Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Bigotgate: Rudeness or a Lack of Courage?

A comment on another topic lead me to another blog which had an interesting take on bigotgate:

The only issue I take with Gordon Brown calling Gillian Duffy a bigot, is that he didn’t say it to her face. He wimped out. He was all smiles and treating her like a wonderful woman. He pandered to the bigot, for electioneering purposes. And then, behind her back, called her what she is; a bigot. He should have had the balls to say it to her face. She is a bigot.

… Gillian Duffy, said:“all these Eastern Europeans what are coming in, where are they flocking from?

Geography lessons might have worked to her advantage here. At that point, Gordon should have said “From Eastern Europe, you daft old bigot” but he didn’t.

I think I am forced to agree (with a reservation – see later).  The tone of Gillian Duffy’s comment, indicates an attitude to Eastern Europeans that is not just derogatory, but also closed-minded.  I think that closed mindedness coupled with prejudice is probably the principal indicator of a bigot.  Certainly the comment is “bigoted”.

FutilePolitics goes on to say:

She should be demonised

I think that goes too far; I would prefer to stick to “condemn the sin, not the sinner”.  The comment should be demonised; demonising the speaker just drives the speaker deeper into their bigotry.

Immigration, together with its brother racism, have become issues that dare not speak their name.  People who are not negatively affected by immigration choose not to raise the issue; people who are affected negatively cannot make their voice heard.  If you take away someone’s voice, they become aggrieved – and that breeds discontent, prejudice and bigotry.  Then when the debate “breaks” out, it is often in inflammatory terms – terms that make Gillian Duffy’s comments seem mild.

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One thought on “Bigotgate: Rudeness or a Lack of Courage?

  1. Wow, someone who reads my blog!
    I didn’t mean that her character in general should be demonised, I did mean that her ignorance, and the bigoted ignorance spouted by many like her, should be demonised. I worded it incredibly wrong, with hindsight.

    I wrote a blog yesterday on the issue of immigration. I tend to be believe that people just don’t understand how complex an issue it is.

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