Comments:Minor tears found in Gordon Brown's retina

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The tears discovered in Gordon Brown’s retina should not, in themselves, be a hindrance to his continuing in office until the next election. He has lived with deteriorating eyesight for most of his adult life and has access to the best treatment the NHS can provide.

The real question hanging over him relates to the rumours regarding his mental suitability for high office that have dogged Brown since he became Prime Minister.

His frequently haggard appearance, notoriously short fuse, demonstrated most recently when he stormed out of an interview with Sky’s Adam Boulton and the rumour the he is taking antidepressants alluded to in a television interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr all suggest Brown is struggling to cope with the pressures of his job.

This, more that anything else, throws into sharp perspective the lack of wisdom in allowing Brown to be ‘crowned’ as Labour leader and Prime Minister in 2007, a leadership contest fought between Brown and one or more serious contenders would have exposed the strengths and weaknesses of all the participants allowing party members to make a choice based on the evidence as they understood it, not to have the decision handed to them as a done deal.

That might not have helped Labour to avoid the troubles that now beset them, but it would, at least, have lessened the chance of a decent but fatally flawed man being appointed to a role he is not suited for with disastrous consequences for his party and country.