Could the politics now become less personal?
Will we see a new relationship between Dave and Gord?
If it had not been postponed because of yesterday’s tragic death David Cameron and Gordon Brown would have been meeting later today at Number 10 for the formal unveiling of a portrait of the last Tory PM but one.
The organisation of this event had been marked by extraordinary bickering and an apparent effort by Brown first not to have Cameron there at all and then, once that became impossible, to have the opposition leader coming into the building by the back door.
For the past two years has been characterised by an extraordinary personal animosity between Brown and Cameron which has seen the two men hardly ever having a conversation and the PM, in particular, going to incredible lengths to avoid the customary courtesies between PM and opposition leader. Thus little things like the customary civil service briefings for the man who could be be his successor have been help up and then offered begrudgingly.
There have been times when it’s appeared that the sole purpose of Brown’s strategy has been to get one over on someone whom he despises. This has had negative consequences. Would the 10p tax fiasco last year have happened if Brown had not sought to pull a fast one on Cameron in his March 2007 budget speech?
All of this background made yesterday’s short statement by Brown even more moving and more dramatic. How can normal hostilities be resumed in the old way after this?
And if this does indeed mark a change in their relationship what could it do to the coming election battle?