Breaking: Gordon Brown caught on mike describing voter as “bigoted”

I once heard a similar outburst.

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Gordon Brown has been caught describing a voter whom he met and who ranted at him as "bigoted", and their encounter as a "disaster".

With a slight sense of menace, Brown asks, while sitting in his car, "Whose idea was that?" There are no news stories to link to yet, but it will be all over the airwaves soon.


The incident reminds me of another, at last year's Labour conference. I was sitting on a sofa chatting to a colleague. Brown swept past with a large entourage, including Oona King. A slightly unhinged-looking Labour delegate was trailing and trying to speak to Brown. Just as he passed behind me, I heard Brown say to King: "Get him away from me."

Brown does have a bit of a temper -- but so do many politicians, of all parties (yet the Tories are trying to exploit this, with George Osborne condemning Brown on Sky News as I type). He probably shouldn't be so ungrateful to Labour supporters. But voters in the street should not harangue him in a rude way: it is too much like bear-baiting, and Brown is, after all, only human.

The media will now be looking for more cartoon encounters. The public should, but probably won't, deprive us of them.

UPDATE: Brown has just been forced to listen to his comments again on Radio 2's Jeremy Vine Show. He started by saying "Sorry . . .", which was a bit dodgy, but then said: "I apologise profusely." Apparently he had his head in his hands during the clip. People might start to feel sorry for him now. He admitted he found the woman's views on immigration "annoying", which at least shows passion.

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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