The Great Debate UK
- Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is the author of several books, including ‘Who Moved my Job?’ and ‘Global Services: Moving to a Level Playing Field’. He is participating in the Reuters Election 2010 politics live blog during the leaders’ debates and on election night. The opinions expressed are his own. -
A pensioner, Gillian Duffy, complained to Gordon Brown about the number of immigrants coming into the UK – amongst other things. It’s a familiar complaint the prime minister will have heard many times before, but this time he made a private comment about her in his car just after the event – calling her a ‘bigoted woman’ – and Sky News had left their radio microphone on his suit … so the private comments were recorded and replayed to the world.
It was a private comment, and many would credit Brown with telling the frank truth. But many online discussions are already calling this a watershed moment, with the implication being that anyone who is concerned about immigration is now tarnished as a bigot by the prime minister.
Any sensible observer would see that Brown was just making a private comment about a member of the electorate who was allowed to let off steam in front of the media machine, but this could be a disaster for Labour.