Gordon Brown's capacity to shoot himself in the foot seems unending and now he has given a gift to the cartoonists by comparing himself to Heathcliff - the broodsing, romantic anti-hero of Emily Bronte's novel Wuthering Heights. I suppose it's an improvement on Mr Bean.
In a New Statesman interview, the PM was told 'Some women say you remind them of Heathcliff.' He replied, 'Maybe an older Heathcliffe, a wiser Heathcliff.' He also said that, unlike Heathcliff, he did not 'generally' lose his temper.
Note the 'generally'. According to a recent Financial Times feature which portrayed a somewhat terrifying picture of life inside Downing Street, the Prime Minister is prone to 'stapler rage', allegedly throwing the offending machine across the room on one occasion.
In something of an understatement Ann Dinsdale from the Bronte Parsonage Museum said that Heathcliff wass 'not an ideal role model'. In the book the character is an embittered figure who treats others with cruelty and contempt. Indeed, he may have been so psychologically flawed that he killed someone.
Ms Dinsdale commented, 'The thing about Heathcliff is he turned to domestic abuse, possibly committed murder and certainly dug up the remains of his dead lover. Is this the role model we want for our own prime minister?'
Apparently a new film version is on the way, so perhaps Brown could take the part if he leaves Downing Street?
Why does the prime minister give answers of this kind? One theory is that he is very uncomfortable with personal questions.
What literary character does Dave Cameron represent? I would suggest a grown up version of one of Enid Blyton's 'Famous Five'.