Rattled Lord Mandelson makes extraordinary attack on Sarah Brown
"I'm sure Sarah Brown is a great wife and a wonderful mother, but by having her on his arm Gordon isn't going to win the election. If you appear to be using your wife too much and this distracts from your own character and policies it could even end up being a hindrance. If she's only there for show voters can see through that. In my view, wives don't win elections for their husbands."*
The architect of the Labour campaign which has seen the party tumble to third party status in some polls may have been alarmed at the fact that Mrs Brown features prominently in TWO Sunday newspapers today. The Prime Minister's wife is on the front of The Observer discussing gardening and also in The Sunday Mirror. It is only the latest example of Mrs Brown's high profile role. Some journalists have wondered if Mrs Brown provides a human shield for her husband, mitigating voter hostility towards him while he's on the stump.
Earlier this week Mrs Brown was part of a disastrous photograph that was worthy of the TV comedy, The Thick Of It. In the photograph Mrs Brown and her "hero", the PM, walk through double doors, held open by two crouching aides. The image was mocked by CCHQ;
Some Labour insiders blame Lord Mandelson's bad mood on a series of unforced errors. Once regarded as an election winner he undid New Labour's pro-business credentials when he attacked the bosses of M&S, Sainsbury's and Next for opposing a job-destroying hike in National Insurance. He appeared decidely Old Labour earlier this week when he launched a class war attack on "toffee-nosed" Cameron. He is also blamed for commissioning a 'People's Poster' that backfired on the Labour campaign when the winning ad portrayed David Cameron as a very popular figure from cult TV.
* The quote from The People is genuine except it was an attack on Samantha Cameron rather than Sarah Brown. I swapped the names. The hypocrisy of it deserved some scorn.