Listen very hard, and believe me you did have to listen very hard, and you could just catch the sound of a new improved Gordon Brown today. The prime minister took to the sofa of ITV's This Morning programme to be patronised by Fern. She opened the interview by telling her guest, "It's an opportunity for you to be human". Resisting what must have been the overwhelming temptation to tell her where to get off, the prime minister proceeded to try to do just that.
Much of the content was familiar but the tone was very different and there was one glaring change. Albeit looking awkward, Gordon Brown did what he does all the time in private but loathes to do in public. He talked about his children and in particular his son Fraser who has cystic fibroses. He talked about the struggle of bringing up two healthy children.
In recent days, after suffering the indignity of being asked about being strange and being invited to be human, the prime minister is trying to do something that the self-confessed private man has resisted all his life. Opening up.
UPDATE, 04:00PM: Interesting news. Far from wanting to discuss his family, in particular his son Fraser's cystic fibrosis, Gordon Brown thought that there was an agreement that he would not be asked such questions. Indeed, reports reach me of furious members of Team Brown complaining that the pre-interview agreement had been broken. So, no new strategy involving talking about the kids apparently.