smile…. though your heart is aching


As far as the fortunes of two Prime Ministers are concerned, I don’t think Nat King Cole could have phrased it any better. Take poor old Silvio. All he does – allegedly – is have countless affairs and very public dalliances over the years with a succession of very pretty young girls, buy them trinkets and turn up to their 18th birthday parties (having failed to attend any of his own children’s 18ths) in Napoli (he was just passing by) and appoint them to senior positions in his Government. And what happens? His exasperated, long-suffering and no doubt humiliated  wife Veronica only goes and calls the media (the one bit not controlled by her husband) and publicly demands a divorce. Who’da thunk it?  

The old goat’s blaming the political opposition for goading and misleading his poor wife. It’s a line of defence Silvio but I reckon the very lovely Veronica has been biding her  time and now feels confident at liberating a huge slice of his £6Bn fortune as pay-back for all that amore in the doorway. It could be big coglioni time  Silvio so just smile….. even though it’s (ball) breaking.

That’s one of the fascinating things about life in Italy; the Prime Minister is such a dramatic, colourful, larger-than-life personality. And then there’s his UK counterpart, Gordon Brown, whose name is never likely to appear in the same sentence as the words charismatic, lothario, hair implants, flirtations, showgirls and fake tan – except here. Bless him. Good old Gord is just so reliably dour, wooden and serious. And of course deep – as in the mire. Even his cabinet colleagues have been out this weekend lambasting him for his lamentable performance. The fact that it was tiny little Hazel Blears doing the attacking says a lot about his rapidly diminuishing authority and respect from within the Party. I’m not sure she’ll get the Foreign Office  post in the next Cabinet shuffle though she may well be offered the ambassador’s job in Afghanistan, methinks. Mind you if she’d been in Silvio’s cabinet she’d be swimming with the minnows by now.

But Gordon’s not taking it lying down. His closest advisors have come up with a cunning plan to arrest his falling popularity. The big idea is to pump out lots of footage of the all new Gordon Brown-lite using that trendy new thingy  media You Tube. I guess the logic was that if it could make the hairy angel Susuan Boyle a universal phenomena then it should make hoary Gordon a liitle more popular. Umm.

The first phase was delivered last week with a truly wonderful video explaining how Gordon intends to tackle the problem of MP’s expenses. It’s obviously a highly contentious and serious issue so just when he needed to put all that Gordon gravitas to good use he decides to take on board the most ridiculous advice and tries to present a warmer fun-boy side to his personality.

Let’s be honest, he doesn’t really have one and the outcome is what follows below. It’s clear that the producer is behind the camera mouthing instructions to ‘smile a bit  Gordon’. He tries but he can’t do Tony and he simply looks like he’s just cacked his pants. What’s more he can’t sustain the look for more than a few seconds so every half-minute or so he seems to get another ‘for jeez sake smile Gord’ prod. Check it out. And just watch out for the bit about 14 seconds in when he’s obviously been given the direction to ‘be more animated Gordon’ and he just kind of jiggles like a coy schoolgirl at her first dance (or Silvio on a first date). Enjoy:

Ah now isn’t that a sincere and welcome change? Happy smiley Gordy. Well just in case that ploy fails to win over a wavering nation then phase 2 was launched last night  with a party political broadcast from New Labour featuring lots of shots of Gordon doing important stuff like signing papers, striding purposefully, standing at a podium addressing an unseen audience, listening intently with hands clasped as well as warmer shots of new Gordon-lite talking to schoolkids, walking around factories and shaking hands with people whilst offering his cacked-pants smile.

There’s a nice section where he’s seen leading from the front at the G20 summit (‘held here in London’ in case we’d forgotten that momentous occasion from a few short weeks ago) which cuts to images of him with the dazzling new US President and overdubbed with Gordon saying something all apple-pie like ‘Barack Obama and I share the same values’. I guess we’re supposed to think that Bazza and Gordy are really best mates and young impressionable Barack looks up to wise old Gordon and follows his every word (as we all should no doubt).  It’s like a script from Thomas the Tank Engine (which could explain why John Prescott, the original Fat Controller, was out lobbying on behalf of the PM over the w/e).  If you didn’t see it, here it is:

I’m not sure what the political context was to be honest; I think it was something to do with the upcoming European elections but it was a bold move to focus just on the PM at this time. I guess if you were a member of New Labour you might have looked at that broadcast last night and heard  Nat King Cole singing gently in the background:

When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you. 



ps. I know, you’re probably thinking that it’s a bit rich for me to criticise the woodenness of GB’s performance in front of the camera given my own dazzling appearance on you tube recently – as seen in the last-but-one posting (‘and now for something different’).  My wife reckoned I looked like a child molester in it. She may have a point…. But I didn’t have a pro film crew and equipment, nor a prepared script and it had to be done in one take, single-handed and off-the-cuff. Unfortunately I can’t help the way I look. But I’ll apologise unreservedly  if the smile on my face looked as natural as Gordon’s.


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