I’ve somehow just managed to watch the original conversation between Gordon Brown and Gillian Duffy, the woman our current Prime Minister now infamously called ‘bigoted’.
I make this sound like some kind of a feat, because it proved tricky to find the clip of the actual conversation.
Most of the news outlets covering the story have decided it is best to merely show a small, irrelevant snippet of the end of their conversation and then the recording as Brown grumbles his true feelings in the car, not realising he is slowly unravelling the entire Labour campaign.
Are we all not intelligent enough to watch the actual conversation, hear Brown’s comments, and then make an informed decision ourselves as to whether or not Ms Duffy deserved this label?
This aside, what strikes me most when watching the confrontation was how basic Ms Duffy’s complaints about immigration were. Any quick-witted, loquacious leader would have heard that she simply had the same old, typical, but granted rather ignorant, complaints as many other people in the country right now.
With his far superior knowledge and understanding about immigration Brown could have so easily quickly put her mind at ease by efficiently explaining to her the importance of immigration, what is going to be happening with it going forward, and why she has no reason to be concerned about it.
She would have been happier with him, he would have very quickly seen that really she was just having a moan because people almost feel they are meant to be moaning about immigration these days, and the whole incident would have been avoided as he would have understood there was probably no real reason to call her ‘bigoted’.
I’ve written before about Brown’s image problems. He may be very intelligent, and quite frankly on the intellectual or economic side of things I would far rather he was running the country than David Cameron, but what Brown doesn’t seem to realise is that this is just not enough if you want to be a leader.
You need to have the emotional intelligence not to land yourself in these situations quite so frequently. You need to be able to read other people and the environment around you to seemlessly navigate each day and each person’s grievance without continually landing yourself in hot water.
I thought the incident would leave me liking Brown more. Finally some honesty in politics, even if it was not on purpose.
But instead I’ve seen yet again that he is just dismally not Prime Ministerial material. He and his party should have realised this a long time ago, and maybe then we wouldn’t be facing the equally depressing reality that we are probably going to be under Cameron’s ‘leadership’ from May 6th.
By Sophie Hudson