The return of Gillian Duffy, condensed

Labour MP persuades Labour supporter to be given a lift by a Labour member to ask a non-Labour MP why they don’t like Labour and afterwards said Labour supporter says they are disappointed that non-Labour MP doesn’t like Labour more. Apparently this counts as news.

Ain’t modern politics grand?

(For longer version, see here.)

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  • Reminded me a bit of the stage management of PM’s Questions.

    Although in that case you normally get a friendly question asked for the waffle to come forth.

    I remember the Lib-Dem Woman Heckling DC, The tory councillor telling GB to fall under a bus, or similar – and also the tory councillor heckling Nick – Nothing new is it

  • toryboysnevergrowup 13th Apr '11 - 9:53am

    It may all be true – but it is also the case that Nick Clegg failed to to answer the question he was asked.

  • what was the question `are you in favour or against killing people?` This is the problem of the dumbed down society and political discourse.

    Where’s the BBC debate prog on the Economy? You know, the forensic questioning that Evan Davies is prone to produce.

  • @John

    Where’s the BBC debate prog on the Economy? You know, the forensic questioning that Evan Davies is prone to produce.

    All the politicians are adopting the phrase from the other show he’s associated with – “I’m out”

  • She did have a point though. Why are politicians so afraid to answer questions anymore.

    That’s why wikileaks was a breath of fresh air, finding out how governments really think ..

  • What question didn’t he answer?

  • toryboysnevergrowup 13th Apr '11 - 10:47am

    “Can you honestly tell me now, look me in the eye, and say that you’re quite happy with all these policies that have gone wrong for your party?”

  • Malcolm Todd 13th Apr '11 - 10:55am

    And you’re suggesting that that should be treated as a serious question, deserving of a yes/no answer? Come off it.

    Anyway, Clegg did answer that question – he just didn’t give a simple “yes” or “no”, for the perfectly good reason that the question had been formulated in order to make him look bad whichever answer he gave.

  • “And when did you stop beating your wife?”

  • richard heathcote 13th Apr '11 - 3:48pm

    so being working class and from the north i take it from the post above im a bigot? Not everyone from the North is like Gillian Duffy.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 13th Apr '11 - 8:58pm

    Malcolm Todd

    Where did I say it needed a yes or no answer – I still don’t know whether Clegg is happy or not with the Government’s policies – just that Labour would have had to make difficult choices as well.


    Glad to see that you now equate being happy (or otherwise) with the government’s polices with wife beating.

    Simon Mcgrath

    As oppposed to being desperate for votes anywhere – now I wonder why Clegg went to Rochdale. Nothing to do with the Condem coalition on the Council having collapsed and the fothcoming local government elections? Lets save the judgement as to who was desperate for votes until 6 May. And what are LibDems fundamentally – if you are a prime example? (the last one was rhetorical question – I know the answer already)

  • Joe Donnelly 13th Apr '11 - 9:05pm


    Stop being so darn immature. You really think Tabman was equating that with wife beating? Apply your intelligence a little bit and if you’ve not heard the rather famous political argument hes articulating in a well known phrase then take a second to work it out before coming up with a silly supply.

  • Joe Donnelly 13th Apr '11 - 9:06pm

    *silly comment

  • Malcolm Todd 13th Apr '11 - 9:57pm

    “Can you honestly tell me now, look me in the eye, and say that you’re quite happy with all these policies that have gone wrong for your party?”

    So not quite “whether he’s happy with the Government’s policies” – which is in any case a pretty fatuous question, even without the inbuilt premise that the policies have “gone wrong”. It doesn’t matter whether he’s happy, it matters whether he thinks they’re right – and yes, sometimes “right” is just “the best we could get in the circumstances”.

    It was a silly question and it got a much more serious answer than it deserved.

  • @toryboysnevergrowup: But Gordon Brown didn’t answer her question either. Mrs Duffy asked him “where are all these Eastern Europeians flocking from?” The answer is, they are from flocking Eastern Europe.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 13th Apr '11 - 11:01pm

    Thanks Joe – all these years and I never knew how to suck eggs. It still wasn’t a when did you stop beating your wife question – the question and the statement of position were quite separate. It could have simply been answered by “Yes and no I don’t think the policies have gone wrong for my Party”. And those with any political sensitivities know that would have been a more effective answer than what he actually said.

    It’s kind of touching that there are still those who believe in the doctrine of Cleggite infallibility.

  • Paul McKeown 13th Apr '11 - 11:19pm

    Just makes clear what happened to Gordon Brown back last year: a Northen working class lady was taken to see him, in the hope that he could show that he was listening and could respond to the concerns of ordinary voters. Only he was Gordon Brown and incapable of listening, so it all blew up in his face. Hence his comments infamously recorded for posterity by virtue of his live mike, “Should never have put me with that woman. Who’s idea was that? Sue, I think.” The whole exercise was set up by Labour then, just as it was this time, too. A puerile failure.

  • Toryboys,

    I never thought I’d ever say this but I agree with Tabman!

    My views on Clegg are a lot closer to yours than Tabman’s, but that doesn’t excuse you using a dishonest line.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 14th Apr '11 - 10:00am

    David Allen

    The line in response to Tabman wasn’t dishonest but ironic – just as I don’t think Tabman was actually asking me a question. As i’ve explained I don’t think that it was a when did you stop beating my wife question.

  • Simon McGrath 14th Apr '11 - 10:26am

    @Richard – can i suggest you take a course in basic logic when you will see that your conclusion does not flow from my statement.

    @toryboys – my point was that labour are tactically inept. Long may then continue to be so

  • Matthew Huntbach 14th Apr '11 - 10:31am

    Gillian Duffy

    “I’ve just been listening to you on the television, and I’ve listened to you on the radio, and that’s just the same speech you gave out”.

    Er, yes, perhaps because Clegg was just telling the truth here. It may be a truth that Mrs Duffy does not like, but that does not stop it being the truth. Our electoral system and the way people voted DID result in the May 2010 election meaning a Conservative-LibDem coalition being viable but a Labour-LibDem coalition not being viable. Our economy WAS in a mess, as the outgoing Chief Secretary to the Treasury put it so bluntly. If Mr Clegg were asked “from which side does the sun rise?” he would have to reply “from the east”, no matter how many times he were asked it. No matter how much Mrs Duffy might like it to rise from the west, Mr Clegg is not going to say, at least if he is an honest man, “from the west”, just because Mrs Duffy does not like the truth and wishes it were otherwise.

    On whether Mr Clegg is proud of the policies of the current government, it is a government which, thanks to our electoral system, has the support of a combination of over five times as many Conservative MPs as Liberal Democrat MPs. As such, it is inevitably going to be more towards the Conservative way of thinking that the Liberal Democrat way of thinking. If people like Mrs Duffy do not like that, then they ought to campaign for a proportional representation system which would greatly have increased the number of Liberal Democrat MPs at the expense of the Conservatives. That would have made a Labour-LibDem coalition viable, and had a Conservative-LibDem coalition still been formed would have meant the Liberal Democrats had much more say in it and so brought its policies much more in line with Liberal Democrat thinking.

    There are of course good diplomatic reason why Mr Clegg can’t be quite so blunt as he might like on whether he supports all the policies of the current government. Even though I’ve been rude about him and wished he didn’t give so much the impression he’s wildly enthusiastic for every jot of current government policy, I can of course see why he can’t say “No, I hate most of it, but we have to put up with it, because it’s what the FPTP system and the way people voted gave us, and if I weren’t in the coalition it would be even worse”.

    If an alternative coalition were a possibility in May 2010, as the party balance in the Commons is the same now as then, Labour could offer it now. So, anyone who genuinely believes it was possible should be attacking Labour now for not offering it now. If it was wrong for the electoral system to twist things so much in Mr Cameron’s favour, then if Labour believe that, they could be offering Proportional Representation now. As Labour is not offering PR now, one can only conclude they support the distortion, and therefore they and their supporters such as Mrs Duffy are hypocrites for not accepting the inevitable consequences of what they support.

  • Paul McKeown 14th Apr '11 - 12:09pm

    @Matthew Huntbach

    Just bookmarked your post, excellent!

  • toryboysnevergrowup 14th Apr '11 - 1:08pm


    So lets get it right Matthew the LibDems had no choice on

    Going into a full blown coalition with the Tories
    Supporting and voting for the increase in tuition fees
    Supporting a sharper reduction in public expenditure than envisaged in your manifesto (although Nick realised during the campaign that
    Supporting the increase in VAT and the reduction in corporation tax
    Supporting the health service reforms for many months until those working in the health service demonstrated that they were unworkable.
    Supporting the FSA remuneration code on Bankers bonuses and the proposals of the Vickers Commission
    etc. etc.

    Are there any other forthcoming u turns on LIbDem policy, other than those announced in the Coalition agreement, that you would like to announce that the LibDems have no choice to accept – how about nuclear power?

    So the new politics means that if you go into coalition you cannot have open and honest disagreements with your coalition partners does it?

  • Matthew Huntbach 18th Apr '11 - 1:32pm

    toryboysnevergrowup – if you read some of the other stuff I have written in LibDemVoice, you will find that I have had rather a lot to say about these issues, most of it NOT very complimentary about Mr Clegg. Please look for the answers to your questions there. I am getting very fed up of finding on the few occasions when I do acknowledge the difficulty he found himself in following the May 2010 election I am treated as if I were a 100% Clegg loyalist, when actually I have probably been his most consistent critic ever since he stood for the leadership of the party.

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