It is irregular theatregoers who are likely to be so captivated by the spectacle of theatre that they praise a production the rest of us regard as a bit duff; likewise, in my youth, an acquaintance who went to just one rock concert was convinced that the group he saw were so superlatively talented that all else could be disregarded. This sort of irrational enthusiasm is always a little embarrassing when encountered in someone that one knows. In a Prime Minister, it warns of a dangerously unbalanced sense of judgement.
Gordon Brown must have become so conditioned to failure in his life that contact with success has induced a sort of hysterical irrationality. Like the rest of the nation, I am revelling in our haul of medals. I quietly expect the next New Year's honours list to include a small clutch of MBEs and OBEs for our Olympians. But for the Prime Minister like some pub bore to publicly proclaim that the Queen should shower our contestants with honours strikes a psychologically discordant note.
Even more disturbing is his odious comparison of our athletes with our soldiers in Afghanistan. One risks a hamstring injury in pursuit of sporting glory, the other his or her life in service to their country. There is no rational parallel. It is symptomatic of Brown's rather jejune irrationality that he should imagine there is some equivalence.
It is indeed confirmation, if any were needed, of the third-rate nature of Brown's intellect and of his inability to think the right thoughts at the right time. In a pub bore such traits are tolerable; in a Prime Minister they are deeply disturbing.