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
    0

    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
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    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
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    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
    0

    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
    0

    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.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 39.

    38 David - No I was not implying that you tried to pass a "humdrum anecdote" as a news story. I was making the point that there are real issues to discuss.
    You will, I hope, be pleased that I agree entirely with your final sentence.
    I still await your response with regard to the use of pseudonyms on BBC websites

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 38.

    "Decentjohn" - you are implying I suggested a "humdrum anecdote" was a news story, which I didn't. Yes, I'm paid to cover Parliament. That's partly why I read books written by senior people in politics and share Welsh angles here. Your contributions are welcome but if you're looking for hard news stories about "real politics in Wales" then there are better pages on this site.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 37.

    Thanks DC (34) the BBC storey is now up on Wales News website, but surprise, surprise no comments allowed - Truly a shame that BBC is not prepared to listen to Welsh public and their expectations of BBC Wales - If the feedback was allowed I'm sure it would provide fascinating reading!?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 36.

    31/33 Glasnost - I have looked on your website and there are no personal details there - so you are hiding your identity.

    I am not sure of the point of this article - is it to highlight Mr Cornocks anger that he was not invited to join Mr Browns "government of all talents"? Or was it a quiet day in Westminster.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 35.

    30 David It seems that by telling the truth I have touched a raw nerve. Sorry but you are paid as a Parliamentary correspondent aren't you? Not a book reviewer. I thought the blog was available to me as a Licence Tax payer - am I wrong?
    Finally I note that you have not used the cheap shot on the use of pseudonyms with others - any particular reason?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 34.

    Thank, you GlasnostOrgUK. My colleagues in Cardiff (I'm based in Westminster) are covering the story you mention. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-24564172

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 33.

    Forgot to clarify my last comment DC (31) whilst I use GOUK login anyone who looks up glasnost uk will find out who I am. I have nothing against Welsh language and have full respect for it and those who speak it, but I value freedom of choice which is being denied to the vast majority of people of Wales and BBC is a huge part of a cover up to stifle and deny full and proper debate on this issue!?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 32.

    An insight into the NHS in W , these stories are very disturbing and not dissimilar to my experiences!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 31.

    Good to have your comment DC and as you I do not hide my identity but I find it difficult comprehend BBC's aversion to allow full and proper debate on many relevant items affecting Wales especially the forced 'bilingism'.

    For starters RTD (Tory AM leader) is calling for radical BBC Wales shake up and nothing from BBC as yet that I an see!?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 30.

    Decentjohn. As I wrote, it's just a humdrum anecdote from the McBride book. I didn't pretend it was a story - if you want news there are plenty of other pages on the BBC website, most of them written by people who don't hide behind pseudonyms. I use my page for diary items, anecdotes and, occasionally, analysis. You are under no obligation to read it.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 29.

    #26 " Not all technical terms are from English, either."
    Probably not. But, can you find me some technical term, reasonably familiar to a Welsh speaker, that is adopted from another language - with appropriate spelling changes to keep the pronounciation -and is obviously different from the English term.
    A physics equivalent to 'heddlu' for 'police'.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 28.

    Only from BBC Wales a non story about Brown/Duffy.

    Wales can go to hell in a handcart before BBC Wales find the courage to provide coverage of real politics in Wales.

    I can hardly wait for tomorrows instalment perhaps an exclusive from DC "Hague enjoys judo" or "IWJ settles into his new job".

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 27.

    Some are made up as compounds from simpler words - German style. Eg a computer is cyfrifiadur, astronomy is seryddiaeth...
    Anyone who claims Welsh is pure is nuts. Apart from modern borrowings from English it has scores of Latin words from 400 years of Roman occupation. Pont, eglwys, sebon etc

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 26.

    The orthography of Welsh is a bit different from English so a borrowed word is generally spelled in Welsh in such a way as to preserve the sound. If Welsh wrote ffliw as flu it would be pronounced vlee. Welsh is phonetically consistent, all words are pronounced as written. It does not have the same tolerance as English for arbitrary spellings. Not all technical terms are from English, either.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 25.

    #23 The pointis, my dear Tredwyn, that English is a mongrel language and proud of it. We have probably taken words from every major language on earth. And we started with two pretty separate sources - Latin and proto-German.
    The Welsh, in general, relish the idea of the 'Language of Heaven' , descended from before the Druids. If all the technical terms are borrowed from English, why translate ?

 

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