When politicians run out of excuses or become short of something to say, they tend to get emotional. Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, however, takes this to another level in this month’s Total Politics, when he tells Caroline Crampton:
"I cry at the Antiques Roadshow. You know, when someone comes in with some family heirloom… Incredibly emotional.”
The Right Honourable Ed Balls MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Balls is a man who is meant to be leading the Official Opposition’s attack upon Her Majesty’s Government but here, it seems, instead is a sobbing wreck who instead spends too much time getting upset about antiquities.
In A Journey, Tony Blair branded Gordon Brown a “man of zero emotional intelligence” with “no feelings” and it is certainly true that there is room for sadness in politics as there is elation. Blair himself is said to have cried when he heard of the death of Dr David Kelly but true leaders like Winston Churchill, despite many a “black dog” moment, never saw the need to publicly show his feelings and just got on with the job in hand.
Time magazine's March 2007 "How The Right Went Wrong" cover
A 2007 Time magazine cover showed Ronald Reagan with a single tear on his cheek. Though photoshopped, this image truly captured the spirit of what the magazine termed “How The Right Went Wrong” as much as did Margaret Thatcher’s tearful exit from Downing Street in 1990. The end of the careers of these two magnificent leaders was certainly something that rightly many got equally emotional about.
Margaret Thatcher's tearful departure from Downing Street
Harold MacMillan once argued that there was “no use crying over spilt summits” and politicians today should spare their emotions for truly upsetting incidents such as the ongoing deaths of our troops in Afghanistan. Ed Balls, though, on the other hand, ought to stop blubbing in front of the telly: If he doesn’t, his reputation as Labour’s “attack dog” will well and truly be confined to the gutter.
Read Total Politics’ interview with Ed Balls at: http://www.totalpolitics.com/blog/276492/ed-balls-on-growth-credibility-and-getting-emotional.thtml