One or two people are asking why I wrote so despairingly about the Gordon Brown moment at the Labour Party conference. This is why.
1. Sarah Brown says a few words to welcome her husband onto the platform. Result: one and a half pages in today's Guardian bearing the huge headline,
THE MAKING OF MRS BROWN.
One and half pages, because...?
2. In the same newspaper, an article by Jonathan Freedland, in which he writes:
The immediate risk for Cameron is that he is simply dwarfed by the scale of the meltdown. One cabinet minister this week said he regarded Cameron as a "good times" politician, his smiley, wind-turbine brand of politics fine when the sun is shining but too lightweight for grave times such as these. It sounds wishful, but the minister might have a point. Blair's sunny style, which worked so well in the prosperous 1990s, might not have connected in a recession either.
This could explain why Brown's jibe that this is "no time for a novice" struck home. Home Office minister Tony McNulty said that at that moment he could feel Cameron and George Osborne shrinking back into short trousers. He was crediting that to Brown's speech, but the real trouser-shriveller is surely the economic crisis itself.
I don't care what Freedland says about Cameron or Brown, it's the passage I have emphasised in bold that I find so painfully inadequate. To say that it is jejune, petty, stupid, pointless, brainless, desperate is to be kind to it.
I don't care whether or not Mrs Brown introduces Gordon, and I certainly don't care whether half a sentence in a speech has succeeded or not in making people feel that they are back in short trousers, nah-nah-ni-nah-nah. It utterly pisses me off.
What I expect of a prime minister is that he presents us with the state of affairs as he sees it, relates it to certain principles, suggests what might be done, what are likely to be the results of doing it, and why, if he is a Labour prime minister, it is worth doing.
This is not an impossible demand. The rest is stupid games and I have had enough of stupid games.