The Economist's Bagehot highlights a paradox in the meeja's portrayal of Gordon Brown:
His Scottishness will reinforce the view that, even more than most politicians, Mr Brown is a sort of intellectual Martian. In fact, with his state-school education and up-by-the-bootstraps philosophy, he can arguably claim to have more in common with some of the semi-mythical denizens of Middle England than did suave, metropolitan Mr Blair.
Or, we might add, David Cameron, who has inherited £30 million and got his first job thanks to royal connections.
Which raises the question. Why is Brown so often seen as out of touch with ordinary people whilst Cameron and Blair (who was educated at Fettes where fees are £22,326 a year, equal to median annual earnings (pdf)) are regarded as in touch?
The problem here is not just an idiosyncratic problem with Brown. David Miliband is often described as a geek or swot, despite being one of the most personable men I've ever met. Nor even is it a Labour problem; David Willetts, who went to a direct grant school, is almost always regarded as an out-of-touch intellectual.
So, what's happening here?
One possibility is simply that anyone of above-average intellect will look like a freakish genius next to the average journalist; hey, I owe my livelihood to this trick.
Another is that the public schoolboy media (which includes some bloggers as well as the dead trees) think that intelligent state school people have even less right to be in politics than women.
Another is state school people genuinely are out of touch. To succeed from a modest-to-average background requires unusual drive and intellect. This alone will separate one from average people - which is why success might not be worth pursuing.