Remember when Gordon Brown branded Gillian Duffy a “bigoted woman” and sent Labour’s 2010 election campaign into history’s dustbin?
It seems both David Cameron and Alex Salmond are determined to do the same thing, with both uttering extremely unwise comments in front of a microphone.
First, Salmond decided it would be funny to tell a crowd of SNP supporters that he will be writing Labour’s budget (if Labour gets elected) – a reference to claims that Labour will not be able to form a government without the SNP, and to the concessions the SNP would demand in that case. Here he is:
Then Cameron, appearing on ITV’s This Morning, was caught by a microphone after Philip Schofield started a link to the next section of the programme: “Up next, a man who can pinch your wallet, your watch and even your tie without you noticing.”
Cameron, off-camera, could then be heard saying: “Is that Alex Salmond?”
Both comments are despicable.
Salmond’s claim that he’ll have anything to do with a Labour budget was false and designed to lead voters astray. Labour has ruled out a marriage of convenience with the SNP, quoting irreconcilable differences. The fact that SNiPers like Salmond keep harping on about it smacks more of desperation and an intent to mislead.
If anything, though, Cameron’s is worse, as it not only implies that Salmond is a criminal (that’s libel), but also suggests that he would be able to affect any budget set by Labour – and would use it to steal money from the electorate.
They both echo Gordon Brown’s “bigoted woman” remark about Gillian Duffy. He had met her whilst canvassing for Labour, and simply didn’t like her criticisms so he used those words about her in a car afterwards, without realising that he was wearing a microphone belonging to a TV news service, and that it was switched on.
It’s possible that his remark helped to end 13 years of Labour government and usher in the ConDem Coalition.
Now two leading members of other parties – the Conservatives and the SNP – have made the same mistake.
Will their campaigns be affected as badly? And if not, why not?
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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