Politicians. They’d like to think of themselves as sure-footed, confident, and perhaps even arrogant. They never make mistakes. Or so they’d like to think so. Whether they are making speeches in the House of Commons or mingling with the electorate, they are expected to produce linguistic gold whenever they open their democratically elected mouths. So it’s always a media frenzy when a Politician gets caught saying or doing something thye really ought not to.
It would be easy to pass off most of the ramblings of George “Dubya” Bush and Mitt Romney as gaffe worthy, but considering I really don’t have time to write a novel of “War and Peace” proportions, I’ll be sticking to British blunders instead of talking about our friends across the Atlantic.
1. First up is the publically-adored Andrew Mitchell. He has certainly had an exciting career from a Political perspective. After serving as Secretary of State for International development between 2010 and 2012, he found himself ordained as the Chief Whip of the Conservative Party by the nation’s most popular figure, David Cameron, during last month’s cabinet reshuffle.
What does a Chief whip do exactly? Well, Mitchell’s role is to “guide” all the possible fringe Tory’s into toeing the policy line. Sort of ensuring that nobody flees the evil clutches of government policy (sorry, must not get biased). Picture Mitchell as chief overseer of Devil Academy, ensuring that all the participants follow procedure and ensure they back Lucifer’s devious plans. OK, that’s enough Tory bashing for now.
So what great crime did Messers Mitchell commit? Well, it is reported that last month he was told off by a policeman for using the wrong gates on Downing Street. His response to the letter of the law?
“Best you learn your f**king place. You don’t run this f**king government … You’re f**king plebs… I’ll have your f**king job for this”
After initially denying the accusations, he was left red-faced after being forced to make a very public apology by his boss. More of a vicious verbal attack as opposed to a gaffe, there is no doubt that this will forever taint Mitchell’s career.
2. Gordon Brown can count himself as the most unlucky man of New Labour politics (apart from David Miliband of course). Given the mantle of the country after Tony Blair left his job, he found himself embroiled in two wars, a huge economic slump and a general public loathing of Labour principles.
A nice trip to Rochdale during the Election campaign of 2010 wouldn’t have been too daunting on the man who had been in Government since 1997; but his hugely famous gaffe almost certainly accounted for a reasonable portion of Labour voters abandoning the party.
An interview with Gillian Duffy, an ordinary OAP and generally typically English woman didn’t go quite to the Labour leaders plan and according to Brown “was a disaster”. After giving his aides a strict telling off in private – “They should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? Ridiculous,”- he made the mother of all political errors by labelling the woman a “bigot”.
What’s the big deal I hear you ask? I bet all Politicians laugh and jeer at us Plebs in private. Well that’s the problem. Poor old Gordon hadn’t forgotten to turn off his media microphone and found his slurs being broadcast to the entire nation. Poor old Gillian Duffy, lifelong Labour voter, was left shocked when she heard what her “leader” had to say about her. She probably went off and voted Lib Dems. The rest as they say is history.
Listen to Gordon Brown’s impromptu slip-up here. http://tinyurl.com/9bzvsv5
3. For all seasoned Political archivists, a trip down memory lane now as we look at Charles Kennedy’s notorious slip up whilst campaigning during the 2005 general election.
After being asked a simple enough question during a Press conference, he found it hard to recall basic facts from his manifesto which led to him slurring his words like a drunk (political joke alert). Miserably failing to answer a question over taxation policy and following his incoherent mumbling with wild gesticulations of the arms he eventually conceded defeat after being corrected by audience member Andrew Marr.
He could perhaps be forgiven though. Two days before the pre-planned unveiling of the Lib Dem party plan, Kennedy’s first child was born. You’re off the hook this time Charles. Not.
Watch Kennedy’s faltering performance here. http://tinyurl.com/8xj8pmw(after 00.40)
4. Chuka Umunna is well known among the Labourites as being a dead cert for the top job when Ed Miliband decides to call it quits. An articulate, suave and good looking young man who is already Shadow Business Secretary at the tender age of 33, he has been nicknamed “The British Obama” by many political spectators.
Despite being privately educated and having a distinguished legal education prior to winning the Streatham Parliamentary elections of 2010, he has often been seen as a figurehead of those less financially able in society, a people’s champion, someone who voters can really connect with.
Whilst being interviewed by Simon Walters of The Daily Mail, arguably Britain’s most reputable newspaper (it would have to be a very good argument), the MP played down his high profile image and maintained that his rather flashy suits were the work of ‘the sister of a Labour organiser’ in the Streatham constituency. After some more digging, it was established that this Labour organiser’s sister was in fact Alexandra Wood, one of Savile Row’s most glamorous and expensive designers. Not such a people’s person are you?
5. How could the ever reliable Boris Johnson not be on the gaffe list I hear you ask? Well, good news, our favourite Tory does feature in this edition, though it would be difficult to pinpoint just one event from Boris’ chequered political history. Most recently the Mayor of London found himself stuck on a zip-line during an Olympics promotion event in London’s Victoria Park, giving photographers ample time to snap some rather unsavoury shots of a large man dangling in the air. Boris Johnson also displayed his skills of dexterity and personal co-ordination when he fell face first into a river during a public clean-up operation in South-east London back in 2009.
Whether or not Boris’ public displays of buffoonery are a ruse in trying to get the people to see him as an approachable, honest and ‘human’ Tory politician (if such a thing exists) or if they are simply a testament to his genuine idiocy, his antics have bought many hours of joy to Internet Meme-creators and Photoshoppers alike.
We look forward to many more slip ups and howlers Comrade Boris will no doubt be bringing to us in years to come.
Watch Boris Johnson dangling off a zip-wire here. http://tinyurl.com/8beb9ry
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