You remember Joe the Plumber, of course. The glare from his bald head illuminated just how dumb our American election process is. Now the English people have their very own Joe the Plumber. Meet 65 year-old Gillian the Pensioner!
Like Joe the Plumber, Gillian the Pensioner was born of a photo op meet-and-greet gone awry. The blue-haired pensioner is a classic British character: She is both supremely polite, a fragile sort of midget pushing a bundle of groceries in a cart—but also disturbingly prone to racist and xenophobic thought. And so when pensioner Gillian Duffy had a chance to give Prime Minister Gordon Brown—campaigning for his Labour party in Manchester today—a piece of her mind, she naturally asked: "All these eastern Europeans are coming in, where are they flocking from?"
And then Gordon brown called her a "bigoted woman"! (Watch the video.) Which, no one is really surprised that he would say such a thing, since he's a notorious bully who hurls stuff at his staff. But, unfortunately, he was still miked by Sky News when he said it, driving away in his car. Now we have a hilarious audio clip that features Gordon asking Gillian Duffy about her kids and telling her that "It's very nice to see you," then his dishing to an aide: "That was a disaster... she was just sort of a bigoted woman."
Just as Joe the Plumber represented the Real America Obama could never hope to understand, Gillian the Pensioner is now seen in the press as embodying Gordon Brown's "disconnect" from the average, xenophobic Brit. It also fits deliciously with the stereotype of Gordon Brown as a "cranky, tired, and simply not very nice man." And now Gillian the Pensioner is being repped by Margaret Thatcher's PR guy, presumably to lead Britain into a brilliant new far-right government. So, Maybe she's Britain's Sarah Palin, actually?
First they launched televised debates; then an Obamaesque underdog; now media-generated characters who represent the "Real" Britain. Isn't that cute: It's almost like they're having a real election!