Alex Massie

Sarah Brown emulates Sarah Palin

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Campaigning is underway in the Glenrothes by-election. Yesterday Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister's wife, made her election debut, knocking on doors in, of all places, bonny Cardenden. How did that go? Not so well, it seems. My friend Stephen McGinty has a fine, entertaining account in today's Scotsman:

SHE was supposed to be Labour's secret weapon, but Sarah Brown ended up being so "secret" yesterday that no-one from the press was allowed to ask her any questions.

It was clear from the moment she arrived in Cardenden to campaign on behalf of the Labour Party that she was not there to speak to the ordinary members of the public. The Prime Minister's wife was instead there to be seen to speak to ordinary members of the public...

During her 30-minute walkabout, she spoke exactly nine words to the press pack that included three camera crews, seven photographers and a dozen reporters. "I'm very pleased to be supporting Lindsay Roy today," she said with a weak smile that quickly curled into a grimace...

HOWEVER, when television reporters tried to do pieces to camera with the Prime Minister's wife in the background, the Labour Party people tried to hustle them out the way. "Move the camera – move the camera. Get the camera off the pavement. You have to let her pass," they said.

Journalists who then found themselves walking beside Mrs Brown struggled to avoid being tripped up as party members muscled in, trying to form a protective phalanx.

Then came the most extraordinary piece of control freakery of the day. "I want you guys on the green," said the man from the Labour Party. "There will be six or seven guys with guns who will keep you away from her. You may be shot and then it won't be my problem."

Good stuff, this. Reporting that, you know, actually reports what happened and doesn't agree to play the game by the politicians' rules. Clearly, this applies beyond the Kingdom of Fife too. So: a modest success for once.

[Via SNP Tactical Voting]

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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