Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A good thought, just sloppy execution.

The 3rd Leader in this morning's London Times was a thoughtful one (see: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article6910153.ece) Our Glorious Leader, Comrade Doktor Irn Broon, has got some stick for his note of condolence to the mother of a soldier who died in Afghanistan. He misspelled the surname and the lady took violent umbrage, contacting the Currant Bun (the UK's leading tabloid propaganda sheet). On this occasion, my sympathy is rather with the PM.

Anyone who has ever found themselves in the tricky situation of having pastoral contact with the bereaved knows full well that it is very easy for the slightest mistake, however unintentional and malice free, to trigger an adverse reaction. And sometimes the boob isn't entirely your fault: I recall an annoyed lady at Kirkcaldy Crem once, when I had said the deceased and his widow had met whilst nursing their 1st spouses at the local hospice. No one bothered to tell me that the wife in the hospice was no 2, not no 1 from whom he was divorced (amicably, as it happened). No 1 came up to me and said "By the way Son, Ah'm no deid yit!". GB's staff obviously didn't get the exact info to him and failed to correct the error before the letter went in the post. His handwriting is notoriously bad: he lost one eye playing rugby as a teenager and he has been reported as having retina problems with his good eye recently. He meant well and his human failings caused another in a state of emotional vulnerability distress. As a son of the Manse, he will probably be feeling deeply embarrassed and upset by this. At least the Thunderer took a tolerant and compassionate line towards him in its leader. I wish more of the Press displayed such a reasoned attitude to public figures.


  1. For God's sake! It was a hand-written letter!!! Can't we commend him for that rather than get a secretary to type out a bland response?

  2. The Times does actually. But a grieving mother might not take that into account (nor the fact that his writing is bad because of his limited eyesight - which is why he writes with a thick black felt tip pen). I think it is asign of his essential humanity meself.

  3. Of the large doses of Gordon's prudence and economic competence we have been subjected to since 1997, this letter (however discomfiting to Mrs Janes) is a very minor harm.

    But I'm saving any sympathy I have for the man, and it is very little indeed - he has schemed since his late teens to get himself where he is - until May next. When I will hopefully enjoy dancing on the political grave of 'New Labour'.

    But, in positions of power and writing such personally significant letters, you would at least try to get the name right? And it's not as if all of his minions are so scared of his violent temper that they won't point out errors.

  4. A point of view Surreptitious, but there is another good reflection in the Times today by Melanie Reid. Look behind the post to the human being: a disabled guy trying his best, being a bit stubborn and slow to take help and getting in a bind. No, human sympathy is with Gordon Brown.

  5. Apart from the lack of "dancing on the grave of New Labour" - note, not GB personally (and I really think the people who have been betrayed by this and the previous governments are the committed socialists who thought they were going to get some recompense for having the "eeevil Tories" and instead got an economically inept version of the authoritarian wing of the Michael Howard fan club) - I would recommend Charles Crawford's take on this.

    I spent quite a bit of yesterday morning writing thank-you letters to the senior officers of some of the participants in the local Remembrance Day parade. No, I didn't hand write the whole thing but you took time and care to make sure it was correct - checking the awards and decorations with the London Gazette, etc. And those were far less important or personally significant than letters of condolence.

    "Look behind the post to the human being: a disabled guy trying his best, being a bit stubborn and slow to take help and getting in a bind."

    Sorry, he is the Prime Minister of this country - a position of considerable power and he can have all the "reasonable adjustments" his employer (himself, as he sees it, rather than us) can provide.

    But let's just agree to disagree.