Eight days before the British election Labour Party leader Gordon Brown makes a tremendous gaffe on an open mic. The polls suggest Labour is already in third place but this may collapse their vote entirely. From the Telegraph:
Emboldened by Mr Brown's new confidence dealing with the great British public, one of his senior Downing Street staffers, Sue Nye, clearly thought he would be more than a match for Gillian Duffy, an opinionated 66-year-old widow who was vociferously voicing her views to anyone who would listen as Mr Brown visited a community payback scheme for offenders in Rochdale.
Mrs Duffy was delighted - robustly telling the Prime Minister her thoughts on a range of issues, from student tuition fee, to the deficit and, apparently to Mr Brown's disgust, immigration.
Their conversation was overheard by dozens of gleeful journalists and camera crews, again to Mr Brown's dismay.
As he climbed into his waiting Jaguar, he turned to his adviser and demanded to know who had been responsible for putting him in a situation he found so uncomfortable.
"She's just a sort of bigoted woman who says she used to be Labour," he raged.
Full transcript of the exchange below with Brown's open contempt for a voter who has probably supported Labour her entire life.
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?
Later, as he was leaving
Brown: Very good to meet you, and you're wearing the right colour today. Ha, ha, ha: How many grandchildren do you have?
Duffy: Two. They've just got back from Australia where they got stuck for 10 days. They couldn't get back with this ash crisis.
Brown: We've been trying to get people back quickly. Are they going to university. Is that the plan?
Duffy: I hope so. They're only 12 and 10.
Brown: Are they're doing well at school? [pats Duffy on the back] A good family, good to see you. It's very nice to see you.
In the car
Brown: That was a disaster. Well I just ... should never have put me in that woman. Whose idea was that?
Aide: I don't know, I didn't see.
Brown: It was Sue [Nye] I think. It was just ridiculous.
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 to be Labour. I mean it's just ridiculous.