Senior Labour party figures are furious with the BBC about the interview that Andrew Marr conducted with the Prime Minister at the start of the Labour Party Conference. In the interview Marr asked Brown whether he was using "prescription painkillers and pills" to help him "get through". The PM and Marr then went on to clash over whether this was a fair line of questioning.
Lord Mandelson has criticised the BBC for "personal intrusiveness" and the Labour Party has lodged a formal complaint. Alistair Campbell attacked Marr for repeating rumours that had previously been confined to the blogosphere - they were originally raised by the Conservative blogger Paul Staines aka. Guido Fawkes. Campbell said on his own blog, " It was low stuff. Everyone... has certain areas of their life that they'd prefer not to be asked about on live TV."
The question that no-one appears to have asked is whether it is of concern to the nation that the man with his finger on the nuclear trigger, the man who can take the country to war (or lead the country out of war) is taking mind-altering medication. Furthermore, does it matter that quite a number of people who are dependent on such medication do appear to have a higher than average chance of plunging into debt at some point?
Perhaps not. Many former world leaders have carried on quite ably for years whilst receiving mood, or mind-altering substances. John F. Kennedy and Adolf Hitler are both known to have led their countries whilst taking amphetamines aka speed. They were both extremely powerful men who had at their disposal 'weapons of mass destruction'. And both carried on leading their respective countries 'under the influence' for years rather than just the months - for which most Doctors hope to prescribe such medication.
In fact both were noted for the successful prosecution of complex and 'mind-blowing' confrontations, that showed cunning, bravado and 'determination'... one of which involved the brutal domination of much of Europe, the other that took the world to the brink of thermonuclear war better known as 'the Cuba Missile Crisis'.