Martin Bright

What Do We Know?

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I had the pleasure of guesting on Jon Pienaar's political podcast yesterday. Inevitably we ended up talking about the death of Ivan Cameron and found ourselves lost for words. But Jon made a very interesting point. He noted that the story showed how little we really know about the lives of our prominent politicians, however much we might think they are public property.

We talked about whether this tragedy will change the way we do politics in this country and decided that it probably won't. Jon raised the example of the death of Labour leader John Smith, when everyone thought everything would change and nothing did.

But I think something has changed in the public perception of David Cameron. No one can really argue that he pushed his family too much into the limelight, or used them to further his political career now we understand a little more about the life the family led in order to adapt to Ivan's severe disabilities.

For me it has reinforced the feeling that political journalists should boast a little less about how well they know politicians ("a senior source told me this" or "over lunch a Cabinet figure told me that"). We really just scrape the surface (when we are not dragging the depths).