Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Profile of Sarah Brown

The Telegraph has an interesting, positive profile of Sarah Brown, Gordon Brown's wife:

As Mr Brown put it recently: "My wife is from Middle England so I can relate to it."
Mrs Brown, the daughter of a publisher and a teacher who grew up in north London, couldn't be more different from the Liverpudlian actor's daughter, Cherie Blair.

...............Although at 41, Mrs Brown is 10 years younger than Mrs Blair, she is in many ways more traditional. When she got married, she changed her name from Macaulay to Brown and she has given up her career for her husband — dividing her time between charity work and her two sons John and Fraser. "She is more like a Tory wife. She is phenomenally loyal and very professional about her role," says Robert Peston, the author of Brown's Britain.

She will never push her own political views. The MP Geoffrey Robinson says: "She's never jealous of those around him and she's not competitive. She enjoys his ambition rather than feeling threatened by it."

........................For a former public relations executive, Mrs Brown is extraordinarily averse to publicity. She has never been interviewed and does not gossip with journalists at parties, preferring to work behind the scenes. She courts key contacts. She has made friends with Rebekah Wade, the editor of the Sun, and makes sure to keep good relations with Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail.

.....................Those who know the couple well say that Mrs Brown has "civilised" the Chancellor — she has got rid of the fold-up camping chairs in their constituency home and installed a new kitchen. "There are no longer plates in the sink," says Charlie Whelan, the Chancellor's former spin doctor.

The writers Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and JK Rowling are friends. But the Browns are still informal. "Neither of them is a great cook. It tends to be M & S. John's toys are scattered over the floor," says one writer.

....................She has also become a mother figure to the Labour Party. When Robin Cook had his heart attack, it was Mrs Brown who went to comfort Gaynor Cook.

Mr Blunkett came to rely on her while he was fighting for access to see his son, William. "Gordon is incredibly lucky," he says. "She is a huge strength and guide, she provides real stability in this hectic and chaotic environment. She can seem quite cold until you get to know her, but she has been amazingly kind to me."

Her only fault is her aloofness. "She can be intimidating," says a mother who shares a baby her age. "You find yourself babbling, she's so self-controlled."

One of her closest friends says: "She is very aware she will end up in the history books, and she doesn't want to have her head chopped off for getting it all wrong."

Interestingly, the Daily Mail gave Brown's speech positive coverage, with the editorial headlined "Brown offers Britain a Moral Compass", and which went on to say: There is a decency and integrity about Mr Brown that the Mail admires. If he can bring these qualities to government, that can only be a huge improvement on the Blair era of spin, sleaze and cronyism.

It's no secret that The Mail is worried by David Cameron's cocaine/parties/shopping values, and is casting around for alternatives. Perhaps the Browns' traditional Labour values of community and hearth are what they are looking for.


Andrea said...

She looks good from that profile (and others read before).
She looks less potentially OTT than Cherie Blair (which is sometimes a bit gaffe prone)

Crossland said...

Fascinating !
Good to read at the moment as I'm wobbling about GB

crossland said...

Thinking further,
what strikes me at the moment is the 'media' movement against Brown particularly in the Guardian and elements of the broadcast media.
This largely revolves around the 'non labour will not like him' argument.
What you highlight is that in actual fact while a supposedly Pro -labour group of journalists are going cold on him this is not the case in key elements in the neutral or anti labour media .

Under the 'Martin Kettle' radar He may be making headway in crucial 'non labour' media outlets.

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