Friday's Times featured an op ed. article questioning the abuse that politicians are receiving from the press and the public at large. Focusing on the recent turn against Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the piece suggests that the current abuse is now more vitriolic than in the past and is indicative of the bad character of the people making such judgements.
On the first point, the criticism of Gordon Brown is nothing new. Public figures have always come under intense criticism deep into the annals of history as well as in more recent history. For welfare loving socialists, Margaret Thatcher was, for instance, the devil incarnate. John Major was mocked mercilessly. Now it is Gordon Brown's turn.
The press and public work symbiotically in developing a personal dislike of for a leader. After all, those in the press are members of the public too. Criticism for Brown is near unanimous across the press only because it is so across the public at large. That's why there is a good chance that the traditional Labour supporters of Crewe and Nantwich will likely vote against their Party.
The vitriolic attacks would certainly not be so harsh if the public felt at ease with Brown at the helm of the country. Regardless, the freedom to criticise those that control our lives is a vital part of living in a free society. As Winston Churchill rightly pronounced:
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.