Leading article: Public and private grief

Monday 15 February 2010 01:00

It's the eternal question: who benefits? Piers Morgan, obviously, who has moved effortlessly from newspaper editor to big-time interviewer. TV executives, for whom emoting equals ratings. And we, the viewers, perhaps, if we have a masochistic or voyeuristic streak. But things have reached a pretty pass when anyone aspiring to high office seems obliged to show a "softer" side by openly choking up.

Both Gordon Brown and David Cameron have suffered family tragedies that are unusual in this day and age. Grief at the loss of a child should not be trivialised or ignored, but nor should reluctance to mourn in public be denounced as a defect of personality. Mr Brown once said he couldn't stand "all this touchy-feely stuff", and that rang true. In family matters such as these, even politicians are entitled to a private life. What convinces is not touchy-feely over strong and silent, but authenticity. We want to know who it is we are electing.

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