Monday 9 November 2009

Sorry, but not sorry

I think even PM’s spokesman Simon Lewis would concede that the lobby briefing this morning was a disaster.

It centred on the letter Gordon Brown sent to the mother of a soldier who had been killed in action, in which the PM misspelt the mum’s name and appeared to misspell her son's too.

The line Lewis wanted to take today was that Brown was sorry for any ‘offence caused’ to the soldier’s mum – with the following implication that the PM had not actually done anything wrong.

Hacks wouldn’t let him get away with it, asking whether Lewis meant he merely regretted the offence or whether he was admitting that mistakes had been made in the letter.

It was at this point that Lewis got into trouble, he began talking about how the PM’s handwriting was “unique” and may even be less legible.

Then he went further and suggested the soldier’s mum had actually “misread” the letter and misinterpreted the handwriting.

When the question “were there any mistakes in the letter” was put, there was a tacit refusal to answer.

This is obviously a really emotive issue around Remembrance Day.

Brown would have been better off saying he takes great care to write to all soldiers’ families by hand and on this occasion he got one name wrong, was mortified and really sorry.

Instead it has become a ‘Gordon Brown can’t admit he’s wrong’ story which is the last thing you need when the mother of a deceased British soldier is on the other side of the argument.


Catosays said...

Why didn't the buffoon get the letter typed up containing the admission that as his handwriting's so bad and he can't see properly he'd had it typed instead.

All he had to do was sign it.

Everyone would have understood then.

Unknown said...

Brown did actually phone up and apologise over this issue, so fair play to him on that account!

Bill Quango MP said...

Shame really. The PM tries to write to a grieving mum, because 'its the right thing to do',but fails at it. Not out of malice, as the Sun would like to imply, but because he has far,far too much on his plate.

The story highlights, as much as his inability to admit mistakes, why he is totally unfit for high office. Tony Blair would not have cocked it up, probably as he would see nothing wrong with a civil servant writing a letter for him, and using the Blair signature rubber stamp on it too, and posting it off , all without any involvement from Tony.

Dean MacKinnon-Thomson said...

I think we are at the stage we reached with Sir John Major; where no matter what he does, it seems to 'get it wrong'. I actually think we should lay off Brown on this score, because for one thing he is taking the time to write a personal note like Thatcher did. That personal touch is something you jsut dont get with a 'typed' letter alternative.

Andy said...

Jeez not even Iain Dale found any political capital out of this.

Poor judgment LD

Anonymous said...

President Omaha at least has the decency to be there when the body bags come home...

Gordon Brown's Moral Compass Swinger said...

Bill Quango,
Brown was instrumental in getting us into this war. He has cut the purse strings so that our troops are under resourced and ill equipped.
The very least he can do is write to the parents of soldiers lost and regardless of what else he has to do, he should at least get names right. (to suggest that he may have better things to do than write to the parents of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice doing the governments dirty work is obscene)

When the mistake arose he should have stuck his hands up and admitted it and apologised properly and sincerely, but we all know Gordumb Brown doesn't do apologies because he thinks he is infallible.

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