Simon Schama, on Radio 4’s Point of View, wonders why the revelations of Brown’s outbursts have been exposed in such a dramatic way just before the election.
He lets his imagination run wild:
Brrring brring... Hullo, Mandy? Alistair here. Listen, I hear there are calls for the PM to play nicey-nicey, if he's to have even a snowball's, against Dave?
Cut the scowling and growling right out. Lots of wee bairn kissing. Intensive retraining in smile-technique... And so forth. No, no, Mandy, don't agree with me for god's sake. You know what I think? Codswallop."
Call me a hardened cynic. But...
No Alistair, surely not!
As I was trying to say, call me Machiavelli but what I think the people want, when they get a close look at New Man for PM, is a bit of the Old Man. It's tough out there and no-one trusts a Sauvignon sipper when the going gets rough.
You're a granny, you're worried about your pension or the NHS. Who do you think knows what it's like on a wet morning in Macclesfield waiting for the bus? Smoothie-chops or the Incredible Hulk?
If I catch your drift, Alistair - and of course I may be attributing low tactics to you when none could possibly be intended, and if so I implore your forgiveness on bended knee - are you suggesting that Gordon turn on the rough stuff?
Aren't we the clever clogs? Been at the macchiato again have we? Not a million miles away from what I have in mind - if we want to win the election, that is.
What mood do you think the people who've taken a walloping from the, erm, downturn, are in anyway? Horrible that's what. They want to yell and shout, and throw plates - at the dog.
But they're British remember, and we don't do that. Some clumsy great berk stamps on our feet getting on the train and WE say 'oh.. terribly sorry'. Now what the people are waiting for is someone who'll have a bit of bad temper on their behalf.
I see. The tantrum tactic. Throw a wobbly, put the boot in selected rear ends now and again, and the voters will feel that you care. Very good.
Only problem, dear Alistair, is you know Gordon. He doesn't really do raving lunatic for Britain. Not his style.
Well, time he learned some bad manners. Throw his weight around a bit. Hell, I could give him a few lessons.
But dear Alistair, maybe you don't need to. Maybe, just maybe, there are those out there who feel they have been handled by the PM with - shall we say - something less than kid gloves? And perhaps, they might like to vent a little. For the benefit of the public...?
You wicked old...
Now, now Alistair. Pot calling the kettle macchiato I think.
Right, you've outdone yourself. Let me at it. It's LEAK time. The Campbell is coming, tra-la tra-la. See you, bad boy.
Cheery by, tough stuff. A pleasure doing business with you as always.
It couldn't have been like that could it, fellow-voters? Nah. Perish the thought?
But even if it wasn't, the "boo-hoo he's such a bully, treats people like dirt" tactic of his opponents has misfired.
Note: The BBC spells Campbell’s name incorrectly. Alistair belongs to Darling, who wasn't part of the conversation.