Using Losing Children

Controversy in some corners today over an interview Gordon Brown has done with Piers Morgan (to be shown next week) where he publicly cries over the death of his daughter Jennifer Jane in 2002. Tory Bear sums up one perspective.

Make no mistake, his appearance on the Piers Morgan show would have been negotiated and debated behind the scenes, with the exact line of questioning known to him. He has spoken before and even attacked David Cameron for using his children in the political world so the sudden u-turn can only be for electoral reasons. Of course the pain is real but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t attack people for using their children and then expect not to be called out when you do it yourself to a far far greater scale. Labour were quick to jump on Cameron’s one line mention of the death of his son, just months previously, in his conference speech. Yet deafly silence from the left about this. Funny that.


Half of me agrees with the Bear and half of me is reticent to take this critical approach. Is this electioneering? If it is, is it actually wrong? I mean, most politicians will use their family at times, from shots of Blair with the kids entering Downing Street in 1997 to the “at home” videos of David Cameron in recent years. In that sense, is it wrong to occasionally talk about personal matters or can you never refer to them in politics? Are we not interested in the whole person, not just their public work? If so, why should politicians be allowed to refer to living sons but not dead daughters?


4 Comments on “Using Losing Children

  1. In general I agree with you that its not that cut and dried, but the problem here is the way the PM and Labour have beaten up on Cameron for a much more discrete reference. At the very least Brown owes Cameron an apology.

  2. I agree that MPs shouldn't have double standards: if it's OK for one side to do it then the other side should be allowed to as well. As for whether it should be allowed at all: I don't really see the point in banning all reference to their children, living or departed (and parliamentarians don't seem to be very good at following the rules anyway …); I suppose it's just up to the rest of us to decide when something they say is genuine and reasonable and when we're just being taken for a ride. As with all the other things they say …

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