At politikere sier én ting offentlig og noe helt annet i fortrolighet, er ikke noe nytt, men det spørs om ikke Gordon Brown nå har levert det mest celebre eksemplet på politikeres forakt for det brysomme folket som fra tid til annen må lures til høyst ufortjent å gi dem fornyet tillit.
Det stunder mot valg i Storbritannia, og en hardt presset statsminister var i dag på valgkamp i Rochdale, hvor han etter å ha samtalt med en eldre kvinne og livslang Labour-velger, kalte henne for «trangsynt» uten å være oppmerksom på at en mikrofon fanget opp ordene.
Kontrasten mellom statsministerens tilsynelatende, men falske hjertelighet overfor den 65 år gamle Gillian Duffy og forakten han like etterpå viste overfor hennes bekymringer, som trolig deles av mange briter, kan komme til å koste ham dyrt. Daily Mail har offentliggjort samtalen mellom de to. Det første Duffy tar opp er skatt og pensjon:
Gillian Duffy: The thing that I can’t understand is why am I still being taxed at 66 years old because my husband’s died and I had some of his pension tagged on to mine?
Gordon Brown: Well we are raising the threshold at which people start paying tax as pensioners. But yes, if you’ve got an occupational pension you may have to pay some tax but you may be eligible for the pension credit as well, you should check.
No, no I’m not. I’ve checked and checked and they said no, they can’t do it.
Well you should look at it again just to be sure, absolutely sure.
Siden uttrykker hun sin bekymring over landets gjeld:
But how are you going to get us out of all this debt Gordon?
Because we have got a deficit reduction plan to cut the debt in half over the next four years. We’ve got the plans, they’ve been set out today. Look I was a person who came in…
The three main things what I had drummed in when I was a child was education, health service and looking after people who are vulnerable. But there’s too many people now who aren’t vulnerable but they can claim, and people who are vulnerable can’t claim, can’t get it.
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…
Temaet skifter til innvandringen:
You can’t say anything about the immigrants because you’re saying that you’re… but all these eastern Europeans what are coming in, where are they flocking from?
A million people have come from Europe but a million British people have gone into Europe. You do know that there’s a lot of British people staying in Europe as well. Look, come back to what were your initial principles: helping people – that’s what we’re in the business of doing. A decent health service, that’s really important, and education. Now these are the things that we have tried to do. We’re going to maintain the schools so that we can make sure that people have that chance to get on. We’re going to maintain the health service so that…
Det hele avsluttes med en tilsynelatende hyggelig samtale om Duffys familie:
It’s been very good to meet you, and you’re wearing the right colour today. How many grandchildren so you have?
Two. They’ve just come back from Australia where they’ve been stuck for nine, 10 days with this ash crisis.
But they got through now? Yeah we’ve been trying to get people back quickly. But are they going to go to university? That’s the plan?
I hope so. They’re only 12 and 10.
Oh they’re only 12 and 10. But they’re doing well at school?
Yeah yeah, very good.
A good family. Good to see you.
Yeah. And the education system in Rochdale – I will congratulate it.
Good. And it’s very nice to see you. Take care. Good to see you all. Thanks very much.
Kort tid etter finner følgende samtale sted mellom Brown og en av hans medarbeidere:
Gordon Brown: That was a disaster…should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that?
Aide: I don’t know, I didn’t see her.
Sue’s I think. Just ridiculous.
Not sure that they’ll go with that one.
They will go with that one.
What did she say?
Everything, she was just a sort of bigoted woman who said she used to be Labour.