Poor old Gordon. He can’t even smile properly.
Tio posted a comment down below drawing attention to his fake smile; his Bala Fria blog has a montage of Gordon’s most rictus-like grins.
Yeah – it’s as fake as anything. But there’s a reason for this.
Most people know that when Brown was sixteen he detached the retina in both eyes playing rugby, giving him the gargoyle squint we know and love today. Not everyone appears to know, however, that one of the four operations to try and restore his sight was botched, permanently affecting the nervous system in his face. After the operation, Gordon’s smile no longer triggered the appropriate facial muscles. Quite simply: he can’t smile.
As Jonathan Freedland notes in the NYRB, we have exchanged “a prime minister who smiled all the time to a prime minister who cannot smile naturally at all”.