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The 'special partnership'

Nick Robinson | 08:50 UK time, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

"I'm just doing my job."

That's the prime minister's response to those who suggest he's come to Washington to get a sprinkling of the magic dust that surrounds the new president.

Gordon BrownGordon Brown is naturally delighted to be the first European leader to be granted access to the White House though Japan's Prime Minister won the race to be first into the Oval Office.

His policy objective is to secure President Obama's engagement in developing what he's dubbed "a global new deal" to combat the threat of depression. So far, his officials say, the new team at the White House has been too busy developing domestic policy to worry much about British ideas for an international economic plan to be unveiled at the London meeting of world leaders in April.

The Brown plan involves cross border co-operation on financial regulation, the closing of tax havens and the reform of financial institutions like the IMF. In short, they'll involve America ceding more power to the developing economies and allowing others to raise questions about the behaviour of Wall Street institutions. It's not yet clear if the Obama administration is ready for that.

Today's meeting is brief - just half an hour followed by a working lunch with officials. On landing in Washington we learnt that there is to be no formal news conference. Questions will be taken by the leaders in the Oval Office - perhaps, rather oddly, at the beginning of it.

What, if anything, does that tell us?

Old Washington hands say that the new administration is still bedding in. When you ask what the administration's policy is on the world trade talks you discover that they have yet to have their trade negotiator approved by Congress. So far, the president has only had one news conference since taking office.

Obama's focus is still on the domestic. Tomorrow's presidential schedule includes visits to the Departments of the Interior and Transportation. Oh, and the Boy Scouts of America are visiting the Oval Office.

Tony Blair and George Bush in Camp David, 2001"Finally it tells us that today's meeting cannot be the equivalent of the Camp David "Colgate moment" at which Bush & Blair bonded. It is just a first step, albeit a significant one, in establishing what the White House now likes to call the 'special partnership' between Britain and America.

PS By a happy coincidence today's talks at the White House coincides with the broadcast of my Radio 4 programme on the Prime Minister who lost America - Lord North. The message telling him that he'd lost the battle of Yorktown and, with it, a continent took 5 weeks to reach Downing Street.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Travels all that way for 30 minutes of "stardust". About the same time as the President spends with his hairdresser. It might have been better to wait until he had something of substance to discuss. Like Tony Blair his commitment to Global warming is never affects his personal behaviour. Charter a 777 for a quick photo opportunity with the stars.

  • Comment number 3.

    I understand that the President has a pressing engagement with the Boy Scouts.

  • Comment number 4.

    Some suggetions for question time prior to that half hour meeting:

    -for Brown: what about subletting that constituency office?

    -for Obama: why he thinks that the US made UK banks sell 125% UK mortgages to UK customers (since it's all the US's fault)

    -for Obama again: why he thinks the US made Brown run a budget deficit when the economy was growing above trend prior to the crisis (again, since it's all the US's fault)

    -and now the serious one for both: will they refrain from leaning on their central banks to run with very accomodating policies when inflation at some stage picks up again since inflation will help reduce the debt to GDP ratio (and politicians pensions are indexed).

    PS Who will put that pathetic hand on the other guy's shoulder, the ultimate cringe gesture that polticians now so often make to try convey they are all in control.


  • Comment number 5.

    Gordon Brown's sole aim in this trip is for his own political benefit.

    He doesn't care one iota about the British people. Why should he? He wasn't even elected by us. A total disgrace. This man has left Britian the worst prepared nation to deal with the recession. And now he thinks he can fool us by getting some sort of endorsement by Obama. How pathetic

  • Comment number 6.

    Did Churchill sublet his constituency office?

    Did Chuchill one year write in a newpaper about sterling and a later year rubbish an MP from the opposition discussing the fall of sterling?

    Did Churchill one year say he would resist a paneuropean financial regulator and only 2 years later say that he has been arguing for more heavy-handed regulation in the past ten years?

    I haven't read Churchill's bios, but I'm surprised if he made as many 180s (or u-turns) in his life as Brown already has.

  • Comment number 7.

    Gordon Brown has half an hour to explain the collpase in his domestic poll ratings to a newly elected President...

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tories-most-trusted-with-economy-1635888.html

    Does anyone really believe Obama gives a monkey's about Gordon Brown?

    Call an election

  • Comment number 8.

    That photographer got himself a great shot (see above).

    So Brown needs the make-up artist following a flight to the states coming from the east. That tells you a lot about his fitness since it tends to be less tiring to fly along with the sun than against it. The make-up artist also tells you a lot about the spin machine working at full pelt and about Brown's vanity.

    Mr Robinson, were the reporters from the UK allowed to watch the papering of the cracks, or did you receive similar treatment on the aircraft?

  • Comment number 9.

    This may be a "Brownie" point for Downing Street which they hope will revive Brown's flagging popularity but apparently the American press don't even mention the Brown visit.

    Everyone here I speak to thinks Brown is doint his utmost to manipulate but I doubt whether Obama (the "novice") will be swayed or impressed. Obama will have his own agenda and he will call the shots.

    Brown hopes it dovetails with his.

    (You can buy busts of Churchill from Blenheim Palace!).

  • Comment number 10.

    Nick,

    In the spirit of your ongoing shameless plugging of your radio show....a comparison of Lord North and Gordon.

    Lord North 'lost' America and didn't realise for 5 weeks - Gordon lost the UK months ago and still doesn't realise.

    After all the fuss over Goodwin's pension and Gordon's 'anger' about that and anything else he thinks he ought to be angry about to try and reflect the mood of the nation.....how much is this little jaunt costing us, the taxpayer? If he had any other reason to go and talk to El Presidente, than to bask in his reflected glory, I'd be less cynical.

  • Comment number 11.

    Quite brilliant political cartoon in this morning's Times, playing on the old "poodle" analogy, with Obama as the lean, sleek, greyhound... and Gordon, standing on a box as the poodle doing... well, doing what dogs tend to do when they greet each other.

    Made me laugh anyway... :-)

  • Comment number 12.

    A probably hopeless attempt to summarise this trip:

    Brown has been caught red-handed during class (he can't run the economy) and on the final day of term has run to another school to get one more attempt at sitting the exam (and failing at it again).

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Will Obama's 'Gold dust' rub of on brown or will brown's 'brown' dust stink up Obama?

    but love the commentary from US media, 'Britain's cursed prime minister...'

  • Comment number 15.

    Is this the best you can come up with, Nick?Downing Street aides are no doubt love-bombing and brow-beating the travelling UK press corps to spin something nice for the folks back home. But it looks like Brown's 'Audacity of Hype' Washington tour is turning out to be a damp squib as I predicted here.

    http://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/browns-audacity-of-hype.html

    No-one in the US or in the UK gives a monkeys about this dead man sleepwalking into Capitol Hill, while his fag-end of a government collapses around his ears. 
    They are struggling in the real world of unemployment, recession and making ends meet. Global grandstanding cuts no ice with voters.

  • Comment number 16.

    So Gordo's gone to America in an attempt to jump start his failing career, yet Obama clearly wants to keep him at arms length... Perhaps they're not too happy with Brown blaming his decade of economic incompetence on the Americans after all??

    Of course, I fully expect this will be spun into his 'Saved the World' mantra by the time the compliant media folk such as yourself Nick, get around to reporting it on tonight's tv broadcasts. Or, are you actually going to ask Obama the question that so many here want you to: "Mr President, do you agree with Mr Brown that all the World's economic problems & especially those in Great Britain are because of America and the American people?"



  • Comment number 17.

    Lord North's communications system was lightning fast compared to Brown's.

    For years now the British people have been telling Brown that he's rubbish and that he's lost the next General Election - and it's yet to register.

  • Comment number 18.

    Is there a precedent for this kind of diplomatic and political treatment?

    If the questions are informal and before the "talks" does that mean that Obama wants what he says to Brown to stay within the room?

    How long before it leaks? Where's Mandy?

    Please make sure you get pictures after his visit...if he looks battered and bruised or there is a false smile we'll know exactly

    I'll pass on the Lord North thingy thanks, hope that you enjoy your jolly

    Looking forward to some in depth political comment after you've asked about Harriet, and the briefings from Ed Balls and Darling whilst Crash has been out of the country.

  • Comment number 19.

    Gordon Brown must be the most detested PM of all time. This guy will lead Labour to the political wilderness for the next 12 years at least!!!

  • Comment number 20.

  • Comment number 21.

    I hear that Brown isn't going to get his precious propaganda photo op of standing at a podium next to Obama after all.

    He has more pressing issues such as the boy scouts of America presenting him with some paper cuttings or something.

    But if there is a press conference Nick can you ask this one question alone -

    Mr Brown, back at home you like to repeat at the start of every sentence "It/what started in America" yet you haven't today for some reason. Why is that?

    Let him spin on that one.

  • Comment number 22.

    Brown is an embarrassment to Obama - why does he want to associate himself with one of the architects of the "age of irresponsibility"?

    I don't blame the US for giving Brown equal priority as the group of Boy Scouts.

  • Comment number 23.

    His policy objective is to secure President Obama's engagement in developing what he's dubbed "a global new deal" to combat the threat of depression.

    So far, his officials say, the new team at the White House has been too busy developing domestic policy to worry much about British ideas ...

    ... for an international economic plan to be unveiled at the London meeting of world leaders in April.

    So why have Brown and his numerous officials made the trip? Obama isn't briefed as admitted by his aides. Surely he hasn't spent all that taxpayers money just for reasons of self promotion?

    Perhaps you'll ask him on our behalf Nick?

    When framing your question; first consider how many private companies would pay for a large team of execs to travel business (first?) class to the States for a 30 minute meeting with someone who isn't briefed?

    By the way, if you're struggling to make conversation with the PM on the flight back -your bloggers have made several worthy suggestions in response to your 'Churchill' post.

    Go on, be a sport; just for us.

  • Comment number 24.

    This partnership is so special that Obama can only spare half an hour to speak to our PM, who has travelled 3000 odd miles to see him.

    Says it all really.

  • Comment number 25.

    Nick

    So this is it.

    "It may not be the end

    It may not be the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning."

    "Never have so many owed so much to so few"

    Can I be the first to say "Four more years" for Gordon, but then again perhaps no.

    Call an election and ee what the people's opinion is

  • Comment number 26.

    If Obama agrees to anything suggested by Brown it will be because it coincides with narrow USA interests - end of story.

    Stand by for the spin cycle. USA protectionist measures will be repackaged and sold by Gordon as part of a Brown-led internationally agreed anti-protectionist programme.

    Bit like the repacking of sub-prime loans as triple A rated Special Investment Vehicles.

  • Comment number 27.

    Obama is not going to listen to someone who has run an economy on empty. HE is interested in sorting out Americas problems. He will not align with anyone at present and especially with Brown who has spent all his time denying that our current economic woes have anything to do with him. Brown has blamed all our problems on the US, none of it has anything to do with him. If you don't know how you got there, what mistakes were made, how can you fix it?

  • Comment number 28.

    Econoce -- great play on words. "Papering the cracks".

    Nick quotes GB in his earlier release :

    "I think the impression he has given of America to the world is transformative, because he is a black man who has won the presidency, who is living in the White House that was built by slaves."

    Sincerely hope Gordon doesn't say this to the US press corps. Not particularly PC and if they are really picky they will point out that Obama sees himself as "mixed race", along with Tiger Woods and many others.

    Finally as many have said, incredible waste of taxpayers money -- for a 30 minute meeting. Goodness knows what the CO2 impact of the trip is but from GB's point of view gives him the chance to skip another PMQ where no doubt bank losses, the City Minister and the massive funding will be high on the agenda.

  • Comment number 29.

    'Just doing my job' my posterior. He's there to try and save his bacon! In these days of viseo conferencing and tight money surely he could have stayed at home and skyped The President. It would have saved a lot of taxpayer's money. This is a cosmetic exercise in all but name!

  • Comment number 30.

    #7 RobinJD wrote:

    Does anyone really believe Obama gives a monkey's about Gordon Brown?

    ###

    Oh, yes - he will want to be as close to Brown as possible.

    The UK is the US gateway not only to Europe but to a lot of the rest of the world and its economy.

    A relation of mine worked in the US embassy. The US relied heavily on the UK to keep political and financial links to other parts of the world, especially those that the US was publicly not speaking to.

    And it was always a balanced relationship. A real partnership

    These days it involves the rest of Europe too, but still routed through London.

    What the press report as the exciting headline bit, and actually what happens behind the scenes is very different.

  • Comment number 31.

    Is he hoping for a second Marshall Plan. Someone should tell him that this time the US is in the same boat. Does Super Gordon have the authority to talk on behalf of the other European leaders or is he paddling his own boat? Maybe he should wait until April when all the leaders will be in London (or is it Watford?)

  • Comment number 32.

    I doubt whether anything Brown will say to Obama will be of use or even interest to the latter except that Obama might learn not to follow Brown's policies. On a lighter note I hope Obama doesn't get Brown and the US Scouts muddled up.......

  • Comment number 33.

    Fine, so those not engaged in politics might be impressed with Gordon Brown, however, the reality of the situation is quite different.

    The US has never and probably will never give a damn about anyone else unless there's something big in it for them (they want to be the senior partner) - and yes, that includes 'Great' Britain.

    Unless Gordon Brown can offer Obama a way to get the US back from China easily (the economy that is) or some other ingenious tip, Gordon Brown is simply there for the photo-op.

    Another example of GB in cloud cuckoo land - who on earth comes up with his spin?

  • Comment number 34.

    Obama's administration obviously wish to listen to Brown's views. Since they both sit on the centre left of politics I daresay Obama wants to facilitate some support for our Prime Minister. These are serious times and the President wishes to have a meeting with a serious politician.
    All else on here, as ever, is just bile and spite. Politics is simply not just about the personality of one man. The outpouring of hatred toward Brown on this blog is ridiculous.

  • Comment number 35.

    No Gordon, we're not stupid! Perhaps you could let the rest of the cabinet know!

  • Comment number 36.

    Yesterday Trevor Kavanagh was fulminating in The Sun about how the regulatory framwork put in place by Gordon Brown was what brought the house down. Unlike in Australia where 'Brown's light hand of regulation' was mericfully scorned. The result as Trevor pointed out is four major Aussie banks with Triple A ratings, even in the teeth of the credit crunch.

    Sensing that the heat from the Murdoch press is landing heavier punches than the Tories, entirely predictably Mr Brown put Darling into bat in this morning's Telegraph fessing up that regulation could and should have been tighter. Almost an apology!

    It is not President Obama that Mr Brown should be courting at this juncture,it is his fellow American citizen Mr Murdoch. I sense that the game really is up this time for Prime Minister Brown.

  • Comment number 37.

    We all know why he's there Nick. He needs the Obama glitter. What a sad sight to behold in the dying days of the New labour administration.

  • Comment number 38.

    Just been on the Internation Herald Tribune's website. This left of center paper doesn't carry a Brownama story today but carried one a day or so ago.

    More interestingly, the economist that Brown cheerleaders such as the BBC and The Guardian are particular fond of, Krugman, has written a column today that explains that US consumers have started to save money again and that this will weigh heavily on any recovery. This is the piece of analysis that both Brown and Obama miss out on and why they will ruin us with stimulus=deficit spending because they seem to think this is a banking problem that can be fixed with renewed lending and borrowing.

  • Comment number 39.

    "What, if anything, does that tell us?"

    That the President has far more important things on his agenda than a "state visit" from a small nation somewhere beyond the periphery of his vision?

    That he doesn't have time to indulge the vanity of his visitor?

    That nothing of substance can be achieved in thirty minutes?

    "I'm just doing my job"

    I thought UPS, DHL or (perish the thought) the respective postal services were quite able to deliver a valuable item without the need to send an overpaid courier boy.

  • Comment number 40.

    "Gordon Brown is naturally delighted to be the first European leader to be granted access to the White House though Japan's Prime Minister won the race to be first into the Oval Office."

    As his side-kick so elegantly put it: So what? Accordingly to an American commentor [an academic if my memory is correct] on the BBC news last night America's focus is moving away from Europe anyway.

    Brown is not only a menace in the UK context he is an embarrassment in the international one.

  • Comment number 41.

    He must get more time at his dentist's than he's getting in the President's office. Obama must have been advised that this is yesterday's man and there is no point wasting too much time on him when it's his successor he will need to deal with. As far as Brown building a special relationship with Obama is concerned, that is a non starter, after all, compared with Brown, Obama is a " novice ", it's just that he carries a deal more charisma and clout than Brown and his dour bumbling ever will. Far from enhancing Brown's image, the indifference of the US will show him in a very different light.

  • Comment number 42.

    Brown's good at making enemies - it's his forte.

    But blaming the US for the uK's economic woes will go down in history as one of the great mistakes of UK politics.

    He will get everything he deserves from Obama. And, hopefully, more.

  • Comment number 43.

    Nick

    How much has this little jaunt cost the taxpayer?

    The "business" part of this (if there is any) could have been done by a small group of officials going on a commercial flight backed up with a teleconference from the media suite at 10 Downing Street.

    This is therefore politics, posturing for the media, nothing more. I can understand that Gordon is so desperate that he places high priority on being seen in the company of Obama. But do the lobby journalists enjoy the thrill of being whisked across the Atlantic, and not care that you're being spun, or does the press pack secretly agree it's all a waste of money?

    I calculate that there are 461 days to 3rd June 2010, the last possible date for a General Election, unless Gordon cancels this. Still a lot that the government can screw up in that time...

  • Comment number 44.

    GB would travel to disneyworld if he felt a photo opportunity with Mickey Mouse might align him with younger voters. Maybe then we could lower the voting age to 5 as a one off turnout booster.

    Still at least he's keeping an aircraft flying and saving a few jobs.

    At least the BBC can fly a team of journo's in for a couple of days to cover his 30 mins with St Barak, (saving a couple more jobs - although theres no need for that Justin Webb bloke)



    Hasn't anyone noticed that Nick doesn't appear to read the comments?

  • Comment number 45.

    re 14

    The Americans actually can do irony.
    Its not "Brown the cursed PM" its "Brown the curr-sed PM" They, like everyone I meet, cannot stand his know-all attitude plus his inability to admit errors and that he keeps blaming them for his own monumental incompetance over 12 years.

  • Comment number 46.

    I predict in a few weeks that not only will this recession still be blamed on America, but Brown's own plummeting support here will be blamed on America too. "If Obama had been more supportive of the saviour of the world, then Brown would be doing better..." etc etc etc...

    America has NO allies, ONLY interests. It is NOT in Obama's interest to prop up a major contributor to the economic collapse and a guy that is a loser.

    As I understand it, Obama is no Anglophile owing to the fact that one of his direct Kenyan Ancestors (great grandfather I think) was butchered by English troops that were putting down an uprising.

    It looks like this will be the second time that Brown goes to Washington and is barely noticed.

    Blair spoke to their congress and sucked up to them marvelously. It would have been an added bonus if he had spoken truth whilst he was there too, but he did wow them. (well when they were used to Bush's primitive use of language, Blair was a master of oratory by comparison) Now they have a comparison of Brown and Obama... Brown cannot look anything but weak, old, out of touch and frankly, embarrassing by comparison.

  • Comment number 47.

    #34 Pete Holly

    "Obama's administration obviously wish to listen to Brown's views. Since they both sit on the centre left of politics I daresay Obama wants to facilitate some support for our Prime Minister. These are serious times and the President wishes to have a meeting with a serious politician."

    What a joke. Could have been written by Mandelson.

    1) Obama's administration have no intention of listening seriously to Brown. Why would they? He's a major player part of the group that caused the current crisis and nothing he has done in the last 6 months has made a measurable difference to bank lending.

    2) Neither sit on the centre left. Obama is bang in the centre (that's why he won an election - narrowly, there was no landslide!) and Brown is probably to the right of most of the current shadow cabinet.

    3) If Obama thought Brown was a serious politician with something to contribute he'd give him more than half an hour.

    ps

    I don't hate Brown, I just think he's hopelessly out of his depth.

  • Comment number 48.

    @36, "Sensing that the heat from the Murdoch press is landing heavier punches than the Tories, entirely predictably Mr Brown put Darling into bat in this morning's Telegraph fessing up that regulation could and should have been tighter. Almost an apology!"

    Almost, but not quite. Additionally, this government are still blaming everyone else. They are blaming the banks and the regulators more than themselves.

    This is like the farm hand blaming the chickens (for being tasty) and the fox (for being hungry) when he encouraged the fox to go into the chicken pen.

  • Comment number 49.

    Perhaps Gordon will to use the rest of his day to see if he can get his foot in the door as an after dinner speaker. After all, he'll need something to do when he's voted out.

  • Comment number 50.

    Doorman: "Mr President, may I introduce Prime Minister Gordon Brown"

    Obama: "Thanks. Who he?"

    Brown: "Good morning Mr President. Any chance of a quick, global grand bargain?"

    Obama: "No chance. Next."

  • Comment number 51.

    Meanwhile back at the range Darling starts to talk about COLLECTIVE responsibility.

    Well, it's clear what Labour's next spin attempt will be now that prospect for a Brown bounce type 2 are diminishing. The media will repeatedly be told that the conservatives and the lib dems didn't propose a different regulatory framework when Brown introduced his tripartite setup, did not explicitly oppose Brown's resistance to a paneuropean financial regulator and did not openly distance themselves from other government policies that contributed to the crisis.

    So the opposition is at fault for not openly rejecting government policy rather than that the government should be held accountable for the result of its poor stewardship. Well, if voters think that suffices for giving Brown another chance, they deserve no better.

  • Comment number 52.

    34#

    "The President wants to meet with a serious politician".... (but New Labour didnt have any..)


    Yeah right.... ROTFLMAO. Serious politician, my foot.

    Gordon, a "serious" politician?

    He's so serious, Obama's only seeing him for 30 minutes. He'd probably spend more time walking the White House dog!

    Seriously dangerous to our current - and future - economic well being more like!!!

    Biggest laugh I've had all morning

    Thanks Pete!!!! :-)

  • Comment number 53.

    Brown isn't just seeing Obama today, he's speaking to a joint session of Congress tomorrow. Not every PM gets to do that, so his stock there must be reasonably high.

    In fact, their policies on the financial crisis have been fairly similar: stabilise the banking system (mostly done under Bush in the US, but with considerable Democratic prodding); stimulate the economy by spending; and half-hearted inadequate measures to get banks lending again.

    On this last, each needs the other to make nationalisation acceptable at home, but I'm not sure they're really listening. Brown also needs Obama to make deficits to look respectable, to stop the pound falling too far.

  • Comment number 54.

    For half an hour's chat, Gordon should learn to use teleconferencing technology - he could also address congress the same way.

    Think of the costs, think of the carbon footprint - shame on you Gordon!

    PS Airforce 1 isn't any cleaner or cheaper and I don't see Barack using cheaper ways to get around either

  • Comment number 55.

    #34 PeteHolly

    All else on here, as ever, is just bile and spite. Politics is simply not just about the personality of one man. The outpouring of hatred toward Brown on this blog is ridiculous.


    Could the reason be that he is Captain of the ship and therefore shoulders the responsibility for running into the rocks; and prior to that he was the navigator who charted the course?

    To carry the analogy further - could it be that the reason there is so much bile and spiteaimed in his direction is that instead of going down with his ship he is shoving the passengers (a.k.a.taxpayers, savers and pensioners) aside to be first in the lifeboat?

    If I was Fred the Shred, I wouldn't waste energy and time justifying my pension settlement; I'd just respond

    "After you Mr Brown"

    After all, what's a few million in a pension pot relative to what our PM is squandering?



  • Comment number 56.

    I'm not into the nuances of this but 'special partnership' sounds like a downgrade from 'special relationship'' to this blogger.

    Which would only be correct, since the Basra and Afghan misadventures, the Americans seem to have become quite disillusioned with us.

    Which was always the danger in our politicians obsession with trying to punch above your weight, now the price is being paid in a diminished status in US eyes.

    I think President Obama wants to see a coherent Europe pulling its weight on the world stage but Europe currently lacks a clear political nexus - which unfortunately is where Tony Blair comes back into play - as President of Europe.

    Political Europe does need clear, unambigous leadership - and it just so happens that Mr. Blair is the person with the appropriate status and experience and is now available.

    That should not be construed as any sort of endorsement - it just recognises the reality of the current situation.

  • Comment number 57.

    My original comment sees to have disappeared:

    How much of our money is Bottler spending just to get photos for his album to show his kids in a couple of years' time?

    Obama is not going to listen to that loser when he will be speaking to (elected) Prime Minister Cameron in just over a year.

  • Comment number 58.

    peteholly says "The outpouring of hatred toward Brown on this blog is ridiculous".

    Perhaps peteholly should realise that the hatred towards the Labour government generally and Brown in particular is genuine and felt by millions of taxpayers.

    This phoney deluded man has ruined this country with his incompetent performance as chancellor and cowardly and incompetent performance as PM.

    Nick, It is such a pleasure to see you withdrawing almost daily from your hero Brown, and I even noticed a slight shift away from Brown by his other pal Andrew Marr. The writing must really be on the wall if his most trusted journalists are pulling away from him and Labour.

    Like others I would implore you to ask the PM if he is still of the view that all the UK problems were caused by the USA.

  • Comment number 59.

    Another back at the range news item:

    Northern Rock reported a pre-tax loss of 1.35 billion not-so-sterling pounds today, with impairments contributing a negative 894 million. All the US's fault obviously, but hitting UK government debt nonetheless.

    Maybe ask Obama why the US let Mr Wanles(s?), that famous government adviser, sit on the belly-up Rock's board?

  • Comment number 60.

    The elected meets the unelected.
    Wonder if Brown will tell him that its no time for a novice.

  • Comment number 61.

    How embarassing for the UK, to have this pathetic lame duck as a 'representative'.

    At least we can be confident that obama will be fully aware of how much brown is hated by the public, and wont put too much store by anything he says.

  • Comment number 62.

    thatotherguy2 @ 36

    For business reasons, (what other reason could there be) Murdoch seems to have turned on Brown via his various media outlets.

    So, Murdoch foot-soldier Trevor Kavanagh fulminates in The Sun about how the regulatory framework put in place by Gordon Brown was what brought the house down.

    Only it was not.

    Somebody who does know what he is talking about is Dan Atkinson, who writes on economic matters in the MoS.

    Dan correctly identifies the 'Big Bang' in the City of London in 1986 as being at the root of this economic catastrophe in England.

    As Dan states, this is where the seeds of financial destruction were sowed.

    PS. There are huge advantages to being politically independent, in that it allows you to think about these matters without being trammelled within some political dogma.

  • Comment number 63.

    #46 purpledogzz

    "It looks like this will be the second time that Brown goes to Washington and is barely noticed."

    Too right. A quick scan shows that none of the main US media websites (TV or print) are even mentioning Brown's visit on their main pages.

  • Comment number 64.

    While Gordon Brown has been away his mice have been letting him down almost immediately. First of all Harriet Harman makes a ridiculous statement about the court of public opinion which would also have ensnared Jacqui Smith, The Balls and The Speaker of The House Of Commons but we also have Alistair Darling infuriating him by admitting and apologising for mistakes in bank regulation totally blasting out of the water his long established false claim that it was global guv and nothing to with us!

  • Comment number 65.

    He is just doing his job eh? Wish he did it better ..

  • Comment number 66.

    34 wrote:

    "Obama's administration obviously wish to listen to Brown's views. Since they both sit on the centre left of politics I daresay Obama wants to facilitate some support for our Prime Minister. These are serious times and the President wishes to have a meeting with a serious politician.
    All else on here, as ever, is just bile and spite. Politics is simply not just about the personality of one man. The outpouring of hatred toward Brown on this blog is ridiculous."

    The first two sentences I can accept aside from the assertion that The President wants to support The Prime Minister. He knows full well that Gordon Brown's days are numbered and that quite soon he will need to build up a relationship with David Cameron. Any support he gives will be very temporary and not worth it's weight in gold. As far as everything else on here being bile and spite aside from what you write I don't think so. The PM invites criticism by way of his sheer arrogance and his continued squirming out of admitting any kind of shared blame for our present predicament. At least Alistair Darling has done the right thing and had the good grace to offer an apology for loose regulation, an admission apparently which has infuriated the absent Prime Minister because it has ripped the rug from under his feet. God help poor Darling when his boss returns.

  • Comment number 67.

    #43 Badger

    461 days and counting.

    Much as I want to see the back of this odious man, I'm not one of those calling for an immediate election.

    Just as the little bit of paper waved on return from Munich was hailed as "peace in our time", the fact is that Britain - and the Chamberlain administration - was in no position to go to war against Hitler.

    The next few months gave us the breathing space to equip ourselves ready to face the fight. It also meant hanging on to a highly disliked Prime Minister, whose very policy of appeasement had laid us so low, until such a time that a true leader could emerge, with the means to face down the aggressor.

    This is a better analogy for the present predicament. A disliked PM who has done more than his fair share in leading us into crisis, and who continues to plunge us deeper into the mire. Yet our two-and-a-half party system has not thrown up a credible alternative, someone able to lead us and hve the means to take us out of this crisis.

    To replace the PM at this time could be like declaring war on Hitler in 1938.

    It is time for a grassroots movement to overhaul our "democracy" and looks to a solution to the real issues.

    Audit the banks. Quantify the toxic debt. Encourage savers. Reduce the size of the state. Replace the dead wood.

    I just hope we can survive until next June.

  • Comment number 68.

    I suspect Brown's mantra most of last year "That it all began in America" has not been forgotten. Obama may well be setting him up for his own domestic agenda's resonance.
    He will have discussed The UK and Brown at great length with Bush and others.

  • Comment number 69.

    PeteHolly

    All else on here, as ever, is just bile and spite. Politics is simply not just about the personality of one man. The outpouring of hatred toward Brown on this blog is ridiculous.

    ............................................

    You are obviously a Labour supporter and I respect your views, but let me ask you this.

    Would you feel the same way if the pension you had paid into all your life was rapidly going down the tubes?

    Would you feel the same way if you couldn't get a mortgage for love nor money - even if you had a superb credit rating?

    Would you fel the same way if you suddenly found yourself redundant through no fault of your own?

    Would you feel the same way if the house you had paid for was about to be repossessed?

    This is why we despise Gordon Brown. The people who contribute to this blog are decent law abiding people. We have paid our dues, and this is what we get in return - and not even a hint of an apology.

    Get the picture?


  • Comment number 70.

    DO YOU HAVE THE FAINTEST?


    It’s Barrack’s time
    He’ll only give you half an hour
    You stand in line, he’ll see the scouts
    after Scots so dour
    But on the news in Blighty they will show the
    photo call

    Fly the press around the world to
    Barrack Time

    But say a prayer

    Pray for the rest of us
    In Washington it’s hard,
    but when the meeting’s done
    There’s a world outside your window
    And it’s a world of dread and fear
    Where the only credit flowing is so hard to get and dear
    And the cash till bells that ring there
    Are the clanging chimes of Broon
    But tonight God’ll be on the news with you

    But there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell
    we’ll fall for it
    We’ve heard it all before, you're full of it
    (Oooh) The money’s down the drain
    But you’re doing it again
    Do you have the faintest clue at all?

    As for you, you’re useless, says everyone
    As for us, we know just what you have done
    Do you have the faintest clue at all

    Save the world, save the world, save the world
    Please Obama, give me some more time

    Save the world
    Please Obama, give me some more time
    Save the world
    Please Obama, give me some more time
    Save the world
    Please Obama, give me some more time
    Save the world
    Please Obama, give me some more time

  • Comment number 71.

    The important question to ask about the "special relationship" is whether or not it is worth the price, which in recent years has been heavy in terms of blood and gold.

    It is inevitable that such a partnership, where the two sides are so unequal, should be one sided.

    It is true that the US did eventually come to the aid of the UK in world war 2. But only after they themselves had been a attacked, and it had become clear, as a result of the efforts of the British alone, and later the Soviets, that the Nazis were not going to get the walk over many had expected.

    For the first two years the US was content to make lots of money by selling arms to the combatants.

  • Comment number 72.

    #59 Econoce

    Northern Rock reported a pre-tax loss of 1.35 billion not-so-sterling pounds today, with impairments contributing a negative 894 million. All the US's fault obviously, but hitting UK government debt nonetheless.

    ...............................................

    Interesting. Does anyone know if NR have repaid any monies to the taxpayer, who so generously helped them out when they were in the poo?

  • Comment number 73.

    So the big idea to end the global recession is now to close tax havens. Can someone please explain what this interference in the tax arrangements of sovereign countries is supposed to achieve?

  • Comment number 74.

    "On landing in Washington we learnt that there is to be no formal news conference. Questions will be taken by the leaders in the Oval Office - perhaps, rather oddly, at the beginning of it.
    What, if anything, does that tell us? "

    I think that tells us that the American Media would have the guts to ask Brown real questions, unlike the BBC, and that's the last thing he wants to deal with.

    Imagine a Fox reporter asking him something like:

    "You were in charge of regulation in the UK for the 12 years leading up to the collapse of your institutions that you were supposed to be regulating. You also didn't even bother to read the multi-billion dollar bank bailout contracts in your country. You were also never elected. What gives you the right to tell us what to do?"

    Brown won't allow real questions because he knows he'd be shown up for the negligent idiot that he is.

  • Comment number 75.

    #6

    "I haven't read Churchill's bios, but I'm surprised if he made as many 180s (or u-turns) in his life as Brown already has."

    Nah, he just kept swapping parties!

  • Comment number 76.

    peteholly @34 wrote:
    "Obama's administration obviously wish to listen to Brown's views. Since they both sit on the centre left of politics I daresay Obama wants to facilitate some support for our Prime Minister. These are serious times and the President wishes to have a meeting with a serious politician."

    Crikey - I didn't see that one on LabourList...

    "The outpouring of hatred toward Brown on this blog is ridiculous."

    No it's not. It's heartfelt. And sincere. And widespread throughout the country - as he will find out if he ever has the guts to call an election.

  • Comment number 77.

    #30 gurubear

    what delusional newlabour pills have you been swallowing.

    there is nothing balanced about the US/UK relationship.

    there is no joint extradition treaty - hence the Natwest three were deported to the US and are now in gaol there...they would never have been put on trial here.

    Thatcher refused to support Reagan's invasion of Grenada and I seem to remember Hague being less than sympatheitc towards Thatcher's invasion of the Falklands.

    the very idea that Obama thinks this is anything more than it is; Gordon Brown attempting to grab some glamour points, is a total joke.

    Call an election

  • Comment number 78.

    #62 John Constable

    "Dan correctly identifies the 'Big Bang' in the City of London in 1986 as being at the root of this economic catastrophe in England."

    Nice try. But blaming all our current woes on something that happened 23 years ago just won't wash.

    You might just as well blame the invention of the computer (which allows all these dodgy trades and financial instruments to take place), or the invention of the railways which allowed all these traders to commute to the city and Canary Wharf.

    While there were clearly a number of changes in the increasingly complex financial system over the 60 years since the end of WWII which contributed to the mess we are in, the fact remains that Gordon Brown has been in political charge of the UK financial system for the last 11 1/2 years.

    He not only presided over the excesses of the last decade, he actively promoted them:

    "Not just a light touch but a limited touch".

    No, Gordon IS responsible. The buck stops with him.

  • Comment number 79.

    #19

    "Gordon Brown must be the most detested PM of all time. This guy will lead Labour to the political wilderness for the next 12 years at least!!!"

    Are you suggesting that the next (Tory?) government will become so unpopular that it will have to resign 1/3rd of it's way through their 3rd term?!

  • Comment number 80.

    Nick

    Surely this visit can only be seen as a huge snub to Brown?

    The Obama team have purposefully stripped away everything that Brown wanted from this visit.

    He is now has important as the Boy Scouts?

    They are fully aware of how important this is for Brown by his constant use of Obama’s name.

    Obama has not reached out to help he is just standing coldly by as Brown makes a fool of himself sucking up trying to alter public opinion at home.
    He makes Brown look like an attention seeking child whose behaviour must be ignored.

    This is pay back for something and there is the real story.

    It makes me as embarrassed to be British as when Bush humiliated Blair with "Yoh Blair".

    I believe this trip is a huge mistake as it shows that Brown is truly finished even in his closest ally's eyes.

    If Brown dressed up in a scout's uniform he may get more attention.

    He really has to GO.

  • Comment number 81.

    Let's face it, whatever way be said or spun on his behalf, Brown's single objective is to try to boost his collapsed poll ratings by associating himself with (as you rightly said) the world's biggest celeb. Generating a new world order in finance? Getting the US on side for a Brown-saves-the-world scheme at the G20? All irrelevant. The only thing Brown cares about is getting Brown back into Downing St. And it is a forlorn hope too. We know it, Brown knows it, Obama and his crew know it too.

    Given the circumstances, I think it is rather polite, in fact excessively so, of Obama to go along with Brown's game. Brown is a loser. At best he carries about 15% of the UK adult population with him. He will be gone in 15 months, maybe less. He is an irrelevancy.

    I predict Brown will come back to the UK with a picture or two and a couple of platitudes from Mr President. And that's it. I predict it will be spun up to much more, but the substantial content of this meeting, indeed the whole Brown-Obama relationship will be precisely nil.

  • Comment number 82.

  • Comment number 83.

    Before I go windsurfing for the remainder of the afternoon, I'll leave you with a sensible but depressing post that compares 3 economies at the start of their meltdowns:

    Japan UK US
    (1985) ('06) ('06)

    Budget surplus deficit deficit
    Savings rate >+5% 0% 2%
    Curr account surplus deficit deficit
    Banks bad bad bad
    Real estate bad bad bad
    Tax take medium high medium

    Indeed, the odds are long that the UK's and US's deficit spending and quantitative easing will be succesful!

    Cheeriu

  • Comment number 84.

    #62 John, the Big Bang may have been the moment when financial services was given much greater freedom, but the assertion that this made the credit crunch inevitable is dubious. How many banks had to be bailed out a la Northern Rock/HBOS/RBS on Thatcher and Major's watches? It was Brown who schemed up the tripartite system when he became mesmerised by the City during his "prawn cocktail offensive" with John Smith in the run up to the 1992 GE. He was only too happy to flirt with people like Fred the Shred and Crosby when they were providing enough corporation tax on their profits and CGT on their bonuses to cover up for the contraction of manufacturing due to Labour's stifling regulation. He created the FSA which was bankers regulating bankers and with a box ticking mentality that failed to address the problems being stored up. From 1997-2005, Labour had mammoth majorities in Parliament and they could have tightened things up but they were only too happy to ride the banking tiger.

    The roots of the sub-prime crisis actually go back to Clinton in the mid-90's. He wanted finacial institutions like the banks and Fannie Mae to make more loans so as to increase home ownership among the poor, especially African-Americans. A laudable goal for sure but it gave birth to NINJA loans which triggered the sub-prime crash. Like Brown, Bush didn't recognise the problem building and even if he had tried to curtail it there would have been hell to pay with accusations that he was trying to stop poor African-Americans owning their own homes. You can see how that would have been portrayed! Maybe the pre-1997 system wouldn't have worked either, but in this case it was not the theory of free markets that failed but Brown's brainchild.

  • Comment number 85.

    I am sure President Obama is well briefed about Brown only being there to reflect in the President's popularity.

    I am sure Presidential briefing advised caution when dealing with the arsonist now in charge of the fire station; the burglar in charge of crime reduction; the man who stole our retirement funds; the man who was the architect of our domestic financial crisis; the man who has saddled our next two generations with the biggest debt in history; the PM who falsly claimed to have saved the World.

    The British public can see through this hypocrisy, I am sure President Obama can too.



  • Comment number 86.

    #62

    I'm interested, from one "politically independent" blogger to another, what it is you think changed between 1986 and 2008 that meant despite the Big Bang, the banking and financial services industry seemed to manage just fine, without any major crises, until Northern Rock in 2007? Do you think it might have anything to do with the change in the regulatory structure?

    Or are you suggesting that no amount of regulation would have avoided the meltdown of the banking system. That being the case, and since Gordon Brown is such a genius when it comes to these matters, why didn't he just roll back deregulation in 1997?

    You see, I have a different theory. Any market can be regulated to do just about anything you want it to do if you put sufficient controls in place. New Labour had big plans for central government but that needed lots and lots of cash, and Tony Blair knew tax and spend governments get one term and one term only. So they needed to look elsewhere for their lucre, the North Sea wasn't going to subsidise Tony like it did for Maggie.

    Problem, how do you increase the tax take without increasing tax rates? Answer, increase the top line. That 'prawn cocktail offensive' in the mid-nineties taught Brown that if he loosened the leash on the City, it would make so much profit, they wouldn't be able to spend the tax receipts (although a few wars soon put them right on that one). Enter the FSA, "not just light touch, limited touch" regulation, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    Why were all these bankers feted by Brown, enobled, brought into Government, given nice cushy quango jobs? Why, even now, are they getting away with bringing the country to its knees?

    Because they know where the blame really lies. They know where the bodies are buried, and Brown knows that if he wants any kind of political future (and you can be sure that he does), he better not rock the boat too far.

    I have no doubt that the Tories would have been lobbyed into loosening the regulation of the City eventually, and I have no way of knowing whether that would have resulted in the same problems we are now experiencing. The lesson of Australia, and Canada I believe, seems to be that it was possible for a country's banks to have participated in the boom years without being fatally undermined by toxic debt, thanks to proper oversight by the regulators and therefore it can be argued that a different regulatory regime in the UK could have prevented much of the damage that has been wrought by the implosion of the financial sector in this country.

    That at least, regardless of what anyone else might have done in the same circumstances, is enough for me to conclude that Gordon Brown's reform of financial regulation in 1997 was fatally flawed and has directly led to the situation we are now in. That puts Gordon Brown at the centre of this storm and makes him personally culpable. Any decent politician would admit his errors and stand aside to allow someone else, untainted by his term as Chancellor to take over running the country until such time as the electorate is given the opportunity to select a new Government.

    Failure to do so is based on pure self-interest. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Comment number 87.

    #67

    Can't really disagree with any of that.

    It's a matter of judgment whether a general election now or in May 2010 is better for UK plc. I suspect Cameron is in no hurry...

    I've consistently argued on these pages and elsewhere that what's needed is a hung Parliament with a very good LD showing to rein in the elective dictatorship we have now, and electoral reform so things can never get this bad again.

    We need somehow to steer ourselves into strong coalition government - avoiding an electoral "mandate" for a party with 36% of the votes from 25% of the adult population, without getting into Israeli-style coalition paralysis.

    And we also need to solve the West Lothian question. Whether that's done by Scottish independence is up to the Scots, but I suspect it's probably the best solution for everyone except the Welsh.

    GOK how we get from here to there, better minds than mine have tried and failed...

  • Comment number 88.

    #62 John Constable wrote:
    Dan correctly identifies the 'Big Bang' in the City of London in 1986 as being at the root of this economic catastrophe in England.

    a) there is a global element to the credit crisis. How does the Big Bang in London account for the problems in the US and other countries?
    b) I would like to see the chronology of the credit crisis explained properly. My understanding is that the explosion of bank lending and the trade in instruments such as mortgage-backed securites took place after 2001.
    c) monetary and fiscal policy was too lax in the UK and the US in the last decade. Both countries have too high levels of private and public debt. The world economy is unbalanced between debtor and creditor nations, and needs to be re-balanced.

    There is no simple line, drawn in an historically determinist manner, between Big Bang and the current crisis.

  • Comment number 89.

    #34 peteholly

    the oupouring of bile towards Brown is ridiculous?

    where?

    on this blog?

    or in Harman undermining him about Sir fred's pension.

    or the HSBC whistleblower balming Brown for ignoring the pressures building up in the fiancail system?

    or the chancellor this morning saying that mistaes were made at the Treasury and with the regulators pre his days

    or Lord Turner saying the tripartite structure didn't work

    how many sources do you need to pour bile before you accept we have a lame duck of a non elected prime minister who no-one accepts is blameless for this catastrohpe of an economic downturn.

    Call an election and let him defend his performance over the past twelve years; I can't wait.

  • Comment number 90.

    Nick Robinson is a terrible choice as political editor. His delivery is punctuated by big pauses and consists mainly of what he hopes are soundbites. "It cannot be a repeat of the Colgate moment between Blair and Bush" - what does that even mean? Clearly it "can't be" a repeat of that, they're two different people (thank God). Gordon Brown, whatever one thinks of him as Prime Minister, clearly has vast economic experience which the world can benefit from at the moment. That's probably the only reason he's the first European leader to visit Obama. Nick Robinson's easy, dumbed down version of events with a right wing slant to boot is not for me.

  • Comment number 91.

    67

    An excellent post.

    As much as Brown is unpopular we cannot and must not walkheadlong into a potentially far greater calamity by electing someone who would be far worse.

    A Cameron/Osborne led Tory Government would be a calamity. They would have been in just as big a mess as Labour given the global nature of the downturn.Their policy pronouncements over the past decade are only marginally different fiscally and economically to what Brown has espoused and the shortfall in difference between the two would be irrelevant compared to where we now stand.

    Cameron is a laissez faire economist 0- the likliehood is the Northern/rbs/hbos would have gone to the wall -millions would have lost everything and anarchy would prevail.

    The Tories have no more coherent a plan than Labour to get us out of recession,globally or here in the UK - indeed they would simply do what Tories always do - CUT!

    A Tory Government would cut the minimum wage,take back winter fuel allowances,remove free bus passes,scrap emergency winter cold payments to pay for the ridiculous notion of increasing Inheritance Tax thresholds to £1m.

    The state theft of the services and utilities under Thatcher and Major has caused many ongoing problems - would they reverse these = no!

    What the UK needs for 5 years at least is a sensible centrist moderate coalition party combining the skills of the likes of Cable,Ken Clarke,Alan Johnson and their ilk...

    Not a dogmatic Tory Party or a pale right wing imitation e.g New Labour

  • Comment number 92.

    #34 peteholly wrote:
    Politics is simply not just about the personality of one man. The outpouring of hatred toward Brown on this blog is ridiculous. Endquote.

    Of course, on all blogs one comes across various rants not grounded on fact or reasonable opinion. However, many contributors do give reasons for their contempt for Gordon Brown (see for example shellingout at #69).

    I wish Gordon Brown a happy retirement spent with his books and family. I don't wish to spend years hating him personally, as some people still seem to hate Margaret Thatcher. For now though, I do despise many of his economic policies (e.g. the 5 billion annual pension tax raid).

    I agree that sometimes it would be fairer to direct anger towards the failed policies of this Labour Government. However, Gordon Brown has run domestic policy since 1997 and inevitably people are going to criticise him.

  • Comment number 93.

    #82 canttakeanymore

    Saw your link.

    Let's hope that one or two reporters at the "pool spray" will ask Gordon some of the more pertinent questions.

  • Comment number 94.

    unfortunate that we do not have a credable altrnative to Mr Brown. Who/ What are you all suggesting on here we must have David and His alternative None Conservative friends to govern us? Heaven forbid..Did any of you live under the New Conservative way?

  • Comment number 95.

    @72,

    the Rock is repaying some of the borrowed billions but some of the debt has also been added to core capital, which we be lost if net assets turn out to be negative at the end of the line. Losses obviously hit capital/net equity as well.

    @73,

    the tax havens are another smokescreen that should not work (not to confuse tax havens with bank secrecy).

    The starting point should be that individuals in OECD countries have fairly similar aspirations. Some countries try and meet these aspirations through high tax, while others leave it to the individual. For example in France, the state pays a huge chunk of all the pesnions, but that does not mean that Swiss and Irish citizens forgo pensions, they save for them rather than get them from the tax take. Hence low taxes do not consitute social dumping or a race to the bottom.

  • Comment number 96.

    I reckon Obama has got his head screwed on and is being quite cute in allowing GB his half an hour chat. GB will undoubtably gush about his 'save the world' plan....which will tell Obama all he needs to know about how to counter the arguments coming from Europe at the G20.

    far from being the Global enforcer, Gb is in fact the Global Informer.

    Any negotiator will tell you that if you show your hand before the negotiation....you will lose. Besides he has nothing to lose and probably only wants to tie the hands of the next Government.

    Oh, and btw....do the assembled throng think the Chancellor has finally realised he's riding the wrong coat-tails and has decided to start positioning himself as the 'anyone but Harriet' candidate?

  • Comment number 97.

    Oh well, time to move onto more interesting blogs, it seems that the Tory activists are well and truly on message this morning, the pagers must have been working over time to spread the message. The theme of so many messages is so similar that it's obvious that the jist of the contents must have come from a central source - just look at the key-words used!

  • Comment number 98.

    I wonder whether Brown will be passing on to Obama the accumulated wisdom from this blog? The overwhelming view seems to be that:

    -Brown is the most powerful man on earth, since single-handedly he has brought economies across the world, from Japan to Germany, Iceland to China, and all points between to the brink of disaster. This seems reasonable to me, since it was on his watch.

    - the man in Whitehall knows best when it comes to running private enterprises, especially the most entrepreneurial of all (the banks). These free-marketeers are not to be trusted to make any decisions affecting their businesses, without some civil servant looking over their shoulder to make sure that they aren’t doing something really silly. Of course, if they do get away with being silly, they can reassure themselves that it is all Brown’s fault anyway because of (1) above.

    - the man in Whitehall also knows best when it comes to decisions taken by private individuals, who clearly cannot be trusted to know how much debt they should lumber themselves with. However, as with (2) above, they can always console themselves by the knowledge that it was all Brown’s fault that they spent too much on their plastic, because of (1) above.

    - Thatcher was wrong to elevate the concept of the ‘property owning democracy’ to the status of a religion, because that allowed lenders and borrowers to believe that what went up would never go down. Naturally, Brown was to blame for this because he didn’t prevent people from buying their own homes. He should of course have kept interest rates artificially high, and ignored the complaints of the businessmen who selfishly wanted low rates.

    - finally, Brown should apologise publicly for allowing the exchange rate to fall. He should also apologise for allowing the exchange rate to be so high until a few months ago, thus destroying British industry. The collapse in the pound is proof that he has failed and destroyed the economy (the period when the pound was strong being merely an aberration that did not indicate that our economy was strong).

    I must say that I am entirely convinced. Gordo out! Election now!

  • Comment number 99.

    The Times article (see #82) says

    "After a working lunch with Mr Brown, Mr Obama will then head off to make a speech at the Department of the Interior before meeting a delegation at the Boy Scouts of America, the White House said."

    Picture the scene:

    Obama to his diary secretary:

    "I'm not cancelling any meetings for this guy, but he can sit with me while I eat my sandwich if that helps him with the media back home".

  • Comment number 100.

    The effrontery of Crash et al flying to the State for an audience with an un-brifed Prezzy is gob smacking. This bunch of imbeciles are the first to complain about the Royal Family using the Royal Flight. So he's got 30 Min's and he's out of there in favour of the boy scouts at least Prezzy BO knows where his priorities lie.

    This incompetent fool is putting green taxes on my petrol, heating and lighting bills erecting monstrosities of Windmills everywhere and preached about global warming. Then he pulls this one out of the bag. With today's technology could this not have been done by video link what was the pressing need to spend ten of thousands of pounds of tax payers money on a jaunt for the boys? This is the man who thinks the British public should take fewer holidays abroad in the interest of global warming you know those air polluting aeroplanes nasty things. I suppose the one he took is special and flaps its wings or does it fly on all the hot air he expels?

    Now we know why he wants Fred's pension back ~ to pay for his little outings.

    Please, please, please if you get the chance be a hit and ask the question other bloggers have posed. Mr President the Prime Minister Say it is all the fault of the US does it not shame you to think your country has brought the World to its knees especially the UK by forcing the unregulated banking system there to earn millions in taxes for the Treasury by giving away 125% mortgages?

 

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