A massive blunder

The Herald reports:

LONDON – Britain’s bedraggled Minister Gordon Brown walked into a political train wreck Wednesday after forgetting to turn off his microphone.

He described a loyal Labour voter as a bigot for asking about immigration, blamed advisers for a “disaster” ahead of next week’s election, then rushed back to the voter’s house to beg her forgiveness.

All the country could do was look on – in shock, amazement and sometimes glee – as the painful, riveting drama played out over and radio for hours. The debacle created a massive setback for Brown on the eve of the last TV debate ahead of the May 6 vote.

Nail meet coffin.

Grandmother Gillian Duffy, 66, met with Brown at a campaign stop in the northern town of Rochdale and questioned him about the influx of eastern European immigrants have come to Britain. …

Brown brushed the question aside and explained that Britons were also working in eastern Europe, leaving in his car in a hurry and forgetting to turn off his microphone.

“That was a disaster, they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? It’s just ridiculous,” Brown is heard saying.

Asked what Duffy had said to upset him, Brown told the aide: “Everything. She’s just a sort of bigoted woman.”

This would be bad enough about any voter, but it gets worse:

Duffy, a retired widow had worked with handicapped children and whose family had all voted for Labour, had questioned Brown on taxes, university fees, immigration and Britain’s record deficit of 152.84 ($323) billion pounds.

The message to every other UK Labour supporter has concern about immigration, is that your leader thinks you are a bigot.

The latest poll has Conservatives 34%, Lib Dems 31% and Labour 27% – this was done mainly before the gaffe.

However according to the UK Polling Report Swingometer, it would result in the following:

  1. Conservatives 259 (+61)
  2. Labour 251 (-105)
  3. Lib Dems 109 (+47)
  4. Others 31 (+1)

This leaves the Conservatives 67 short of a majority. Even if the Conservatives extend their lead over Labour to 10%, they still look 41 seats short of a majority. To get a majority, the Lib Dems have to poll less than 30% and Conservatives need to be high 30%.

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