Leader comment: No need for Gordon Brown to apologise for being serious

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is not exactly a politician made for the Twitter age. A dour intellectual, sometime awkward in the company of others, Mr Brown could never quite do 'touchy-feely' the way other political leaders can.

Gordon Brown was a serious politician who dealt with serious issues, and seemed from another age now that we live in the social media era.

Critics from within Labour often cite the former PM’s temperament for their loss of the 2010 election.

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In a new book – My Life, Our Times – published next week, Mr Brown admits that, as PM, he was uncomfortable with the modern vogue for politicians to connect with voters through public displays of emotion.

Though it is just seven years since Mr Brown left Downing Street, British politics has changed radically. A new generation of campaigners seems sometime to value the volume of their leaders’ anger over the quality of their arguments.

Mr Brown had many flaws as a leader but even his critics recognised in him a sincerity about his political mission. Now, with social media dominating our discourse, he appears like a figure from a forgotten age. He might not have been king of the selfie but he was a serious politician dealing with serious matters. That, when all is said and done, is more important than any number of “likes” on Facebook.