Would “Bigotgate” have happened if Sarah Brown had been at her husband’s side?
Mark Austin writes in the Mirror that “there’s a very simple moral to the tale of “Bigotgate”. When out campaigning, always take the wife”.
Lord Mandelson said that Sarah Brown’s absence in Rochdale had contributed to Gordon Brown’s bad mood.
Sarah Brown was supportive of her husband in the Daily Mirror the following day: “To say he was mortified is an understatement. I don’t think I have ever seen him so angry with himself.”
And in her last election diary in the Sunday Mirror, she writes:
If there’s one thing everyone who knows him agrees on about Gordon, it’s that he simply hates upsetting people. The idea that somebody would have been caused pain or embarrassment by something he had done is the sort of thing that goes right to the core of Gordon and I know that his apology came straight from his heart. I am glad that he also had the chance to meet the lady again to speak to her personally and privately too.
Suzanne Moore, however is critical of the strategy of using Sarah Brown and other wives in the campaign strategy, claiming that it has contributed to the invisibility of women in this election.
Balance was achieved in the debates by giving each one to a different channel. No one appears to have thought that balance may also have involved having a female moderator.
Another factor is the rise of the wife/carer as a political weapon. It is easy to blame the media for this but it’s not so simple.
There is a pact between politicians and the media. Yet surely the treatment of women has been made far worse by the Labour strategists’ (and we know what a boys’ club this lot is) decision to use Sarah Brown to humanise Gordon.
View Sarah Brown’s Vogue Style File here
We learnt from Samantha Cameron’s husband this week that Dominic West wanted to go out her, but David, told the Radio Times triumphantly, “I won!”.
The Wire star told the story a little differently in the Daily Mail: “I really adored her, though by the time I met her she was already with David.” But the headlines made good reading for Samantha Cameron who Dominic West described as “gorgeous” “very clever, very artistic and very beautiful”.
Barbara Ellen points out in the Observer that the strategy of focusing on the leaders’ wives may not be what will sway women: “Samantha Cameron can be as pregnant as she likes – women I’ve spoken to couldn’t care less,” she argues, adding that:
Always, at times such as these, the female vote (“the Mumsnet factor”) is discussed as if it were a pink, fluffy silly thing – with women needing to be courted, flattered and directed, or – bubbleheads that we are – we may go mad and vote for someone because he is wearing a shiny tie. A reductionist view that is as untrue as it is insulting.
There was a further negative for Samantha Cameron, who the Scotsman showed in a bookshop with a copy of Mein Kampf nearby (above). View Samantha Cameron’s Vogue Style File here.
Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, who fractured her arm the previous week was photographed wearing a black blazer and applauded in Vogue by David Hellqvist of Fashion in Politics.
Miriam has shown that it’s not always best to be everywhere and wearing the loudest colours. She has been going to work and getting on with life, which has earned her kudos from the press and the public.
View Miriam Gonzalez Durantez’s Vogue Style File here
Related articles by Zemanta
- General Election 2010: Gordon Brown made ‘dreadful mistake’ says Alan Johnson (telegraph.co.uk)
- ‘Bigot’ Row Pensioner Won’t Be Voting At All (news.sky.com)
- Sarah Brown: Gordon’s apology to Gillian Duffy ‘was from the heart’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- General Election 2010: The Wire’s Dominic West fancied Samantha, says David Cameron (telegraph.co.uk)
Photocredit: Liberal Democrats via a Creative Commons licence.