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Gaffe of 2010

Liam Byrne 2010 Jonathan Isaby's pick: Gordon Brown's disparaging remarks about Gillian Duffy aside (picked by Tim below), the gaffe of the year is surely the infamous letter penned by Labour's outgoing Chief Secretary, Liam Byrne, written before the election to whoever his successor would be. Lest we forget, it simply stated:

Dear Chief Secretary,
I'm afraid there is no money left.
Kind regards - and good luck!

Whilst qualifying as a gaffe, it was also a stark statement of the truth - it's just a shame that he and his colleagues have never apologised for maxing out the nation's credit card in the way that they did.

6a00d83451b31c69e20133ed042b57970b-500wi Tim Montgomerie's pick: The Gillian Duffy moment. It didn't just reveal the nasty side of the former Labour leader it also revealed Mr Brown's contempt for the popular view - inside and outside the Labour Party - that immigration had run out of control.

Eric Joyce Paul Goodman's pick: Lots of competition here - Gordon Brown and Gilian Duffy, Vince Cable and the Daily Telegraph.  But I want to use my friend Daniel Hannan's definition of a gaffe - "a statement of the obvious by a public person".  The remarks that best fitted such a view this year were made by the Labour MP Eric Joyce, who in an article titled "Liar, Know Thyself" appeared to attack almost every voter in the country.  "What," he asked, "if it were true that many people were living lies and using politicians as a means of exorcising their own demons of guilt and frustration; politicians the vessel for their own imperfections?"  The piece ended as follows: "...Politicians know the lies a lot of people live and they pitch to you accordingly. There’s a lot of lying going on, for sure. The letters-page paragons are right in that respect. But they might want to reflect on who is really doing the lying."  This is as near as a politician can come to saying the unsayable, let alone thinking the unthinkable.  Which is why I award Joyce my laurel wreath. 

Harry Phibbs' pick: Late entry goes to Vince Cable for his comments saying he had "declared war" on Rupert Murdoch. Cable was promptly removed from active service on that particular issue.


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