Thursday, 29 April 2010


Yesterday, election campaigning began normally for Gordon Brown. But then, in the northern town of Rochdale, he encountered old age pensioner Gillian Duffy.

Mrs Duffy challenged Chuckles on immigration and crime, and finished by insisting too many people from Eastern Europe now live in Britain, particularly Rochdale. Chuckles seemed to take the diatribe well; at the end of their conversation he told Mrs Duffy he'd been glad to meet her and wished her family well.

But once he'd returned to his limousine it was a different story. Thinking himself safe, Chuckles gave the woman a good blast - forgetting he was still wearing a TV radio-microphone.

Chuckles' mutterings went like this:

"That was a disaster - they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? It's just ridiculous..."

Asked what Mrs Duffy had said, he replied: "Ugh, everything! She's just a sort of bigoted woman that said she used to be Labour. I mean it's just ridiculous."

Minutes later the story broke. Questioned by the media, Mrs Duffy eagerly complained, "I am very disappointed. I am very upset. Why was I called a bigot? He is an educated person, why has he come out with words like that? He should find out what's going on in our lives."

At once a ridiculous circus assembled: reporters, camera-men, photographers in their hundreds, hanging around outside Mrs Duffy's lowly terraced house for her slightest utterance, her further thoughts. Incredibly, Chuckles later visited Mrs Duffy to say how sorry he was, and was forced to send a grovelling email to Labour workers apologising for the damage done to the party's campaign.

Last night, the episode turned surreal. The BBC reported Mrs Duffy is now being represented by a public relations agent; no more free insights or perceptions.

The media has duly pilloried Chuckles. But elderly people moan all the time; it goes with Battenburg, talking about the weather, and thoughtless prejudice. We kept demanding Gordon Brown show his human side, and now he has. Am I the only one who likes him a little bit more for calling the silly old woman a bigot?

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