Over this past week many tears have been publicly shed. All, no doubt, reflected genuine private grief. But all with political gain in mind.
The belligerent Alastair Campbell shed his over harsh words aimed at Tony Blair, hoping one assumes to dilute criticism at the Iraq enquiry. Jacques Rogge’s tears at the opening ceremony were followed by assigning all blame to the athlete who died and none to the Canadian organisers (who later did make the run safer).
Then, we had an interview with David Cameron getting his tears out just ahead of the week’s main cri de coeur with Gordon Brown talking to Piers Morgan. Genuine expressions of emotion, but in response to questions publicly orchestrated.
As the live TV debate looms, both appreciate that it is not their policies which will determine the viewers’ response. It is their personalities, or rather their public personae that will strike an emotional chord, or not.
Of the three contestants Nick Clegg has more natural empathy and nothing to lose so will probably perform best. Cameron is the polished communicator but has never reached the heights of his leadership winning speech in Backpool. He needs to offset his ‘slick salesmen’ image (56% agree) with real warmth.
Brown until now has not attempted to let his more human side interfere with getting his convictions across. In the three way debate, with the benefit of the warm-up with Piers, it will be interesting to see if he lets his emotions show.
If any of them sheds a tear then, as a woman interviewee on the One Show said about men who cry, “…. sweet, it brings out the mothering instincts!”