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Published on April 14th, 2011 | by The Editor
Image © I was surprised to see everyone’s favourite bigoted woman*, Gillian Duffy, pop up again yesterday to give the sub-prime minister Nick Clegg a going over. She challenged him about “going in with the Tories” without any mention of the part she played in Labour’s loss of the last election, a loss which gave Clegg his best excuse to form a coalition with his pal Dave “Camo” Cameron.

Gillian Duffy meets Hu Jintao by @themanwhofell

I thought it was a coincidence that she should turn up again to confront another political giant. It turns out that Simon Danczuk, the Rochdale Labour MP who narrowly beat the Liberal Democrats at the last election, had suggested she confronted Clegg during his planned visit to this constituency. But that’s not the whole explanation of this coincidence. Sure, she got the idea from a Labour MP, but still, how does Gillian Duffy get so many opportunities to meet Prime Ministers and deputy Prime Ministers? What makes her so important? It turns out that there’s something very special about Gillian Duffy. Something that means she’ll get to speak to more important officials than the rest of us. What is this great asset? It’s about geography. Yes, it’s where she lives. Gillian Duffy is one of the few people who live in a marginal constituency. She lives in the very marginal seat of Rochdale, where a vote is 3.45 times more powerful than they UK average. The voters in these seats are so important to Prime Ministers and governments that the lions share of their policies are made to woo them, and it’s their votes that political parties are trying to win come election time. This is why Rochdale got a visit from the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and why Nick Clegg visited yesterday. When did a senior government minister last visit your home town? What about a Deputy Prime Minister? What about a Prime Minister? If you don’t live in a marginal constituency then it’s unlikely you’ve had such a visit. If you do, you’re probably getting sick of them.
Gillian Duffy Meets Messrs. Berlusconi & Gadaffi

Gillian Duffy Meets Messrs. Berlusconi & Gadaffi by @themanwhofell

So what can we do about this?

Vote YES on the 5th May in the referendum on the Alternative Vote. AV will go some way to spreading the range of these visiting politicians. It will reduce the number of safe seats, where ministers have no need to visit, from 66% to 33%. It will mean that governments have to consider the views of more of us when they plan their policies. There are thousands of people out there who are missing out on the opportunity to nag our leaders face to face. It’s a disgrace that a select few get the chance to while most of us don’t. We should vote YES in the referendum, because if we do, you never know, the next famous bigoted woman COULD BE YOU. *I don’t actually think Gillian Duffy is a bigoted woman, and I doubt Gordon Brown does either. She did say some silly things to him, such as “where are those Eastern Europeans coming from?” but I’ve heard some interviews with her and she seems very reasonable. Also, the blame for bigotgate lies not with her, but with News International and Sky news, who not only “forgot” to take the microphone off Gord but also decided to broadcast the private comments that turned Duffy into a celebratory. This is a guest post by Dicky Moore, so thanks to him! It was cross-posted from his blog. He can be found on twitter at @dickymoo. If you have a response to this pro-AV stance, then feel free to leave a comment here or even submit a blog yourself and we'll consider posting it here.

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How does Gillian Duffy meet so many party leaders?

I was surprised to see everyone’s favourite bigoted woman*, Gillian Duffy, pop up again yesterday to give the sub-prime minister Nick Clegg a going over. She challenged him about “going in with the Tories” without any mention of the part she played in Labour’s loss of the last election, a loss which gave Clegg his best excuse to form a coalition with his pal Dave “Camo” Cameron.

Gillian Duffy meets Hu Jintao by @themanwhofell

I thought it was a coincidence that she should turn up again to confront another political giant. It turns out that Simon Danczuk, the Rochdale Labour MP who narrowly beat the Liberal Democrats at the last election, had suggested she confronted Clegg during his planned visit to this constituency.

But that’s not the whole explanation of this coincidence. Sure, she got the idea from a Labour MP, but still, how does Gillian Duffy get so many opportunities to meet Prime Ministers and deputy Prime Ministers? What makes her so important?

It turns out that there’s something very special about Gillian Duffy. Something that means she’ll get to speak to more important officials than the rest of us. What is this great asset? It’s about geography. Yes, it’s where she lives.

Gillian Duffy is one of the few people who live in a marginal constituency. She lives in the very marginal seat of Rochdale, where a vote is 3.45 times more powerful than they UK average. The voters in these seats are so important to Prime Ministers and governments that the lions share of their policies are made to woo them, and it’s their votes that political parties are trying to win come election time.

This is why Rochdale got a visit from the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and why Nick Clegg visited yesterday. When did a senior government minister last visit your home town? What about a Deputy Prime Minister? What about a Prime Minister? If you don’t live in a marginal constituency then it’s unlikely you’ve had such a visit. If you do, you’re probably getting sick of them.

Gillian Duffy Meets Messrs. Berlusconi & Gadaffi

Gillian Duffy Meets Messrs. Berlusconi & Gadaffi by @themanwhofell

So what can we do about this?

Vote YES on the 5th May in the referendum on the Alternative Vote. AV will go some way to spreading the range of these visiting politicians. It will reduce the number of safe seats, where ministers have no need to visit, from 66% to 33%. It will mean that governments have to consider the views of more of us when they plan their policies.

There are thousands of people out there who are missing out on the opportunity to nag our leaders face to face. It’s a disgrace that a select few get the chance to while most of us don’t. We should vote YES in the referendum, because if we do, you never know, the next famous bigoted woman COULD BE YOU.

*I don’t actually think Gillian Duffy is a bigoted woman, and I doubt Gordon Brown does either. She did say some silly things to him, such as “where are those Eastern Europeans coming from?” but I’ve heard some interviews with her and she seems very reasonable. Also, the blame for bigotgate lies not with her, but with News International and Sky news, who not only “forgot” to take the microphone off Gord but also decided to broadcast the private comments that turned Duffy into a celebratory.

This is a guest post by Dicky Moore, so thanks to him! It was cross-posted from his blog. He can be found on twitter at @dickymoo. If you have a response to this pro-AV stance, then feel free to leave a comment here or even submit a blog yourself and we’ll consider posting it here.

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