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Moments like these

Betsan Powys | 17:16 UK time, Wednesday, 28 April 2010

prescottegg.JPG"Moments" that mark campaigns.

Back in May 2001 John Prescott can't have expected his visit to Rhyl to create much of a stir. Coverage in the Daily Post and the Western Mail perhaps and a slot on that evening's news bulletins. Then he threw a punch at a farmhand from Llandyrnog and launched a thousand column inches.

Gordon Brown's "moment" in Rochdale, or so a lifelong and high profile Labour supporter has just admitted on Radio Cymru, is so much worse. Just when Labour's campaign needed to step up a gear Gordon Brown has had to take a huge step back. Now, said Sir Deian Hopkin, "this rather dark man" as Mr Brown has been described, has to spend the rest of the campaign clawing back all those votes he flung away today.

Why is it so much worse?

Because John Prescott was the deputy. Gordon Brown is the boss.

Because the punch thrown in Rhyl confirmed the view of Mr Prescott as a bit of a bruiser who felt things passionately. The comments made in Rochdale confirm the view of Gordon Brown as a man who is not kind if he's challenged, who loses it when we're not watching.

Because when the story has blown over, the gut feeling will remain: the Prime Minister really is one man in public and another behind closed doors.

And because after months of headlines about expenses and revelations that have eroded faith in politicians and after months of politicians doing their best to regain that trust, Mr Brown will have just confirmed for many that they were right to be cynical.

Perhaps the Prime Minister will wait until he sees tomorrow morning's headlines before deciding whether he was spot on when he described today's moment as a disaster.


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