Learning to Smile by Barbara Nadel

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We have no government here in the UK. Yesterday our Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, tendered his resignation. Everything is up in the air and no-one knows what is going to happen next. There is only one certainty at the moment, and that is that Gordon Brown’s lifelong dream of power is over. He’d wanted to be Prime Minister since he was a boy. Imagine! Well he did achieve his ambition, but I don’t think it did him personally, too much good.

Over the years I have watched Gordon Brown. Firstly in opposition, then as Chancellor and lately as Prime Minister. He’s no all singing, all dancing type of chap, as Tony Blair was. But then do we need the sort of showbiz style PM who takes us skipping into illegal wars? Do we need the kind of ghastly personality plus PM that Margaret Thatcher imposed upon this country for year after gruesome year?

Ultimately Gordon failed in his mission to be a great Prime Minister. But I don’t think that he’s a bad bloke because of that. I don’t think he’s necessarily an ogre just because he can’t smile. God knows, over the years he’s tried! Smiling at journalists, smiling at foreign leaders, pulling a ghastly rictus on U-Tube. None of it has ever worked because the poor old thing has roundly failed to learn how to put on a happy face.

In part I do think that the terrible job he embraced so passionately made him unable to smile. I’d probably hang myself if I had to try and organise 60 million people. But he chose to do it and I believe that it broke him. If ever there was a warning about being careful about what you wish for, then Gordon Brown is it. He got what his heart desired the most and it turned on him and then destroyed him. I hope that once he has left Downing Street he’ll be able to take some time to learn to smile properly. The 60 million will still be there, but Gordon won’t have to worry about them anymore.

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