Looking around my old haunt today, I notice that many of the Conservative posters are spreading poison about the revelation that Gordon Brown wept during the recording of the forthcoming TV interview with Piers Morgan, talking about it in terms of Labour 'tactics'. One of the usual suspects rather risibly tries to read some significance into the fact that the 'top rated comment' on the issue on the Daily Mail website accuses Brown of exploiting his grief for electoral gain. Now, I wonder who was doing the rating?
I think Conservative supporters have got to be very, very careful about how they come at this. It's only a few short months since the near-impossible happened and Gordon Brown actually came out well from the controversy over his mis-spellings in a letter to the grieving mother of a military casualty, due to the sympathy provoked by the hysterical over-reaction in the Tory-supporting media. The way I read this is that Brown's decision to do an interview covering personal matters plainly was a tactical decision. It would also clearly have been agreed in advance that the death of his newborn daughter would not be off-limits, and that again would have been carefully weighed up. Tory supporters really can have no complaints about either of these points, given the way that David Cameron has brought his own son's illness and subsequent death into the public sphere, partly to underscore his personal commitment to the NHS - and any questioning of Cameron's sincerity would have certainly been greeted with outrage.
While I yield to no-one in my appreciation of Brown's many objectionable qualities, the one cynical thing he doesn't - or can't - do is emote on cue, in the way a Blair or Clinton could, and repeatedly did. He isn't an actor (at least not one of any quality), which paradoxically has been one of his biggest problems all along.