We may be used to an amoral, cynical and manipulative press, but the Sun newspaper continues to push the boundaries ever further out. The story about grieving mother Mrs. Janes, and the Gordon Brown letter, represent yet another of its many low points. As has been blogged on other sites, there is a legitimate political story about the lack of equipment being given to soldiers, which was a contributing factor to the death of Mrs. Janes' son. If the government is not properly protecting its own soldiers, then it should clearly be answerable.
On the other hand, to lay in so heavily to Gordon Brown for his handwriting, and to connive at the publicising of a private phone conversation made by him, seems to reach the pits of reprehensible journalism. Mrs. Janes' desire to attack the man she clearly sees as being responsible for her son's death is understandable, given the trauma she must be going through, even if it seems unfair to the prime minister. For the Sun to play along, however, is an acknowledgement that it is motivated by the deepest form of callous cynicism, and should stand as a warning to any wise politician to steer well clear of its poisonous embrace. David Cameron should not be welcoming the support of this paper. As he watches its merciless campaign against a man and government it once lauded, and sees its tactics illuminated so clearly in the bright light of its current determination to milk the grief of a human being as much as possible, he should be determining that he at least will deal with it in the way one might reserve for an angry scorpion. Only then might he have a chance of remaining unscathed when, as it surely will, it flails around towards him in turn.
PS: David Cameron might do well to reflect on a story which former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie dined out on for years, but which his victim, then PM John Major, claims never actually happened. MacKenzie reckoned that he once rang Major to say "I have a bucket of shit on my desk, and tomorrow I'm gonna pour it all over your head." Charming man really, and his successors share his delicacy!