A few years ago, I ran little software company in Fife. My office was next to Gordon Brown’s constituency office. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, he was legislating against small companies like mine by introducing the IR35 legislation. I lobbied against it and met him, as my representative at the time, on more than one occasion to press my case. I lost the argument.

A little while later, Gordon and his wife, Sarah, lost their first child, Jennifer. I offered my condolences and helped his office deal with the large number of similar messages from the people. In 2003, facing insolvency, I closed the business down and took a year out of the workforce to re-qualify as a teacher. During this year, I struggled with debts, and one particular month, was unable to pay my rent and was afraid I would not be able to stay at university. When Gordon Brown heard about this from his staff, he sent me a personal cheque for the rent. Unsolicited.

Since then, I have recovered my solvency and am enjoying public service in secondary education. Gordon Brown has refused repayment of the help he gave me in 2003.

It is a pity he is painted so blackly this week, after a private remark was made public. I am thankful there are no media microphones in the staffrooms. Teachers might come across as child-hating, contemptuous and arrogant middle-class snobs, judged by the words vented over a coffee after a run of difficult and challenging childrens’ behaviour.

I’m not voting for Gordon Brown: he’s not my representative. I am, however, voting the way I think is the democratic way: I am voting for the local man who does a good job representing the people of my home town. He’s a Liberal Democrat, as it happens. Would I vote for Gordon Brown if he were my representative? Yes, of course. He is a good man.

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