by Stephen Tall on November 9, 2009
2 Big Stories
Brown apologises for mis-spellings in condolence letter
Here’s a deeply uncomfortable story to start the week:
Downing Street has defended the way the prime minister writes to bereaved families after a dead soldier’s mother said Gordon Brown misspelled his name. Guardsman Jamie Janes, 20, from Brighton, East Sussex, was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan in October.
The Sun newspaper said his mother Jacqui had described Gordon Brown’s letter as a “hastily scrawled insult”. Mr Brown has personally contacted Mrs Janes to assure her he did not mean any offence. In a statement, Number 10 said the prime minister “would never knowingly misspell anyone’s name”. Mr Brown has previously admitted problems with his eyesight after a childhood rugby injury.
Sky News has produced an image from the letter for you to judge for yourselves. On the one hand, then, we have a grieving mother upset at what she sees as an insult; on the other, we have a partially sighted Prime Minister with famously bad handwriting. It’s hard not to feel sympathy on boths sides. But I can’t help wondering how many parents will look at the letter, and realise the wording is identical to the one they received from the Prime Minister? Such are the risks you run with the personal touch.
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