James Forsyth

The morning after the duffing up

The morning after the duffing up
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It will be hard to isolate the influence of ‘bigot-gate’ on the polls as any taken after today will also include the effect of the final debate. But a few things are worth noting. First, this will be a ‘slow-burn’: Brown’s dismissal of such a large section of the electorate will take a while to sink in. It’s the kind of thing that is going to get discussed for days. I was doing a phone-in on Radio Five last night and those working on the programme told me that it was one of their highest ever volumes of calls.  Second, its ultimate result might be reduced Labour turnout—note how Mrs Duffy is just not going to vote now rather than switching to the Tories or the Lib Dems. If your party leader thinks you’re a bigot, why bother turning out for him. Finally, expect an increase in the ‘sod the lot of them’ vote. Some candidates are telling me that the incident has done just as much to heighten anti-politician feeling as anti-Brown feeling.  

‘Bigot-gate’ will have one other crucial consequence. In the past, the Brownites have indicated that Gordon might try and stay on as Labour leader if the Tory majority is small. That’s now definitely not going to be acceptable to his party.