Friday, 11 July 2008

The Perfect Heathcliff

Richard Wilcocks writes:

I'm starting to feel sorry for Gordon Brown, after, I admit, a few sniggers yesterday. I travelled down to London at an unearthly hour yesterday morning, so missed out on the Radio 4 Today programme and the morning papers. I have now caught up, thanks largely to exhaustive coverage of the matter on Brontë Blog.

Andrew McCarthy (Parsonage Acting Director) said all the right things, of course, as did Juliet Barker (hear her again online at the BBC) we really want a man who identifies with a character who hangs dogs as PM? It's an amusing parlour game, I suppose. Which character in fiction most resembles (insert name here)? It's a parlour game played by point-scoring politicians as much as by journalists who would have us believe that they have actually read Wuthering Heights rather than just seen the film or the synopsis on Wikipedia. Mind you, I'm not sure whether Gordon Brown has read the book or what did he actually say in the New Statesman?

Not very much, it seems. Thanks again to Brontë Blog for quoting this from the NS:

Heathcliff? Absolutely

Most observers agree the Prime Minister has improved at the despatch box after being mauled by David Cameron early on. But Brown remains an unsympathetic figure in the eyes of the electorate. His advisers may have tried to turn his brooding seriousness into an electoral asset, but they must secretly hope he would share more private moments with the public, which seems to have decided that he lacks warmth.

There is a human side to Gordon. He may be uncomfortable talking about himself, but on the train home our conversation is punctuated with laughter, and most of it is neither nervous nor insincere.

Is he a romantic? I ask. "Ask Sarah," he chuckles. Some women say you remind them of Heathcliff, I suggest. Brown is, after all, brooding and intense. "Absolutely correct," he jokes. "Well, maybe an older Heathcliff, a wiser Heathcliff." (Gloria di Piero)

So Gordon Brown chuckled. He was picturing in his mind some of the women who thought he reminded them of Heathcliff, no doubt. He was recognizing the ludicrous nature of the comparison. After all, he doesn't look at all like Sir Laurence Olivier. You don't find women like that everywhere! What else could he have said other than what he did say?

I think he has a hidden witty side, a dry sense of humour, perhaps.

The publicity people at Birmingham Rep have moved swiftly. There is now a site devoted to windswept Gordon here. You can add your comment if you want.

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