Catastrofuck in the government! Today, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a huge cock up when he, after being filmed talking to an OAP about her concerns (her pension, her grandkid’s uni debt, the Eastern Europeans..) was then caught on microphone in his car calling her a “bigoted woman”.
This issue is a bit delicate. Undoubtedly what she was saying, which basically amounted to ‘Eastern Europeans come here to scrounge off benefits’, WAS bigoted. This is the basic level of racism that is on display throughout the whole of society, you come across it all the time. Does that mean it’s her fault, or that she is a nasty person? Not really. These views are supported and perpetuated by the government and the main opposition parties all the time, and it plays into the hands of far right parties like the BNP and UKIP. Just look at the way our own government treats asylum seekers in this country, and the language that has been used to discuss immigration throughout the election debates – the system isn’t trying to challenge racist ideas, it’s trying to pander to them and perpetuate them. If someone holds a bigoted view, does that make them a bigot? Not really – if your only reference point for what is going on in your country is the media, particularly the tabloids, then you’re having that view pumped into you day after day. I’m certain that this woman isn’t a hateful person, just misinformed.
So on one level it’s a good sign that our Prime Minister recognises that this sort of view is wrong – you can bet your last cigarette that David Cameron would never be caught on tape making a blunder like this, because he more than likely agrees with the view of this woman. On one hand that makes him a man of principle. On the other hand, it makes him completely full of shit. He doesn’t agree (at least to an extent, as far as we’re now aware) with this sort of casual racism, he knows what the word bigoted means, yet he’s still willing to push this ‘we must be tough on immigration/benefit scroungers/whatevs’ line that we as socialists know amounts to racist horseshit. Desperate, is what I’d call him, especially after seeing his snivelling apology. How we deal with racism in society is both more nuanced and more simple than hiding in your car and calling people bigots – we have to recognise that there are deep seated societal issues, mostly led by the fucked up control that the media has over our political experiences, which lead to people coming to hold these views. But also, for the government the solution is simple – stop telling fucking lies to support and pander to this shite. You’d think not lying would be a pre-requisite for huge fucking governmental responsibility.
What bothers me about this whole ‘blunder’, is how everyone is so concerned about haranguing GB for not being polite to an old lady, but none of the media seem to be bothered that what this really exposes is the extent to which elections and the government in general aren’t about principles – it’s solely about stage management. It only takes a gaffe like this to show you how fragile the whole thing really is. Let’s recap for you here: Prime Minister is ambushed by TV cameras just waiting for him to fuck up, Prime Minister says a few things that are either excruciatingly vague or he doesn’t really agree with, Prime Minister forgets to take microphone off in car, Prime Minister says what he really thinks (and undoubtedly wasn’t even smiling in the car behind the scenes, the fucker), media goes apeshit and handily happens to still be near the wronged pensioner at the time, Prime Minister grovels.
It confirms what we’ve long known: that The Thick of It actually is just a documentary.
Here we see what happened when Peter Mandelson found out about the catastrofuck:
In fact, this whole thing just reminds me of a certain factory visit undertaken by our good friend Hugh Abbott.