Over in Daily Mail land, Amanda Platell, is having an all too rare outbreak of compassionate conservatism…

However brave a face they have shown in public, it must have been devastating for Gordon and Sarah Brown to learn that their third child Fraser has cystic fibrosis.

Knowing the eternal pain of losing baby Jennifer Jane after just ten days, they now face a lifetime of special care for their beautiful new baby.

Ahhh. That’s very sweet of you Amanda. But hark, there’s more…

But the incredible emotional burden on both parents, especially Sarah, is inestimable. And despite the optimistic, almost heroic way the Browns are dealing with their son’s condition, it does affect their future.

The job of Chancellor is demanding enough, but it is dwarfed by the responsibilities of being Prime Minister.

If, as seems almost certain, Mr Brown is offered the premiership early next year, his new duties will require him to be out of the country for four to five days a month, leaving Sarah alone to care for their two sons. That would place an intolerable strain on any family.

Can you guess where this going, yet..?

There can be no doubt that Gordon Brown has the qualities required to be a fine PM. He is already a big man. But he would be an even bigger man if he stepped aside now.

I realise it’s unlikely for a man like Gordon. But I, for one, would have the greatest respect for a father who chose to devote himself to his family, not his country.

I know which needs him more.

But, hang on there Amanda. Isn’t there someone else seeking the highest office of land who also has a profoundly disabled child?

Yes, I know David Cameron seems able to handle his parliamentary duties as well as coping with his profoundly handicapped son, Ivan. But the job of Leader of the Opposition is nothing like as demanding as being PM. 

So what? You think that if the Tories win the next election, Dave should immediately stand down as Conservative leader to spend more time with his family?


Didn’t think so?

There’s a word for this, coined by one of Cameron’s predecessors, and it not compassion.


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