When 65 year old pensioner Gillian Duffy had a chat with British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, a simple photo-opportunity turned into public relations nightmare.
The PM, forgetting he still had a television radio microphone attached to his suit, got into his limousine only to tell his minders what he really thought of Gillian Duffy.
“Who’s idea was it to put me in front of her? It’s a disaster – ridiculous. The woman’s a bigot.”
At the height of the election campaign British voters got to see the two faces of Gordon Brown exposed – warm and friendly, on camera; angry and disdainful seemingly, off camera.
Voters the world over are very used to their brand of ‘chameleon politicians’ – the ones that change their colour to blend in with the environment they find themselves; thereby avoiding being picked on.
One simple encounter is likely to have sunk British Labor’s election battleship. Gordon, loose lips sink ships!
All Gordon could do to regain a semblance of humanness was to grovel in mortification! He couldn’t stand in front of the cameras and claim the media had got it all wrong or had taken it out of context. BOOM, BOOM – direct hit!
After personally visiting Gillian Duffy to apologise for his off-camera outburst, Gordon fronted the media scrum – “I’ve apologised to Gillian. If you like, I’m a penitent sinner.”
Yes, our politicians are just human beings….but absolute power seems to corrupt that ordinariness absolutely.