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A Yorkshire PR view on David Cameron's 'hate' gaffe

“We just thought people in Yorkshire hated everyone else, we didn’t realise they hated each other so much.” David Cameron. 11/09/15

It was intriguing to watch David Cameron's Yorkshire faux pas unfold on Twitter earlier. And interesting to see how it differed from Gordon Brown’s “bigoted woman” error.

Most of the early opinion seemed to be defending Cameron along the ‘political correctness gone mad’ argument, insisting that he’s entitled to his opinion. It wasn’t quite the same for Gordon of course, who was frogmarched by his PRs to the bigoted woman’s house for the most excruciating cup of tea of his life. The media burnt him naked at the stake anyway.

The Yorkshire Post was quick to publish an opinion on the Cameron gaffe and suggested it was a ‘lost in translation’ comment based on the divisions in the Yorkshire devolution debate (but let’s remember that the readership of the Yorkshire Post is hardly that of the Morning Star). They did however; admit that it was a major error of judgement regardless of the context. And it certainly was. How could he backtrack?

“What I meant was that you’re not the most easy folk to deal with, but I’m sure you’re all good eggs really?” or “I have the utmost respect for the county and its people, after all my wife’s family has an estate there”.

No matter which way it’s looked at, telling people in the country’s biggest county that they hate themselves is quite a big deal. But things move fast in politics and at his first opportunity he declared that the comment was just a joke – which was clearly the safest form of action. After all, it’s hard to prove it was otherwise.

At the time I did think that only Boris could get away with such a comment but Dave is clearly learning well from his slippery old school buddy. He’s already “moved on” and when all is said and done, Cameron lovers everywhere will forgive him and Cameron haters in Yorkshire will never forget it. But it’s not going to change much in the big scheme of things.

As a Yorkshire-based agency, most of us here think that there was possibly some truth in his comment - although we hate ourselves for saying it.

Al Fox is a director of Leeds-based Fox Communications. He tweets @AlFox.