Daily View 2×2: 9 November 2009

2 Big Stories

Brown apologises for mis-spellings in condolence letter

Here’s a deeply uncomfortable story to start the week:

Downing Street has defended the way the prime minister writes to bereaved families after a dead soldier’s mother said Gordon Brown misspelled his name. Guardsman Jamie Janes, 20, from Brighton, East Sussex, was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan in October.

The Sun newspaper said his mother Jacqui had described Gordon Brown’s letter as a “hastily scrawled insult”. Mr Brown has personally contacted Mrs Janes to assure her he did not mean any offence. In a statement, Number 10 said the prime minister “would never knowingly misspell anyone’s name”. Mr Brown has previously admitted problems with his eyesight after a childhood rugby injury.

Sky News has produced an image from the letter for you to judge for yourselves. On the one hand, then, we have a grieving mother upset at what she sees as an insult; on the other, we have a partially sighted Prime Minister with famously bad handwriting. It’s hard not to feel sympathy on boths sides. But I can’t help wondering how many parents will look at the letter, and realise the wording is identical to the one they received from the Prime Minister? Such are the risks you run with the personal touch.

20 years ago today

2 Must-Read Blog-Posts


Remembrance Sunday
(Richard Baum)

It is heartening to know that so many people come to pay their respects to the fallen, and to think of those whose sacrifices have gone before and continue right now protecting this country and our way of life. We remember.

Redesigned Liberal Democrat site (Simon Goldie)

… with some tinkering here and there, the Lib Dems will be on their way to competing with the Conservatives, if not electorally at least in the website design wars.

Read more by .
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4 Comments

  • I have to say I actually feel somewhat sorry for Gordon Brown after this weekend. This letter story and the claims that he didn’t show respect at the Act of Rembrance just seem petty and milicious. Gordon Browns wreath laying looked didn’t look much different to the way that all the other politicians and High Commissioners did it to me.

    The only thing I noticed was that Tony Blair and John Major seemed to be much better at singing “God our help in ages past” than the current group of party leaders.

  • Presumably if Gordon Brown had typed the letter to the families of veterans he would currently be being pilloried for having typed the letter and not sent a hand written one.

  • FFS what do you expect from the Sun. And why are you reposting this sort of reactionary crap anyway. The Murdoch press wouldn’t know decency & truth if it tripped over it.

  • Personally I do blame Brown, not for his mis-spellings but for the fact that we are still embroiled in this unwinnable war, mainly because withdrawing now would be accepting the mission in Afghanistan has failed. Something neither Labour or the Tories are prepared to admit ahead of the General Election.

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