Welsh singer brought tear to Gordon Brown's eye


Insert the words "Duffy" and "Gordon Brown" into one of those new-fangled internet search engines and the chances are you'll end up on a page like this one.

But another Duffy - the Welsh singer/songwriter - also has an impact on the former prime minister, according to his former spin doctor Damian McBride's memoirs.

The book may be subtitled "A Decade of Policy, Plots and Spin" but it also features rather more humdrum anecdotes, such as this one.

"Only a few weeks before I was sacked," writes McBride, "I was in his [Brown's] office and he said excitedly: 'Have you seen this letter I've had from Duffy?' The Welsh singer had recently won Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2009 Grammys, been nominated for two others and had received a very personal letter of congratulations from Gordon, as had all the other British Grammy winners.

"He read her hand-written response out to me, saying: 'I was completely blown away when your letter arrived and it gave me a lot of strength and encouragement'."

The prime minister's letter had apparently made Duffy feel that her sacrifices and struggles had been worth worthwhile.

McBride added: "He read out the last section with a faltering voice: 'As for the difficult times we face at present as a country, my grandmother used to say that 'Rough Seas Make Good Sailors', so as we pull together and raise our masts, the storm will pass.'

"He looked up at me with a tear in his eye, and said: 'Isn't that amazing? Isn't that lovely?'"

There was a postscript to the letter. "Pushing my luck," wrote Duffy, "but since you are the prime minister, Ranelagh Gardens in Fulham could really do with some recycling bins."

Given Gordon Brown's micro-managing approach to his job, it wouldn't be a surprise to learn that the residents of Ranelagh Gardens got their recycling bins. It would be less of a surprise had she been offered the chance - given to TV presenters Fiona Phillips and Lorraine Kelly - to join Mr Brown's "government of all the talents".

David Cornock, Parliamentary correspondent, Wales Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

They think it's all over. It is now.

Welsh Secretary David Jones and his deputy Stephen Crabb have been answering MPs' questions for the last time before the summer recess.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    "BBC Wales should be accountable to the assembly in the future, the Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies says."
    The BBC is responsible to a Trust, so that it has a hands-off arrangement with Gov. Most of us prefer it thus. Does RTD propose
    ( Putin-style) an arrangement where BBC-W publish a photo of his daughter in St Mary St and he calls in the CE for a dressing-down followed by dismissal

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    So RT Davies has joined the optimists to think that control of BBC(W) can be devolved so that important politicians like RTD can decide to spend more on WL programs BUT the BBC (UK) will continue to subsidise it, without of course interfering.
    To repeat a theme: teenagers wanting their pocketmoney but wanting Mummy to stop interfering. And we worry about post Leveson interference in the Press !

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    ... #40, you are right, hiding behind a penname is not credible, but just as crucial is "going off topic", and most are guilty at some time.

    I would welcome strict "off topic" moderation, particularly as this blog is the last place where the democratic deficit might be addressed on-line by us little people, and real issues need discussing, often it is Socrates on trial not politics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    I think (in Betsan's absence) ppl are forgetting u are just the Westminster correspondent David. However,surely u can understand their frustration when stories like this are not covered on BBC Wales today: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/wales-poorest-children-much-less-6199189
    50% more FSM pupils reaching GCSE grades A-C in England is ENORMOUS &should be headlines for days in Wales!

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Thank you, "realWelsh"/"decentJohn" - I just think if you're going to criticise my work - which you are perfectly entitled to do - you'd have more credibility if people knew who you were. Thanks again for visiting this page, and wading through the trivial stuff! I'm sure it won't stop you discussing the real issues on this platform.


Comments 5 of 44



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