...well, a little bit sorry for Gordon Brown, in as much as he's a victim of his own isolation as Prime Minister. He's surrounded by people who all think about modern politics like he does and he suffers near absolute seclusion from the life of ordinary voters who comprise the rich tapestry of human beings with differing views on election issues in the United Kingdom.
Most of us have been two-faced gits at some point, but really and truly, this kind of snide, opportunistic and devilishly nasty behaviour is second nature to politicians, especially, one imagines, major politicians. Perhaps he's been hanging around with Peter Mandelson too much, but I doubt that's the reason. This is how people get to the top. It isn't just Tony Blair who perfected the suave fixed grin and sincere handshake electioneering manoeuvres we all grew to hate, while his heart burned with lust for votes, power and, as we now know, money. He was the arch-politician.
I'm afraid that the Prime Minister's comments picked up by his still active microphone after he had stopped being overtly charming and nice to Gillian Duffy of Rochdale are truly representative of how the average politician or political party leader thinks of voters, even loyal 'lifelong' voters for their respective parties. To say that voters, even partisan voters like Gillian Duffy, are taken for granted by our elected officials and the parties, does not even remotely do justice to the majority of Parliaments' level of contempt for the ordinary 'man in the street'. I expect it has always been this way.
Unfortunately, Gordon Brown's 'meet the people' initiative, which ended in unmitigated calamity, demonstrates quite neatly the chasm between our elected representatives and us. I mean, think about it. Can you imagine what he might have said if he had been approached by an irate Catholic who, despairing of the Labour Party's attitudes to Life issues and so called 'equalities', told him what she really thought of his tenure? The Prime Minister probably would have got into the car and said something like, "****ing Catholics! Don't ever make me meet one of those crackpot papists again!"
Yet, still, I feel sorry for Gordon Brown. He was only doing what politicians have always done. He met someone to get their vote in view of the media, a vote which, ironically, he had in the bag anyway, shoring up, as politicians so often do, the loyalists, while, deep down, resenting her and most voters because he had to come down from his ivory tower for five minutes and mix with the great politically unsanitised or uncorrected.
Gillian Duffy may be a little bigoted, after all, she was banging on about the East Europeans as if they'd just landed in Rochdale by military aircraft and taken over the town hall, but, Gordon Brown's dismissal of her concerns really do tell you everything you need to know about why Labour and all the mainstream parties will one day have a battle on their hands in stopping parties like the BNP from gaining prominence in British Politics.
If Labour and the mainstream political parties do not take heed of Gillian Duffy, then an election which is most probably dead in the water for Labour and Gordon Brown, at least now, will continue to be dead in the water for them and other mainstream parties in the future. The message to the Prime Minister and the major political parties from the Duffy debacle is that not everyone has bought the New Labour political correctness campaign. People still, thank God, think for themselves, even if some of those views are a little prejudiced towards immigrants and veer towards scapegoating. People won't be bullied by Gordon Brown, or indeed Ed Ball's into a 'new' way of thinking, when people are free to think for themselves. Perhaps that is why Ed Balls was so keen on reaching the minds of the young.
The strangest thing about politics is that politicians want people they actually quite despise to vote for them. That, essentially, is why there can be very little integrity in it. Gordon Brown today met someone whose vote he wanted only because she was a Labour voter, yet, he didn't really want her vote because for someone like her to vote for him would actually, to him, be a bit embarrassing. If the woman, you see, really is a 'bigot', then why does he want her vote? I mean, Gordon Brown is hardly Nick Griffin, is he, or Nigel Farage?
Gordon has described himself, apparently, as a 'penitent sinner' after having met Gillian Duffy to apologise, only to probably get into the car, ask whether his mic was off and to tell his aides she was worse than he thought she was first time round. The politican's sin is not a nice one, have no doubt. The politician's sin is in having an ugly level of pride that reduces everyone he meets to a singular political concept - a vote. This isn't just Brown's sin. It's Cameron's and its Clegg's sin too and we all suffer this sin in varying degrees. Sometimes our desire to be loved dwarfs our desire to love. Believe me, though, these guys, all three of them, will say and do more or less anything, a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, if they think they can get your vote, while, all along, thinking you're an absolute nob. That's politics!
What with Brown's voting record on abortion, human embryology legislation, civil partnerships and the rest, I didn't think he really believed in sin, but the Prime Minister's sudden conversion could yet make him the St Mary Magdalen of the general election. Perhaps now that he has admitted in public his error and his sincere (cough) contrition in front of the media, he'll be ready to greet the Holy Father joyfully with the rest of us on his arrival into the UK. Of course, it is unlikely he will be in charge by then, but hey, Gordon, Christ loves 'penitent sinners' and only sinners are welcome in His Church, so what with your frank admission you'll fit right in. You might not be Prime Minster in September, Gordon, but God loves you. That's the main thing, for you, for me and all of us. I'm a poor sinner and relatively frequently, I'm penitent, and we Catholics know that if the Sweet Eyes of Pity in Heaven look down upon us with such great tenderness and affection, then Our Blessed Lord and His Holy Mother look upon you in the same way. Still, while you are still in power...
Sort the Foreign & Commonwealth Office 'Papal Visit Team' out will you!