Something has to be deeply wrong in political life in Britain today that Gordon Brown felt compelled to unburden his soul in front of millions on television this coming Sunday. Questioned by Piers Morgan – the ex-editor of the Daily Mirror and TV talent show judge – the Prime Minister wept over the memory of the death of his 10-day-old baby Jennifer at the recording of the programme last week.
He talks about his second son Fraser who suffers cystic fibrosis – all this from a man who once admonished David Cameron for exposing his family life. “My children aren't props, they're people,” the Prime Minister then proclaimed.
I’m not suggesting that Brown’s grief isn’t genuine and that the expression of love for wife Sarah, who was in the television studio, isn’t heartfelt. Although the man’s admission about the continuing friction between himself and Tony Blair contradicted a decade of denials when they were neighbours in Downing Street.
I question the appropriateness of Brown agreeing to undertake such an intimate examination of his personal life. I doubt if Morgan – a friend of Brown (the picture above dates from 2000) – will be quite so inquisitive about allegations Brown starved the military when he was Chancellor and as a consequence British lives were lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. We shall see on Sunday.
Opinion polls and focus groups have long signalled that Brown loses support because of his apparent dour, charmless personality. This is supposed to put off women voters in particular. Such a position is an insult to the British electorate. If touchy-feely is such a vote-winner Labour should have appointed Vanessa Feltz as its leader.
The problems the nation faces with the economy still struggling to emerge from recession are so serious that a gold medal in schmooze will count for nothing at the ballot box.
Brown would have earned more respect if he had used his airtime with Morgan to explain how he intends getting us out of the mess which he and his Government has made worse for the rest of us.