Tories and Liberal Democrats are gloating over Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s “bigot” gaffe.
Brown called Gillian Duffy, a Labour voter, a bigot when he thought the microphones were off. It sent media into a frenzy, particularly British political blogs, and became a popular hashtag on Twitter: #bigotgate.
I have doubts, however, about whether this will be the key moment of the election. John Prescott threw a punch at a voter in 2001 and it didn’t hurt his party’s chances. The last “leader” debate occurs tomorrow afternoon, allowing Brown a quick opportunity to put the mess in the past. And he has already offered his groveling apology and flowers, spending more than 30 minutes in the grandmother’s modest home in the town of Rochdale:
Sometimes you do make mistakes and you use wrong words, and once you’ve used that word and you’ve made a mistake, you should withdraw it and say profound apologies, and that’s what I’ve done.
Calling an old woman “a bigot” for asking about immigration is a pretty dumb thing to do, but not surprising considering the tenor of the immigration debate in England. No major party cares to touch it with any meaningful legislation, despite the polls defining it is a major concern for a large number of Britons.
In the U.S., the Arizona law requiring police to enforce immigration law has brought out similar charges of bigotry and racism. Advocates for illegals are up in arms and boycotts are being threatened. Supporters of the law are calling for a “buycott” — greater commerce with Arizona.
One dangerous loon called for murder.
In the UK, politicians are so obsessed with political correctness that they panic at an off-color remark by a member of their party. In recent days a Conservative candidate has been forced to resign because he called homosexuality “unnatural,” and a Labour candidate met the same fate for saying he would rather his daughter “not marry a Muslim.” Several other candidates have had to resign over comments involving immigrants and crime levels, even if what they were saying was in fact objective and in the public record.