Gordon’s apology to Mrs Duffy

April 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm (Gordon Brown, grovelling, immigration, insanity, Jim D, labour party)

I’ve just received this email (below)  from The Leader.
My initial reaction was that Brown should stand his ground, and that this grovelling just makes things worse. But having seen the film of what Mrs Duffy actually said (not good but not a racist rant) and bearing in mind the way in which Brown and the Labour leadership have been willing to pander to anti-immigrant sentiment over the years, it seems a bit rich to now decry a working class voter who raises the issue as a “bigoted woman”… 

James, As you may know, I have apologised to Mrs Duffy for remarks I made in the back of the car after meeting her on the campaign trail in Rochdale today. I would also like to apologise to you. 

Many of you know me personally. You know I have strengths as well as weaknesses. We all do. You also know that sometimes we say and do things we regret. I profoundly regret what I said this morning.
I am under no illusions as to how much scorn some in the media will want to heap upon me in the days ahead.
But you, like I, know what is at stake in the days ahead and so we must redouble our campaigning efforts to stop Britain returning to a Tory Party that would do so much damage to our economy, our society and our schools and NHS, not least in places like Rochdale.
The worst thing about today is the hurt I caused to Mrs Duffy, the kind of person I came into politics to serve. It is those people I will have in my mind as I look ahead to the rest of the campaign.
You will have seen me in one context on the TV today. I hope tomorrow you see once more someone not just proud to be your leader, but also someone who understands the economic challenges we face, how to meet them, and how that improves the lives of ordinary families all around Britain.
I know how hard you all work to fight for me and the Labour Party, and to ensure we get our case over to the public. So when the mistake I made today has so dominated the news, doubtless with some impact on your own campaigning activities, I want you to know I doubly appreciate the efforts you make. Regards, Gordon
To unsubscribe, please click here. Privacy: we won’t pass on your email address to anyone else. See http://www.labour.org.uk/privacy Reproduced from an email sent by the Labour Party, promoted by Ray Collins, General Secretary, the Labour Party, on behalf of the Labour Party, all at 39 Victoria Street, London,


  1. Will said,

    Bigoted Woman on Twitter

  2. Clive said,

    The real scandal is that clearly the Labour leadership regard these attitudes as ‘bigoted’ but, rather than argue with them, pander to them. If they had the slightest balls they would be explaining why they think these attitudes are bigoted in the first place.

  3. hklovejoy said,

    Exactly Clive! And if anyone’s bigoted it’s Mr Brown, who evidently cannot tolerate anyone whose views do not agree with his. Mrs Duffy’s points were made articulately and well and were not racist but were genuine concerns, and Mr Brown’s fawning attitude to her, while later decrying her in “private” (he hoped!), is exactly the sort of attitude he contually implies are those of “toffs”. You can’t help suspecting his only “regret” was that he was actually caught in this nasty behaviour. Why couldn’t he just say sorry?

    PS What’s a Shiraz Socialist? Last time I was in Shiraz (Iran) I had a great time thanks to one of the provincial Chiefs of Police inviting us to smoke opium with him, but there was no Shiraz (wine) available. Could there be another Shiraz?

  4. charliethechulo said,

    hklovejoy: the origins of the name “Shiraz Socialist” are lost in the mists of time, but may have something to do with Woy Jenkins and the Gang of Four/SDP in the 1980’s. Volty chose the name: maybe he’ll emerge from his hibernation to explain.

    Btw: readers really should check out Will’s link to Bigoted Woman on twitter: it had me laughing out loud.

  5. maxdunbar said,

    Polls this afternoon say 50% of people think no worse of Brown for this.

    It was a mega fuckup but is it the only story of this election?

    The rightwing press have seized on this because their candidate is not doing as well as he should be against a third term government led by an unpopular PM. First Big Society idea exposed as transparent wonkery and then Cameron was completely thrown by the Clegg surge. Meanwhile the Sun has staked its reputation on the Tories winning outright.

    In a weird way, his duplicity and incompetence make Brown seem more human.

  6. Rosie said,

    Polls this afternoon say 50% of people think no worse of Brown for this.

    That must be the 50% who remember making stupid gaffes of their own eg one of my colleagues texted her friend:- “My boss is a cnut” and found she had texted her boss by mistake. I don’t think it’s worth the splash – it was headlined like D-Day or Kennedy’s assassination in some of the press.

  7. Lobby Ludd said,

    “That must be the 50% who remember making stupid gaffes of their own eg one of my colleagues texted her friend:- “My boss is a cnut” and found she had texted her boss by mistake.”

    Yeah, and I frequently spit my coffee all over the screen or keyboard, it’s the wit wot duz it.

  8. Matt said,

    The Aberdeen Press and Journal strangely gets its spot on:

    “Gillian Duffy did leave herself open to criticism when she strayed away from her questions on the state of the economy and the NHS and complained about “all those immigrants flocking here from eastern Europe”. There is a certain amount of irony in a woman with a distinctly Irish name wittering on about immigration.

    And she wasn’t on her own. When the BBC reporter did a small vox pop among Gillian’s neighbours, he spoke to several people with Irish names. We had a Mrs Keane, a Mr O’Sullivan and a Mrs O’Shea. And they were all complaining about the number of foreigners coming to Britain.

    It’s just as well for them that the good people of Rochdale didn’t feel the same way about the Irish immigrants who flocked to Britain to avoid starvation at the time of the great famine.”


  9. Dr Paul said,

    What more intrigued me about this farce was that afterwards the Broon asked his factotum why this woman was allowed near him. This is the real scandal: leading British politicians feel the need for crowds around them to be vetted so they don’t ask awkward questions.

    It’s pathetic. They are so hopeless at real debate and dealing with hostile or even difficult questions that anyone deemed liable to ask one must be kept securely away from them.

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