Friday 30 April 2010

Dear Mrs Duffy

This is a letter that I had to write, one that I will never send and one that you are unlikely ever to read. It's an open letter because I think that some other people might be interested in what I have to say.

Anyway, I saw you on Wednesday evening on the news talking with Gordon Brown, and I read about you yesterday morning in the newspapers. I was particularly moved by the picture of you on the front cover of the Daily Telegraph, the one that was taken after you had been told that the Prime Minister had referred to you as a 'bigot' when he thought only his staff were listening. Like you I could not quite take things in at first, could not quite believe what was happening.

The wounded disbelief on your face almost made me cry; it certainly made me feel very emotional, feel something of the depth of your own sense of disbelief at the ugly callousness of this remark. I could feel your sense of betrayal, your bewilderment that you had been dismissed in such a fashion by an 'educated man', as you put it, who heads a party with whom you have identified all of your life.

You may very well think it presumptuous of me to write to you like this. We come from such different worlds. We have so little in common. You might think me arrogant, someone from a very privileged background who has an opinion on everything and is never reluctant to express her opinion. You are a life-long Labour supporter, and presumably have voted for the party many times. I have been a member of the Conservative Party since I was a teenager and so far have only voted once, in the general election of 2005. I come from a family with a long tradition of Conservative support, one with associations with some important people in the history of the party. I'm young, I'm arrogant, I do not understand why people, ordinary people like you, have ever voted Labour, a party which serves you so ill, a party which has served this country so ill. But, please let that pass; there are other things I want to talk about.

For me the look on your face will forever be the defining moment of this election campaign, not the television debates. It says so much, not just about how hurt you felt but about the man who hurt you, more, if anything, about him than about you. I've long believed that he has contempt for people like you, for the powerless, for the people on whom he depends. I read a book some weeks ago which detailed how he bullies his staff, the least powerful people around him. He is the kind of man who, when in difficulty, always blames others, never himself, always looks for scapegoats. He is the kind of man who, by repute, cannot make 'small talk', which I take to mean that he cannot converse in a normal way or relate to people with sympathy and understanding.

His meeting with you, by any reasonable definition, was unremarkable, one that left you feeling good. But not him. That you dared question him on the great issues of the day, on the deficit and on immigration; that you dared give expression to the fears of so many little people, unimportant people, made you a terrible woman, a 'bigot' in his eyes. You are not at fault; he is. He is the product of a political system that pretends to sympathise with little people but secretly despises them. He is a product of a system that pretends to represent people like you but consistently ignores them.

The worst part, the worst part of all, was when he came to your door to offer a hypocritical 'apology'. He had been found out, the enormity of his words had been played back to him; he could do no else. In your position I would have refused to see him, refused to allow him over the doorstep. But you are clearly a much more generous and forgiving person than I. I only feel anger and contempt, deepened when I saw him speaking to the media after he left your home, saying that he was a 'penitent sinner' with an altogether inappropriate and silly grin on his face. I think he is sorry alright, sorry that he was ever found out. There was no sincerity at all in his bogus and inadequate words.

Personally I would like people like you to vote Conservative, a party that has consistently raised prosperity just as Labour has lowered it. But this is not about politics; it’s not a plea for your vote. It's just to let you know that, for a brief moment, you became the voice of England, speaking for so many, no matter if Labour or Conservative. If you are a bigot then I am a bigot, we are all bigots, all the people of this land who share your concern. From across the generations, from across all social divides, from across all political divisions I sincerely wish you well.

With much respect,

Anastasia F-B


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  2. I tried to get a picture of the poor old soul, but there is nothing showing on google images at the present.

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  4. Thank you Ana.

  5. Beautiful. It's so good when someone can finally speak for those who are never heard, who this whole world seems so ready to discard.

  6. Great letter...I heard he'd apologised..I didn't realise the woman agreed to see him again.

    I've had the experience of working as a consulting auditor for election campaigns by various parties. The Liberal and Labor parties of Australia are alike in that the real sentiments are brutally cynical and disrespectful.

  7. Further to my last...

    I've been present in Labor Party strategy meetings where the spin doctors have referred to the "ethnic vote" also called "the wog vote"; "the boong vote" (Aborigines)and, when the boys are alone together.."the cunt vote".

    The Liberals, whom, as a Socialist, I officially despise, (alright, alright, I took their freakin' money - only in the interests of advancing the balanced democratic process of course)use similar terms although not of quite as much brutality.

    The Labor Party is, of course, the party that cultivates these groups and whose MPs are most likely to be found spouting politically correct verbiage.

  8. Its not a case of voting for the same party every time an election comes up, its voting for the party with the right conviction to see us out of the crisis we are in, and right now careful thought is needed as none of the parties have been very convincing.
    Don't be a habitual voter like most of the Labour following, study,and think hard before you decide.

  9. Thanks, everyone.

    OC, I heard exactly what she said and only a man as insecure as Brown could have referred to her as a 'bigot.' She's an old lady and has much right to express a view on matters like the deficit as any other voter. Besides, she has grandchildren and as she said in a recent interview she is worried about their future. So should she be.

    Donald, I agree, just as I agree that the right party is the Conservative Party. :-)

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  11. OC, she was raising several important issues and was patronised for her troubles. This government has been monstrously irresponsible when it comes to the whole question of immigration, which is not about race, but about numbers. Debate, though, has effectively been silenced by accusations of racism. I repeat: if this woman is a bigot I am a bigot also.

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  13. OC, they lost all control, as David Blunkett, a former Home Secretary admitted. Now we simply do not know how many illegals there are, possibly as many as a million. A good part of these are people who overstayed work and student visas and because of the inadequacy of the official records can no longer be traced. I do repeat, this is not about skin colour or race.

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  15. No, not just illegals, though that's a hot issue at the moment. That was just the way she expressd herself. I would have made the point differently, but there is no getting away from the fact that she acted like a kind of lightning conductor for the nation.