When grown men cry
The political event of the morning, without doubt, is George Osborne being caught on camera with a tear stain down his cheek. It changes our view of the Chancellor, who was previously thought to have an emotional make up approximate to that of Count Dracula’s, and will do his reputation no harm.
Crying in public does not always work for politicians. It did the ultimate leader of the short lived Social Democratic Party, Bob Maclennan, no good that he wept as his party disintegrated. Rather, it turned ‘Blubbering Bob’ into an object of ridicule.
But that was because he was not a strong leader in the first place, and those tears only emphasised in his weakness. It did not harm Margaret Thatcher’s reputation that she wept when her son, Mark, was lost in the Sahara, or as she was ejected from Downing Street, because her reputation as the Iron Lady was well enough established to survive a tear or two. Similarly, it did Australia’s strong leader, Bob Hawke, no harm to weep on television when he talked about his daughter’s heroin addiction.
Tears even made money for the late Robert Maxwell when he was suing Private Eye for libel, because it emphasised for the benefit of the jury that this was a litigant who lost family members in the Holocaust. He bragged afterwards about how he had turned on the tears at will.
There must have been a time in history when professional sportsmen did not cry, but now it is almost mandatory. David Beckham, Paul Gascoigne, John Terry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Andrew Agassi, Pete Sampras, Tiger Woods – every one a sporting hero, every one cry baby.
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