Fraser Nelson

Brown v The Voters

Brown v The Voters
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We have just witnessed the biggest moment of the 2010 election campaign. It wasn't that Brown let off steam: it was that he instinctively described as "bigoted" a woman who represents what should be Labour's core vote. Sure, she mentioned immigration - but just said "where are they coming from"? Her main concern was the national debt, and what her grandchildren will have to pay. Neither Cameron or Clegg would have thought these points bigoted - and neither would Tony Blair. The thought would not have crossed his mind. Nor that of Kinnock, Foot or Callaghan. Labour's campaign is led by a man who dislikes campaigning, having to get down and dirty with ordinary voters. He doesn't like standing for election. "Whose idea was that?" He asked when inside the car. Whose idea was what? Democracy? Meeting angry voters is what elections are about. If Brown doesn’t like it, he’s in the wrong business.

In a leader for tomorrow's Spectator, we say that he has long considered those who disagree with him to be either confused or malign. To this we can now add a third category: bigoted. Tomorrow's newspapers will detail every word she said to him and readers will ask: where is the bigotry? Barack Obama's worst moment was talking about voters who "cling to guns and religion" - if you slag of the voters, it can be fatal. And one question lingers now: did Brown say "bigoted" in a fit of rage? Or is that what he really believes?