes to spinning. It’s no secret that The Sun has changed allegiance to the Conservatives and Murdoch is doing all in his considerable power to see us return to the dark days of Tory government. I haven’t written anything about the Murdoch Press thus far as I was outraged by the reporting of last weeks debate by Sky News. I was so disgusted by their blatant Tory bias that I felt unable to coherently write about what I was witnessing without resorting to expletives or libelous language.
Bigotgate has been a field day for Murdoch industries and I wouldn’t be surprised if there have been tears of Tory joy over Gordon Brown’s gaffe. They certainly have done their part to fuel the incident and blow it out of proportion in an attempt to further smear Brown’s public image. Take for example the gagging of a poll which showed a smidgen of support for Brown.
The opposite angle to this is that in defence of Brown. I’m thinking in particular of an oversensitive article by Milena Popova. People have the right to be offended by whatever has that affect on them and I’m sure Popova has her reasons for being offended but was what Gillian Duffy said really bigoted?
Gillian Duffy raised a point on immigration, in particular the number of Eastern Europeans in Rochdale. Let’s make it clear, it is perfectly acceptable to tackle the issue of immigration. It is a major issue in all policy making. Throughout her discussion with Gordon Brown, Gillian Duffy spoke intelligently with knowledge of party policies and has been let down by the unfortunately comedic sound bite of her saying “Eastern Europeans, where are they coming from?” which it is not fair to judge her on. In her defence I cannot see how anything she said could be considered bigoted. Immigration is there to be tackled and if people are afraid of talking about it then as a society were are entering dangerous territory. Here are some facts on Easter European immigration.
We must remind ourselves that Gillian Duffy is a self professed life long Labour voter, precisely what the Tories are targeting. It is no secret that David Cameron et al want to swing Labours core vote their way. Is it any surprise then that Gordon Brown calling one of his own core voters a bigot was leapt on by the right wing press?
It must also be highlighted that Gordon Brown tried to steer away from the subject of immigration when challenged by Duffy, probably because Labour policy on immigration, while they “recognise people’s legitimate concerns about the impact it can have on communities”, takes a slightly different angle to that of Duffy. There is not much on cutting back on immigration as so much as putting more controls in place. I think our diverse society is something we can be proud of in this country with race relations constantly improving. That is not to say that for people like Gillian Duffy it should not be a concern.
It seems Gordon Brown doesn’t like the subject of immigration being addressed and to me this is a reflection of the uber-politically-correct movement we have seen during this Labour government. To mention immigration or to be concerned by the opportunities available to the British population is to be racist. This is ridiculous. British people have every right to feel aggrieved if job opportunities are being taken by immigrants just as the population of any other country would have the same right. Writing this I am actually wincing at the thought of me coming across very Daily Mail. I think this a result of the overly cautious, easily offended society we have become under this Labour government. It’s about time we were able to tackle issues such as immigration head on and allow people to voice their opinions as they have a right to do.
Also, I’d like to put to bed any notion that Gordon Brown is alone in his dual facades. Do you really think no other politician moans about the public after having met them? I cannot for a second believe that David Cameron says nice things about the “hoodies” he has met once he gets back into his Jaguar. Remember, and I don’t like defending politicians, but we are allowed to say what we like about them but they can’t say what they like about us, but I guess that’s the price they pay for getting into a position where they need our votes.
As a final point I’d like to highlight two more concerns. Firstly, whether he was right to say what he said or not, do we really want a man who will say something that will land him in hot water while wearing a microphone, leading our country? And secondly as the Murdoch machine keeps rolling and getting stronger with every day I just hope the general public are intelligent enough to see through the bias and vote for what is best for them and not what suits Rupert and co. I’m sure we are, aren’t we?
A fairly middle of the road article about a fairly middle of the road story.