Politics Summary: Thursday, April 29th

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With polling day just a week away, there’s only one story dominating the morning’s papers, the prime minister’s encounter with Mrs Duffy. The right-wing press go into overdrive, the Mail talking about “censorship” of “any debate” on immigration and “contempt” for “millions of voters”; The Sun described Gordon Brown’s election hopes as “toast”; the Telegraph says the gaffe “may cost him the election”; and The Times says the blunder “plunges Labour into crisis”. There is more considered reaction from The Guardian, where Andrew Rawnsley writes: “Wearing two faces is not, of course, a hypocrisy unique to Brown.

“I’d wager a decent sum that both David Cameron and Nick Clegg have blown off to aides after awkward encounters with voters. They just haven’t been caught at it.” In The Independent, Steve Richards asks why Brown made his blunder, and explores the pressure leaders are under: “Elections are based on an illusion that political leaders like and respect every single voter they meet. Voters are allowed to harangue leaders, but never the other way around… Goodness knows what is going on in Brown’s exhausted mind when he makes these wholly misjudged, angry exclamations… The most dangerous element of this sequence for Labour was Ms Duffy’s parting words. She declared that she was not planning to vote Labour at the election. Of all the moods whirling around this election the anti-Labour one is strongest… The real danger for Labour is not what Gordon Brown said to Gillian Duffy, but what she said to him. Fairly or not, Gillian Duffy speaks for many voters.”

In the wake of the story, many reports suggest evidence that the right-wing media will stop at nothing to parachute David Cameron into Downing Street, BBC Breakfast reporting that The Sun offered Mrs Duffy money and interviewed her – and tried to entice her into endorsing the opposition; she didn’t, no front-page splash ensued. This follows The Sun’s spiking of a poll showing support for the Lib Dems. Last night the Next Left blog had a post titled “Want to say you’ve been let down by Labour? Get some cash from The Sun” which reported how “The Sun’s political editor has been reported saying ‘It is my job to see that Cameron fucking well gets into Downing Street'”. Left Foot Forward last night reported that, if the stories about The Sun tapping up Mrs Dufffy were true, “it would be in keeping with other recent rumours of the tabloid’s spending pattern”. And The Guardian carries an article by John Prescott, in which he says the bigot ‘gaffe’ “is nothing but a Murdoch plot… Make no mistake, Gordon Brown was mugged – by a politically partisan media empire with no qualms about breaching privacy”.

All eyes now shift from Rochdale to Birmingham, and the third and final leaders’ debate, on the most important issue of all, the economy. Nick Watt in The Guardian says it will be Nick Clegg who faces the most pressure, facing his “toughest test” tonight, the Liberal Democrat leader “anxious to maintain his bounce”. The report says: “A third strong performance will help Clegg to intensify the Lib Dem squeeze on David Cameron and allow him to exploit Gordon Brown’s woes after yesterday’s ‘bigot@ row. A less assured performance could see Cameron, who was given an eight-point lead over the Lib Dems in one poll yesterday, finally securing a decisive breakthrough a week before polling day… A Populus poll in the Times put them in second place on 28%, down three points, eight points behind the Tories who were on 36%, up four points. Labour was in third place on 27%, down one point. But a YouGov poll in the Sun showed a much tighter picture. The Tories were unchanged in first place on 33%. Labour was second on 29%, up one point. The Lib Dems were in third place on 28%, down one point.” The Standard says the debate represents an instant opportunity for the pm to move on from the “bigot” row: “Gordon Brown will attempt to lift himself for the third and final prime ministerial debate after offering a grovelling apology for branding a pensioner “bigoted”. With just a week left until the General Election and polls showing the parties still deadlocked, Labour strategists have been billing Thursday evening’s economy-themed clash as an opportunity for the Prime Minister to turn the tide of the campaign.”

The main news outside of the campaign is the Eurozone financial crisis which has spread from Greece to Spain. The Financial Times reports that fears “intensified” as Spain suffered a downgrade in its credit rating from AA+ to AA, following the downgrading to junk status of Greece. The Guardian reports German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s comments that Greece should not have joined the Euro: “In 2000 we had a situation when we were confronted with the question of whether Greece should be able to join the eurozone… It turned out that the decision [in favour] may not have been scrutinised closely enough.” Head of the OECD Angel Gurría added: “This is like ebola. When you realise you have it you have to cut your leg off in order to survive.” The Telegraph reports on the warnings for Britain: “Economists fear that events in Spain show that financial “contagion” is spreading from Greece, as investors are scared off investing in any European country with significant government deficits… Britain’s government deficit this year will be bigger than that of either Greece or Spain, and some City analysts believe the UK’s AAA credit rating could be cut, driving up interest rates and raising the prospect of Britain being bailed out by the International Monetary Fund.”

And The Independent reports that “eco-friendly” products may not be “as green as they appear”. It reports that supermarket chains and manufacturers “may be exaggerating some of their claims” for “eco” cleaners and washing powders: “While all the products made by the likes of Ecover, Green Force and Tesco did some good for the planet, almost half of them made claims that seemed not to be justified… While they [Which? consumer magazine] gave a thumbs-up to disposable nappies and wipes made by Sainsbury’s, Asda, Earth Friendly and others, they disputed some of the claims made for laundry tablets and, especially, lavatory cleaners… Some of Tesco’s claims for its Naturally lavatory cleaner ‘lacked evidence’ – particularly the claim that it contained no phosphates and left no chemical residues, since, the panel pointed out, this did not apply to normal cleaners either.” In response, Tesco agreed to remove some of its claims.

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24 Responses to “Politics Summary: Thursday, April 29th”

  1. Mary Maguire

    RT @leftfootfwd: Politics Summary: http://bit.ly/8Zk2Ho – Brown under fire for "bigot" gaffe

  2. Fat Bloke on Tour

    Very valid point about politicians being whipping boys, who have to stand there and take it from the public but not hand it out. Possibly this has always been the case but in the partisan, bi-polar world of the past you could always say “shut it you Tory muppet” and tribal loyalties would support you to the hilt.

    Greater fluidity in politics means that is not now possible.

    On the subject of voter interaction yesterdays incident was terrible on a number of levels but to my mind it is second rate compared to the “mummy” of them all, the WI harpies putting the boot in CB supposedly over her breeding habits. Different league entirely, comments not about a politician but against his partner, comments made in the open after reflection not in private in the heat of the moment, comments about supposed lifestyle and beliefs not policy or opinion.

    Whatever happened to those people?

    On the set up rumours, as always Paul “Semen” Staines has let the cat out of the bag by his inability to keep his mouth shut. Sky seemingly have been monitoring the PM’s comments for some time waiting for a juicy morsel to appear, he was gloating in his blog that this was not the first time GB had got involved with private conversations being captured by this mechanism, just that the results were not worthy of further publicity and that he had even discussed the issue in previous comments.

    Beyond irony that a company with heavy NI involvement would stoop to expoit underhand tactics to generate headlines, given the trouble that NI / NotW got into with their phone hacking episode.

    Finally does SKY supply all the radio mics for all the politicians out on the stump or just Labour ones. I would speculate that if they do they then have plenty of evidence of in-discrete comments, just a case that they are selective about what they re-issue.

    Consequently is there any mechanism to get this out into the open?
    FOI requests, do they only involve the public sector?

  3. Mr. Sensible

    This is an interesting one.

    Why did Brown say what he said? No idea. But I’m sure we’ve all done it.

    And it’s unsurprising to see the Murdocks trying to make a big fuss out of it.

    It doesn’t surprise me to see the way that The Sun and Sky News are behaving.

    Can Brown come back from this? I think he can.

  4. Billy Blofeld

    Gordon has succeeded in knocking Cleggmania off the front pages.

    Bigotgate might be the final nail in the coffin for the Lib Dems – are Labour now too toxic to cosy up to in a hung parliament?

  5. Mr. Sensible

    And if we want an example of ‘we’ve all don it’, who can forget the infamous Mr Grayling incident?

  6. Lib Dem immigration policy: liberal & democratic? | Left Foot Forward

    […] of attention in this election campaign that it has in the past (or at least it wasn’t until ‘bigot-gate’…).  This is in part because, although you’d never know it from the political rhetoric, […]

  7. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – Just as I thought – the excusers are out in force. Well done dude – you are acting true to form.

    Brown said this election is about character – he’s right and that’s why he’s out in seven days thank god.

    He is a two faced deceitful individual and he will get his just deserts next week and all my postings over the last few months will be shown to be true.

    Oh and Shamik, regardless of if the press are right wing or not has no bearing on his despicable actions that I heard live on R2 yesterday.

    Am I the only Labour voter on this blog who cares more about the party than that unelected two faced liar?

  8. Shamik Das

    Anon, I’m sure you’ve said before that you won’t be voting Labour. That is not proof that you care more about the party than anyone else – quite the opposite. Get out on the doorstep and make the case for Labour (as I have done practically every night for the past month) rather than joining in with the nasty, unfair personal attacks on Gordon Brown; you’re doing the Tories’ bidding I’m afraid.

  9. Kurt

    Politics Summary: Thursday, April 29th | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/buRl6s

  10. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik – You mistake being a sycophant for real support.

    Every time you come up with frankly silly remarks on this blog like “Big bad Tory unmasked” and such like you immediately turn people off your message – Will Straw knows it (by the articles he posts) but then I suspect he’s heading for a future in politics so needs to be fair and measured.

    That’s what people like Shamik, honest open debate where they are free to express an opinion without being insulted like that woman was yesterday.

    Your support for Brown is breathtaking Shamik. What is more worrying is that you fail to see why people disagree with you BIG TIME, hence Labour being third in every single opinion poll since the first leaders debate.

    To call my attacks unfair is typical of a hypocritical individual like Brown as opposed to a real Labour supporter and I don’t expect an answer Shamik – hey I never got an answer to my question about the fact you run down Rupert Murdoch over subscription TV whilst having a Sky Sports subscription.

    Do you really not see the irony in that Shamik?

    When it’s over next week for Labour, bloggers espousing views like yours will be in no small part the reason for it’s demise. Blind, unchallenging thoughtless support for the unsupportable is a fast route to opposition.

    Finally do not suggest I do not care about Labour Shamik – my whole family are/were Labour voting public servants or (in one case) a Labour councillor.

  11. darkbullet.com » Blog Archive » Politics Summary: Thursday, April 29th | Left Foot Forward

    […] here: Politics Summary: Thursday, April 29th | Left Foot Forward Permalink Comments […]

  12. Politics&Government

    Politics Summary: Thursday, April 29th | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/c90VjK

  13. ukmediapundit

    Good article as i share the same sentiment. The right wing press are milking this for all it’s worth, even suggesting that this will decide the election. What a load of bollox! Calling it ‘biggot-gate’ is also exceptionally tiresome.

    The man should be judged on his policies – no one is perfect and it would be hypocritical to say we are any better than Brown. he made a gaff – big deal, it shows he’s human. It also shows he lacks the slick PR machine that Cameron has in place.

    I get increasingly fed up wit the priority of personality politcs that is peddled by mainly the right wing press. Even FiveLive radio talked about this story all day! How incredibly boring and uncreative!

    It is policies that matter.

  14. Liz McShane

    Anon – I agree it was unfortunate, but surely there must come a time when things said in private are ‘off the record’. What if he had been discussing something about National Security etc…… I am sure Clegg & Cameron have shared similar thoughts but without Sky News recording their every word!

  15. james kirk

    Politics Summary: Thursday, April 29th | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/ay8r2G

  16. james o kirk

    Politics Summary: Thursday, April 29th | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/ay8r2G

  17. The Trump Network

    Politics Summary: Thursday, April 29th | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/bXqa0h

  18. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – It wasn’t unfortunate – he’s a two faced deceitful person who got rumbled – you know I’ve stuck to my (correct) position of him since he bullied Tony Blair out of office and eventually the Labour Party out of government in the United Kingdom.

    He says one thing to a woman’s face (Labour supporter, worked with handicapped children etc) and another behind her back – especially when the first question in the leaders debate was on immigration and he said it could be openly discussed.

    If I’m not right then why did he go back and apologise? Why all the fuss if you’re right?

    Also did you hear him immediately look for someone to blame? I bet Sue is watching to avoid a flying Nokia mobile phone as she goes about her business!

    I don’t care about Clegg or Cameron – they’re both useless – but neither is as bad as this dishonest two faced bully who surrounds himself with his thuggish cronies.

    Look at Mandelson all set to blame the “Murdoch” right wing press without any knowledge of the event – disgraceful.

    All you so called Labour supporters who haven’t been screaming from the rooftops about how annoyed you are that he is our Prime Minister will have a decade or so to regret your silence.

    There are seven days of a Labour government left Liz – be honest to yourself…. it’s over. Good riddance to bad rubbish I say!

  19. Liz McShane

    Anon – yes I completely agree that you have been 100% consistent & staunch in your views re Gordon Brown – whether you are right about him as a person I don’t know – we are fed a lot of anti GB/Labour messages by the media.

    Being in the focus of the media spotlight (plus twitter/vast array of social network platforms etc) 24/7/365 does have consequences – Prime Ministers are human beings too after all. I just wonder how Churchill, Thatcher et al would have coped/behaved…? (and by naming just these two please don’t think that I am elevating Thatcher to the levels of Churchill)

  20. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – Fair point but it still doesn’t excuse Browns actual behaviour. He is a deceitful two faced person. I heard it on the radio.

    That has nothing to do with the right wing press big bad nasty capitalist Rupert Murdoch or anyone else – he acted terribly towards an elderly Labour voter. I heard it live on R2 and watched his response on the internet.

    Thatcher and Churchill aren’t currently looking for any votes – Brown is and he is simply not good enough to be a Prime Minister and no matter what the protestations of weak minded Labour supporters who simply refuse to read the writing on the wall.

    Tell me Liz – would you act like that if there was a microphone on you or not? I wouldn’t.

  21. Liz McShane

    Anon – the point I made about other PMs is that f=given the very limited nature of media etc people didn’t really know much about them in the way we have so much access & info so it would be interesting that’s all to see if we drew the same conclusions. I know that you have personal issues with GB but try & compare it objectively.

    Id GB had been discussing some National Security issues do you think it would be right for Sky etc to record & report it? where does one draw the line?

  22. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – One draws the line at insulting elderly Labour voters whose view you don’t share.

    People shouldn’t be discussing National Security issues in front of regular members of staff – in the 1980’s I was a Comcen runner up to Top Secret and we wouldn’t have been allowed to discuss anything, mic’ed up or not.

    (Mind you when it comes to security this government has form with the database insecurities CD’s etc)

    But you are really missing my point and doing what all Labour zombies do – blame the messenger (he didn’t know he was being recorded etc) rather than being angry that he could treat a voter – his boss as a public servant – that way.

    He said character was at the heart of this election – he’s right and he has been found wanting and no matter how often Labour lackys look for someone else to blame it is his fault. He is a two faced deceitful person – I heard him myself and so did you Liz.

    Stop supporting the unsupportable.

    PS I said you’d do this yesterday:

    http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/04/after-bigot-gate-how-do-we-reconnect-with-the-white-working-class/#comments

  23. Liz McShane

    Anon – yes I did hear him and then watched it all on the various news programmes last night. Do you think that Clegg & Cameron don’t have the same thoughts some times…. it’s human , yes shouldn’t have said it I agree – but pressure/stress makes you do stupid things. I know from my own canvassing that there are times I have had negative thoughts about people whose doors I have knocked on…..

    Ps I might be some things but hopefully not a ‘zombie’

  24. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – Tell me you’re not wasting your shoe leather on David I-fiddled-£24000-in-expenses-on-a-flat-20-minutes-from-my-home Lammy?

    If they have those thoughts btw that’s their business as long as they don’t say them – it’s two faced to do so. Stop now on that Liz – he was wrong, that’s why he apologised…

    No I didn’t call you a zombie.

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