The Right to Speak Freely.




By now, Gordon Brown’s critical comments about a Manchester voter and Labour supporter have been spread far and wide across the internet – read, written about, recorded, edited, tweeted, re-tweeted and all the rest. So I suppose in some ways I am just adding to the excessive amounts of coverage and commentary.

I do feel it’s important, though, to reflect on the incident in Rochdale earlier today – there are many of us doing everything we can to restore the public’s faith in politicians and in the political system, and incidents like this one really do set us back.

More than anything else, I feel strongly that Gillian Duffy should have been able to express her views and question the Prime Minister on the things that matter to her, without being described as bigoted.

It is crucial for any functioning, effective democracy that people have the right to express themselves and be heard.

No politician should ever forget the fact that we exist to represent the public - this is the only thing that matters.

Mrs. Duffy has described herself as feeling “very disappointed” at Gordon’s comments, and I’m told he has since apologised personally. This is definitely welcome. I just hope that Gillian and voters everywhere aren’t put off by incidents like this – it’s up to the public to decide who they want to put their faith in on May 6 and I hope they continue to recognise the power of their vote.

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