On 21st May this year, Gordon Brown told the House of Commons that: "it is the tradition that Prime Ministers do not go to by-elections." This, of course, is not true, as it was a tradition Tony Blair did away with. Brown made that comment in response to a question from David Cameron regarding the then upcoming Crewe and Nantwich by-election. In the end, Brown didn't go, Labour lost the seat, etc etc etc...
Today, after sending his wife there last week, Gordon Brown was in Glenrothes campaigning in a by-election. He avoided questions about his motivation, and denied he was showing his desperation by getting involved in the campaign by saying:
"I was here a few weeks ago... I wanted to come and explain to people what we are doing in this global financial crisis to make sure people are properly protected."
The first thing one has to say is, if he's so keen on explaining to people why what he's doing is good for them, why didn't he go to Crewe and Nantwich to explain why abolishing the 10p tax rate and then giving them some of their money back via complicated tax credits was such a great idea?
But it's also very clear that Brown is trying to appear to campaign without actually doing it properly. We all heard about Sarah Brown being guarded by the Praetorian Guard while walking around Glenrothes, but her husband went one step further in terms of being cowardly. According to the Associated Press article, Gordon Brown:
"... met [three] families [for 20 minutes] in a cafe in a car service centre next door to the Labour campaign headquarters on an industrial estate."
So he most likely met sympathetic voters, in a sympathetic setting, away from as much press as possible, and for less than half an hour. What a statesman he is.