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Flocking immigrants

2010 May 1
by Paul Vallely

I don’t know whether it was supposed to be a gag or an attempted excuse. But the talk in Labour party circles, in the immediate aftermath of what has come to be called Bigotgate, was that it was all down to a mishearing. The hapless Gordon Brown stepped in a puddle of something unpleasant right up to his middle in Rochdale by calling Mrs Gillian Duffy a “bigoted woman”. The trouble was, the story went, when the Rochdale granny, speaking about eastern European immigrants, asked “where are they flocking from” the Scots ear of the Labour leader thought it detected something more Anglo-Saxon than “flocking”.

Either way perhaps Mr Brown might have done better to have stood his ground and suggested that Mrs Duffy – along with most of the rest of the electorate – was, if not bigoted, just plain wrong.

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