Once started, death by a thousand cuts may come to a man in many and varied ways. Vince Cable took the first slice with his notable sally at Gordon Brown to the effect that he had made the transition from Stalin to Mr. Bean, which palpably wounded the Prime Minister. In ridicule there is slow poison.

Being the object of contemptuous ridicule is the very devil to get rid of, for once people have a taste for it they will not easily be deflected from its deployment. Blair had a very thick skin indeed and never once succumbed to it, though harsh and contemptuous words, almost all highly merited, were flung his way,

For Brown the story will, I believe, be different. So here is one of the cuts which takes a slice from his hide, culled from Nick Robinson, which tells us so much about this deeply unlovely man:

Talking of Gordon…

My favourite story of the week comes from the studios of David Bailey where the daddy of all photographers was taking pictures of the PM for the magazine GQ. “Do you use ever use digital instead of film?” asked Brown’s right hand woman Sue Nye. “Nah” drawled Bailey “digital’s like socialism – it flattens everything out and makes everything the same”. Bailey’s laughter at his own joke was met, I’m told, by an explanation that that’s not really what socialism was…

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