Poor Gordon Brown. Even after two years of one of the most abused premierships in modern times, he continues to face fetishised ragings in the press about his whereabouts, state of mind, and so on.
In fact, by all accounts, Brown has merely been resting in Scotland and will be returning to the Commons at some point soon. But as this profile reveals, he has also been writing intensely. About what, no one knows. My guess is that he is making notes for a book, setting down memories of his time as chancellor and prime minister. But that won’t come out until after those of Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson later this year. Instead, Brown is probably focusing on a new career in academia and charity.
While reading up on Brown’s latest moves, I came across this characteristically sharp blog post by Michael White. What is at least as interesting on this occasion, though, is the photo above it. Forgive me if I have missed wide coverage of the picture, but it is certainly eye-catching, so I suggest you open it by clicking the link.
It shows an apparently genuinely relieved Brown embracing — while shaking the hand of — an unidentifiable aide, beside another aide who looks a bit like, but surely can’t be, the editor of the Spectator, Fraser Nelson.
More importantly, in the background you can see Peter Mandelson, godfather to New Labour, looking on proudly, and Alastair Campbell, who, if anything, looks even more emotional than Mandelson. Ed Balls appears to be — though I may be wrong — consulting his BlackBerry, as is his wont. Somehow, the picture speaks a thousand words about the significance of that day, 11 May, which marked the end of New Labour.
UPDATE: Apologies to those who tried to click the link, which is now back up.