Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I understand the pain of losing a child, says Brown.

It's simply horrible that Gordon Brown has been reduced to reminding us that he, himself, knows the pain of losing a child.

Jacqui Janes, whose son was killed in Afghanistan, last night accepted an apology from Gordon Brown over "insulting" mistakes he made in a handwritten letter of condolence. The bereaved mother drew a line under the row when she said she was satisfied with the Prime Minister's sincerity.

She was speaking after an emotional Mr Brown, whose daughter Jennifer died at just 10 days old, insisted he understood the "sadness and anger" of the parents of fallen troops. The Prime Minister said: "I understand very well the sadness that she feels, and the way that she has expressed her grief is something that I can also clearly understand.

This has been all over the papers for days after Brown misspelled her sons name in a letter of condolence. The mother took the letter to The Sun newspaper and, later when Brown phoned to apologise, she recorded the call and also handed that over to the paper.

The notion that the Prime Minister would send a letter of condolence intended to insult is simply a non-starter. So, we are looking at a man being crucified for making a very simple mistake. Instead of writing Janes he wrote James.

Nor can we blame the mother for hitting out during her time of dreadful grief. She has lost her son, so it is understandable that her emotions are raw and that she has a lot of anger.

But, The Sun newspaper have ran with this story and implied that it is, in some way, indicative of the Prime Minster's lack of concern over fallen troops. They should not have done this. It feels like what it is, it's a cheap shot.

And their concern for Jacqui Janes also rings hollow. She should have been allowed to come to terms with her loss before they plastered her understandable rage all over the front of the papers.

I know The Sun have decided to throw their lot in with the Conservatives, but this feels like kicking Brown in the cheapest possible way.

And there are rumours that even some Sun reporters feel that this story leaves a bad taste in one's mouth:

Although many parts of the Labour party find solace in having a common enemy, cabinet ministers are still furious at what they believe to be a politically motivated exploitation of a woman's grief.


Readers on the paper's website tend to agree with the unhappy pair of cabinet ministers, and there are signs that Sun reporters also agree. One compared it to the paper paying for, and publishing, an old photograph of Chris Tarrant and a topless Sophie Rhys Jones that readers took great exception to. On that occasion the Sun later issued a full-page apology.

It's been an undignified affair and it ends with the Prime Minister having to remind us of his own personal loss. This is one of those dreadful stories where no-one wins.

Not the mother, not the Prime Minister, and certainly not The Sun.

Click here for full article.

No comments: