It is now over 24 hours since Gordon made that comment in Rochdale. Obviously, the transcript from both the outside broadcast and Radio 2′s face-to-face playback have been analysed by the majority of the media.
Interestingly, it amazes me about how quick the press were to jump, form a scrum and ‘go for the jugular’!
Looking up the term ‘bigot’ from Wikipedia, it is publicly defined as:
A person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.
The correct use of the term requires the elements of obstinacy, irrationality, and animosity toward those of differing devotion. The origin of the word bigot and bigotry in English dates back to at least 1598, via Middle French, and started with the sense of “religious hypocrite”. Forms of bigotry may have a related ideology or world views.
That is enough of the history lesson, let us focus on the issue.
If Gordon used the word it at a point of frustration, then it can be considered as ‘throw-away’. It is hard to be a politician. Just imagine your every moment being recorded and played back in front of you.
Gordon is very highly educated and a few years ago he really revealed his depth of intellectual capacity when he spoke about some of his other interests.
The press are suggesting that the ‘I’ word (Immigration) is avoided as an issue due to political correctness. I believe that there is no need for the ‘I’ word any more. Even on BBC Breakfast this morning, a Conservative MP was using one of Maggie’s old term’s, ‘Swamped’.
The public appear to have forgotten that ‘immigrants’ have made the UK economically better off and stable. New arrivals yield new opportunities, have passion, drive and a sense to better their situations. This all ‘rubs off’ on the general community.
On BBC Radio4 the BNP leader said that, ‘the country is full-up’! Generating fear Griffin, never helped anyone!
If we consider for a few moments that the World Wars were fought with a multi-national force, many from Commonwealth countries and the British occupied India for 200 years, we should be able to see that the UK represents an example of multiculturalism where there is strength through diversity and mutual respect. Churchill encouraged migration, suggesting that the UK needed to be rebuilt after the war and needed help from the ex-Empire.
Coming back Mrs Duffy’s comments about immigration. She reportedly said:
“All these eastern Europeans that are coming in – where are they flocking from?”
Did she not realise that her expected answer was already within her question!
Gordon ended the conversation with her with a sense of care, asking about her family. He has to do the best he can given the time he can physically allocate.
In terms of his sense of genuineness, do his comments suggest a hypocritical stance?
I suggest that Gordon may have attempted to match his passion for Labour’s belief of fairness and equality verse someone who was specifically challenging him about her views on immigration – NB Gordon may have seen a conflict situation between someone who in theory should believe in the same values as the Labour party, especially as she proclaimed herself as a life-long and loyal member of Labour.
A balance of Immigration!
Maybe the lack of statistics is the issue. People from all walks of life in the UK have not fully understood the balance of immigration figures.
If there are 1M new people, people should realise that 1M have also left. We probably need more data published to settle the FUD factor – fear, uncertainly and doubt.
The motive of the Eastern Europeans coming to the UK is likely to be driven on their desire to improve their own countries and like many others seek a better life. By accepting them into a multicultural environment we will be collectively helping our own community and helping others too. For example, a Polish person sending money to their homeland helps to fuel / develop both economies.
In summary, if personal passion doesn’t match what you thought someone also believed in, then accidental frustration can result.