Meltdown: Open mic catches British PM calling voter bigoted

Not just any voter, either. A lifelong Labour voter. Think of this as the British version of Obama’s tete-a-tete with Joe the Plumber, except more so: Not only has the media gone berserk over the electoral game-changer potential, but the topic (immigration!) is more hot-button and it’s rounded off by a sneering, surreptitious personal insult. Even better? The final debate between the PM candidates is tomorrow night, so groveling on national television is very much on tap. I’m giving you the full exchange in the first clip below — the “bigoted” part comes at the end as Brown’s car is speeding away — but here’s the transcript in case you can’t make it out:


Duffy: We had it drummed in when I was a child with mine … it was education, health service and looking after the people who are vulnerable. But there’s too many people now who are vulnerable but they can claim and people who are vulnerable can’t get claim, can’t get it.

Brown: But they shouldn’t be doing that, there is no life on the dole for people any more. If you are unemployed you’ve got to go back to work. It’s six months.

Duffy: You can’t say anything about the immigrants because you’re saying that you’re … but all these eastern European what are coming in, where are they flocking from?

And then, in the car:

Aide: I’m not sure if they [the media] will go with that.

Brown: They will go with that.

Aide: What did she say?

Brown: Oh everything, she was just a sort of bigoted woman. She said she used be Labour. I mean it’s just ridiculous.

Brown apologized, first by kinda sorta blaming an aide and then, as you’ll see in the second clip, by phoning Duffy, but the damage is done. If you’re not up for three videos, at least make time for the last one, in which Duffy reacts — live, on camera — to the audio of his insult. The look on her face is pure spun gold. Quote:

“He is an educated person. Why is he using words like that?” Duffy said. “He is going to lead this country and he’s calling an ordinary woman who has just come up and asked him questions that most people would ask him … a bigot.”

A “very upset” Duffy added that Brown’s comments had cost him her vote.


Exit question for British readers: Aren’t there any media outlets and/or Labour backbenchers available to smear the hoi polloi on Brown’s behalf? That’s how we handle things in the U.S. of A when those pesky “teabaggers” make life difficult for Obama. Say what you will about The One, he’s at least smart enough to let his surrogates handle the feces-throwing. Especially when there are mics around.

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