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As good as it gets?

Nick Robinson | 08:58 UK time, Monday, 28 June 2010

For the self-proclaimed new kid on the block, the test of his first summit was not going to be the wording of the final communique but the impression he made.

On that test, David Cameron flew home from Toronto last night feeling pretty satisfied.

The prime minister both impressed and slightly intimidated his fellow G8 leaders when it was revealed that he'd not just gone for a morning jog at their Canadian retreat but had then dived into the lake for a spontaneous swim.

On the summit family photocall, one leader after another can be seen asking him to point out where he'd taken the plunge. Clearly feeling his masculinity threatened, Silvio Berlusconi circulated a photo of himself posing in trunks - taken, it should be said, a few decades ago.

G8 leaders

The image which gave the new boy the most satisfaction though was that of him aboard Marine One - President Obama's official helicopter - travelling from the G8 retreat to the G20 in downtown Toronto. While other leaders had to drive the over-140 miles, the prime minister's aides were boasting that the special relationship "had taken off again".

David Cameron and Barack Obama getting off Marine One helicopter

Back on the ground, the two men swapped beers - the outcome of a drawn bet about whose team would beat the other in the World Cup. They also swapped warm words about how David and Barack would work together.

And work together they must. Both men sense the mounting political pressure of the rapidly escalating death toll for their forces in Afghanistan and the steadily decreasing public support for their continued presence there.

On the economy there can be little doubt that the president felt more comfortable with David Cameron's predecessor than with him. If Gordon Brown had been at this G20 summit, he and Barack Obama would have stood together to warn of the risks of cutting support for the economy too fast.

As it is though, the president chose to help his new ally, praising him in front of other leaders for taking the "necessary courageous action" to tackle Britain's budget deficit.

The same officials who worked on Gordon Brown's summiteering now work with David Cameron. They've been struck by their new boss's cool, calm confidence on the world stage BUT they're quick to point out that he's benefited from the guilt felt at the White House about how they mishandled the first meeting between Brown and Obama.

What they've told the prime minister is that this may be as good as it gets.

The image of this summit that many will see at their breakfast tables this morning is of David Cameron with his head in his hands... when he watched England trounced 4 -1 alongside Germany's Angela Merkel.

David Cameron with his head in his hands

If things do go wrong for him in Afghanistan or the economy, that image may well be used to sum up the fate of a hapless British leader on the world stage rather than to show the global new boy trying to enjoy the football at his first summit.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    NR wrote:
    If things do go wrong for him in Afghanistan or the economy, that image may well be used to sum up the fate of a hapless British leader on the world stage rather than to show the global new boy trying to enjoy the football at his first summit.


    >>

    Yes, good idea.

  • Comment number 2.

    Nick, your use of the future tense in

    "If things do go wrong for him in Afghanistan or the economy"

    is incorrect.

    Things have gone wrong and are still going wrong in both instances.

    The new kid is just the old kid, but more ignorant and even more hidebound by out-of-date policies and tried and tested and failed 'solutions'! Someone has to bury Margaret Thatcher and her disastrous and proven to have failed economic and political policies.

    The majority of our problems stem from being entirely dependent, and having build a society totally dependent, on bankers. It has destroyed all business in the UK. It have even destroyed our football! Except as they fund the propaganda machines and politics (and from foreign bases -i.e. Belize) theirs is the only voice heard.

    Break up the banks NOW. ('40 not 4')

  • Comment number 3.

    So still the one way 'poodle' relationship.

    Cameron grovels at Obama's ankles, Obama does what he fancies.

    Once again - other than the cuts/wealth transfer NO CHANGE from the last lot.

    Important to note that regardless of any spin put on this, there is NO endorsement of Cameron's economic disaster plan. Strangely Obama, and others, don't think taking billions out of a weak economy will make things better. We will need to wait and see who is right.

  • Comment number 4.

    I seriously doubt that the officials from the White House feel guilty about the Brown meeting mishandling. It was only mishandled from Brown's and number 10's point of view.

    What concerns me more is how in your view, Barack is slipping into Brown's nonsense and hypocrisy.

    How can you say that the summit resulted in the G20 agreeing that there was a need to make cuts and to halve the deficit and then say, that had Brown been there, that he and Barack would have been warning of the risk of cuts?

    Then go on to say that Barack actually said that DC was taking 'necessary courageous action'!?

    He either believes that there should be few cuts or that DC is right in the deficit reduction plans he has.

    So lets look at this.. Let us assume that Barack actually means what he says and doesn't mean what you think he's thinking.

    What you are suggesting Nick, is that Barack will pretty much play up to whatever our current Prime Minister wants. That has to be very discouraging for the Americans.

  • Comment number 5.

    So, Cameron having a nice time then. No harm in that. Symbolic for me is not so much the photo (as he watches us go down 4/1) but what the defeat tells us; it reminds us (if we really needed reminding) that when the more affluent members of our society - in this case the footballers - are given an opportunity to contribute to the common stock of health, wealth & happiness, they tend to find a way to avoid it.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm sure Cameron will have lots of "head in hands" days over the next five years, so the picture bank will probably build.

    Sounds as though nobody has worked out where the global growth element will come from. If banks have to hold more capital,they won't be sloshing money about in rediculously suspect loans, so other companies and individuals are going to have to spend more revenue and maybe capital.. Same applies to governments. It will take a while for that habit, rather than the "borrow for current spending" attitude (alongside banking idiocy) that got us into this mess.

  • Comment number 7.

    The plunge into the lake was a bit OTT wasn't it?

    Look forward to other macho stunts on future diplomatic trips.
    Spontaneous jog across the Great Wall of China. Impromptu wrestling with lions in Africa. Bungee jump off Sydney harbour bridge. Lying on bed of nails in India. Kenjutsu sword fighting in Japan. Chili eating contest in Mexico. The photo ops are endless.


  • Comment number 8.

    #3 jon112uk Said "Important to note that regardless of any spin put on this, there is NO endorsement of Cameron's economic disaster plan. Strangely Obama, and others, don't think taking billions out of a weak economy will make things better. We will need to wait and see who is right."

    What is it with you people?

    I don't particularly like Cameron, but you are not even reading what is in front of you and then you are twisting and fabricating your own answers.

    Obama said "necessary courageous action" when talking about Cameron's deficit reduction plans. Which, like it or not, is inferred approval. The word 'necessary' suggests that Obama thinks that Cameron has no choice!

    And he is quite right - we have no money because Labour spent it all and we are not raising enough to carry on borrowing. It amazes me how divorced from reality some people are!

    Also since coming into power has the coalition been tougher than Labour on the banks or easier? Bank tax, new guidelines and breaking up all continuing, that clearly shows that they are taking as tough if not a tougher stance on the banks. So stop blaming the banks, without them we couldn't even afford the few benefit measures that we still have.

    You don't mortgage your house and starve your children to give money to charities. You give money to charity when you have the money to give.

  • Comment number 9.

    David Cameron's image of a leader with his head in his hands will become more common as he moves forward. The media have not really considered the effects of this budget, I doubt the government can deliver it.

    When the spending review comes to fruition, the reality of the cuts appear people will realise that they voted for the same tired old solutions, the same lack of innovation and the same Tory instincts to make the poor poorer.

    I note that most European countries coupled measures on budget reduction with a clamp down on tax evasion. We didn't, possibly Ashcroft wouldn't let this through.

    Coalition government really needs a strong partner, not a lapdog. We really need to see soon if Clegg is anything stronger than a poodle.

    The communique released by the conference was hardly a ringing endorsement of the new governments policies.

    The IMF leader's comments were particularly interesting.

  • Comment number 10.

    Nick

    Why not be candid about these summits: a total waste of time and money. The canadian taxpayer has been fleeced to the tune of 1 Billion canadian Dollars. Value for money? Don't think so.

  • Comment number 11.

    Yet another BBC picture from the G20 of President Obama without our PM. Is the current incumbent an inconvenience for the BBC?

  • Comment number 12.

    #5 Sagamix "in this case the footballers - are given an opportunity to contribute to the common stock of health, wealth & happiness, they tend to find a way to avoid it."

    Thank you that has given me the giggle of the day.

    One thing you can say about Labour, we used to play better football when Labour were in power.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm against multi-national business as it unfortunately exploits the poorest in the country they operate.But the way the president has abused B.P. I find is totally out of order, Apprantly B.P. is using American firms to drill Yes ?? then apportion the blame dear president.Our David should forget the special relationship never the less if David hasn't the bottle I have, I'm sure Nick could ask the president some difficult questions ? so stop pussying around David and be a Real P.M. like Churchill who used and in some cases abused the arrogant americans. All's fair in love and war.

  • Comment number 14.

    pdavies

    as helpful and constructive a remark as ever one has come to expect.

    Afghanistan is already a mess and the economy is already a mess.

    Even the left wing press has begun to concede Gordon Brown's complicity in the mismanagemnt of the economy:

    "Labour has a grave problem: part of the deficit was Brown's fault. Can a new leader judiciously accept some blame, admit some past errors and construct a deficit reduction plan that is solidly convincing, and yet less savage?"

    This was from The Guardian... and goes to the heart of the matter - still the left has no credible plan to deal with the deficit they created. So even if the coalition gets it wrong; the opposition are not proposing a plan 'B' and the colaition does have a plan 'B' - the Bank of England.

    In fact newlabour have a worse problem; not only do they not acknowledge the deficit is a problem but they all deny they had any part in creating it. You couldn't fight another election without a credible plan now the coalition has started this vital work and anyway, how will the argument play 'We will fight to reduce the deficit the tories inherited from us which they were unable to deal with...'???

    So playing little games about future use of photographs is an interesting amusement..but if that were the only game in town there would be psoters of David Miliband everywhere with his banana with the title 'Stop this monkey business'.

    The real story is being deliberately avoided by the media because it has an unpalatable conclusion; that we are headed for a long stretch of centre right politics and probably under a coalition. The far left will sieze control of the newlabour party and the far right have been out manoeuvered by Cameron in the tory party. I fail to understand why the media don't believe this to be a good thing.

    Cameron is and always was a manager and a pretty good one at that. What he won't be doing is confusing public and personal morality, with the disasterous results for the nation's emotional health that we had under newlabour.

    The pulpit politics of newlabour is gone and no-one wants it back. The opinion polls are telling the media this; that the majority support the coalition, support the cuts, support the budget but the media continue to talk old politics. They speak of cracks in the coalition, problems down the line, difficulty of delivering effeiciencies - they are in desperate need of a fiscal lifeline telling them 'it's the right thing to do' .The media don't like the idea that the coalition partners are prepared to argue their case in newspapers, on the radio and on the TV. And they now appear desperate (see above) to find a photograph that will have some deeper meaning in the future. It's all rather dull. But at least it's not dull in that lowest common denmonator dull way of newlabour. Tractor production and targets are being met...oh whoopppee!

    It's a great time to be a tory..


  • Comment number 15.

    "They also swapped warm words about how David and Barack would work together."

    Do they really talk of themselves in the third person?

  • Comment number 16.

    That picture sums him up, a faliure in every sense of the word but with a public school bully as a mate, what do you expect?

  • Comment number 17.

    What of impoverished nations?

    The UK, US and Canada agreed to continue assistance to those in dire need of help, whereas France, Italy, Germany and Japan chose the selfish, greedy route of turning their backs.

    When things take a turn for the worse, it's not long before the noble and selfess stand out from the petty and parochial.

    However bad we have it, at least we have food, clean water, shelter and peace.

  • Comment number 18.

    Wow - man swims in the morning shock!
    Is this really worthy of such comment from the political editor when we are in the middle of an economic crisis?
    If the other leaders really are "intimidated" by some guy who swims then I worry even more about the future!

  • Comment number 19.

    This blog reminds of comments made by BBC football commentators during the England football team's qualification campaign.

    Why oh why do we constantly overestimate our importance and ability?

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm really glad we've been told about David Cameron's exercise regime, it's very important to the success of the country and the G20.

  • Comment number 21.

    The economy and Afghanistan are minor problems. When will world leaders start talking about the longer term and much more serious issues of overpopulation and declining crude oil supplies? These threaten global wars and the collapse of western civilisation as we know it. Too difficult, I suppose ....

  • Comment number 22.

    I often feel I'm reading 'Socialist Weekly' when I read the comments & posts on this blog. Come to that - the blog articles Nick writes can be a bit "pink" too.

    How about some truly unbiased writing, Nick? Sky News can be pro-right if it wants, as it answers to shareholders.

    The BBC, on the other hand, is funded by the UK government of the day i.e. us taxpayers; so how about a bit of impartial balance all round?

  • Comment number 23.

    5 - What utter drivel. The German team played well and contributed to Germany's common stock of happiness. The German players are as affluent as the English.

    To try and score some sort of socio-political point from a poor performance by the England team is absurd.

    What next? A 4-5-1 formation might lead to the creation of world peace and lasting harmony?

    Your deluded and delusional.

  • Comment number 24.

    The boy Dave is treated very well by president Obama what would you expect BP have just donated £13billion to the reflate the southern states.
    This is money to repair the oil spill damage but its $20 billion Barrack doesnt need to find.So Obama can support the savage cutts he doesn't have to make pollitics marvelous

  • Comment number 25.

    rockRobin7

    I think the Guardian stopped being left wing a little while ago. Have a read of it and you'll see some pretty right wing values. And it's multi home-owning affluent baby boomer readership doesn't exactly fit the profile either. Maybe it's centre-left on a good day (or bad day, depending on your point of view).

  • Comment number 26.

    This new kid is becoming more like the old kids of the nasty party, peddling 19th century economic theories for an age where technology, not banking, should be leading the way to prosperity.The entire debate about economic problems has been turned into a parade of punishments for the so-called work shy, and the main problem requiring a solution is how to cut welfare. At last the British people can point to the problems caused by their next door neighbours, rather than the international banking fraternity, and the failure of politicians to look ahead towards a science led future where drudgery and many types of health destroying work is done by machines. The new kid knows how to manipulate the gullible but he belongs in the 19th century as a workhouse manager.

  • Comment number 27.


    Jolly decent of "call me Dave" to jump in the lake.The honeymoon must be over,then!

  • Comment number 28.

    Nick, your sub-editor and Ceefax might disagree, but it's:
    'The President' or 'President Obama' not 'president'

    Similarly, we have a 'Prime Minister', or 'the PM', not a 'prime minister'.
    Capital Letters, please for Heads of Government.

    [Show some respect!}

    Good drive on Top Gear, too!

  • Comment number 29.

    Robin @ 14 wrote:
    as helpful and constructive a remark as ever one has come to expect.


    >>

    Thanks. It was at least succinct. I couldn't get through your reply, I'm afraid, but I'm sure it's very good.

  • Comment number 30.

    Strange how you seem to believe that the Us and Obama are some kind of global impartial umpire.

    1. He's a Democrat.
    2) They have their own interests.

    As they reduce their deficit they want to be exporting to countries who are in a position to take their goods and therefore it is in their interests not to have their target markets running austerity measures.

  • Comment number 31.

    Nick

    that's an old picture of when Cameron saw the books and realised just how much damage Brown and Labour have done.

    also can you please remember that all of the action being taken are squarely Labours fault as they caused the said damage.

  • Comment number 32.


    Nick, I don't suppose it's too much to ask to give the new government a chance before making futuristic assumptions about "the fate of a hapless British leader on the world stage".

    If things work out well this kind of thing is just more biased fluff from an organisation that's supposedly impartial, if things do go catastrophically pear-shaped I'm sure there will be other pictures to sum up how bad things are.

  • Comment number 33.

    I still can't make up my mind if I like Cameron or not. I approve of most of what he's been doing so far, but then the PR stunts here just seem so fake and really not how he is that I doubt his sincerity. I know its extremely niave of me to say, but I was hoping that we might start removing the importance of personality from politics and take it back to just the actual issues rather than about what their smile was like or what they were wearing.

  • Comment number 34.

    David Cameron is making an impressive start and despite all the talk of rifts with Europe is proving able to maintain a relevant and warm relationship with the EU leaders, and the US.

    That our economy is one of the worst affected is recognised and accepted as justifying the measures taken by the Coalition. Naturally, just as Gordon Brown couldn't guarantee an end to boom and bust David Cameron can't guarantee his measures won't need adjustment as events unfold, but he's not making brave statements about having fixed it before it's happened.

  • Comment number 35.

    ( The same officials who worked on Gordon Brown's summiteering now work with David Cameron. )

    This was the most intelligence I got out of this report of Nick's which I heard this morning on Today.

    The same officials. We are stuck with THEM. We get a new leader, but we are stuck with THE SAME officials. How can we get intelligent CHANGE, if all the officials are THE SAME officials?

    Otherwise, I think David Cameron did an amazing job at the G20. He didn't mention whether he was a Globalist or not. And rightly so, because at this point of Economic Re-Engineering, the shift is towards more local economic systems, but only a GRADUAL LIMITED shift towards local systems. How do you explain that to an electorate who were still wasting their time pinning their hopes on the World Cup, instead of saying Good Morning to their neighbours? You don't. It dawns on them like the endlessly cloudless skies in England this summer.

  • Comment number 36.

    CBC pointed out that of all the leaders at the G8 summit only President Obama had flying privileges from Muskoka to Toronto, hence the 'lift' for the Prime Minister. This titbit speaks volumes about the comparative roles of Canada -- the host nation, treated as almost irrelevant in most of the BBC's reporting -- and Mr. Cameron himself, who must be viewed by the BBC, it seems, through an Obama lens.

    David Cameron is bright, articulate, and refreshingly frank, and appears to be willing to re-balance the 'special' relationship back in favour of his own country. More power to him.

  • Comment number 37.

    So cameron was given a ride in the president's helicopter I hope that we will not start the special relationship comments. We should understand that we are pawns in the US/China economic stitch-up and the sooner we realise that the US companies and senate will continue to trat the UK as a market to make a fast buck in and nothing else the better it will be.

  • Comment number 38.

    It is disturbing to hear and read the hatred and sheer venom put out by supporters of the former government and members of that government now sitting in opposition! I am fast losing any sympathy with left of centre politics as I would not want to be branded as having the same hatred and spewing the same venom.

    Why should words like "class" and "breeding" be used to label people, leaders and politicians in particular? I thought we fought two world wars to quash society that espoused these qualities, and the fact that we claim to have won these important wars, should be incentive to stop this kind of talk!

  • Comment number 39.

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

  • Comment number 40.

    "And it's multi home-owning affluent baby boomer readership doesn't exactly fit the profile either."

    The profile of what?

    The profile of the skint, abject, sent up chimneys poor, who everyone professes to have gone into politics to represent?

    Or

    The profile of the Islington, left wing champagne socialist faux-intellectual who wouldnt know anyone from a lower social order if they fell over them in Hampstead High St???

  • Comment number 41.

    Ahh Nick, you have summed up my own gut feeling.

    Cameron I think was counting on a feel good factor from the World Cup, or at least some sort of feeling that England were hard done by. The reality of it was we had a group of no hopers pretending to be world class. (remind you of anyone Mr Cameron?).

    Cameron, is looking more and more like his Steve Bell caracture, more and more hollow!

    What people seem to have missed is yes, the Tories have gone up in the polls, but so have Labour (without even a leader!)

    Bad time to be Tory methinks!

  • Comment number 42.

    2. At 09:43am on 28 Jun 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    ...The new kid is just the old kid, but more ignorant and even more hidebound by out-of-date policies and tried and tested and failed 'solutions'! Someone has to bury Margaret Thatcher and her disastrous and proven to have failed economic and political policies...

    Oddly, John f H, this government is going back to one bit of Thatcher's policy you should like - PROPER regulation of the banks.

    If the UK and US regulatory regimes had stopped them lending rediculous amounts to dubious borrowers, then creating all sorts of arcane (and apparently worthless) special instruments to pretend there was real value while little existed, things would have been better.

    Then, we'd only have to deal with the Billions that Brown borrowed to "boost and invest in" the UK economy...

    Odd that New Labour allowed Westinghouse to be flogged off, before they made a U-turn and decided that nuclear power was "green" and urgently needed.

    Odd too, that the UK remains a place with very significant high-tech capabilities. Just not attended to, by Brown, with as much help as he provided the bankers.

  • Comment number 43.

    #5 ERF "Build in Britian" (they build lorries)
    Triumph "Made in England" (Motorcyles)

    Something that the BBC and the leftwinger reactionary inteligianca
    have not allowed to be promoted in the last 40 years as a grass routes
    movement called PC.

    Most of the Endland team would have gone through an education system
    where the History and meaning of being English has been dismissed.

    So how do you expect those to understand the passion of being English/british , even when its the 70n anniversary of the Battle of Britian.

  • Comment number 44.

    #5 " but what the defeat tells us; it reminds us (if we really needed reminding) that when the more affluent members of our society - in this case the footballers - are given an opportunity to contribute to the common stock of health, wealth & happiness, they tend to find a way to avoid it"

    Unfortunately for you the England team have been donating all their international appearance fees to a charity researching colo-rectal cancer for the past few years. Your comment also implies that England CHOOSE to lose.... personally I favour incompetence over conspiracy. The same applies to politics.

    P.S I bet the German team have made the average German a lot happier though.

  • Comment number 45.

    "On the economy there can be little doubt that the president felt more comfortable with David Cameron's predecessor than with him. If Gordon Brown had been at this G20 summit, he and Barack Obama would have stood together to warn of the risks of cutting support for the economy too fast."

    Says who? Apart from you? Theres one word for this paragraph; Supposition.

    "The same officials who worked on Gordon Brown's summiteering now work with David Cameron. They've been struck by their new boss's cool, calm confidence on the world stage BUT they're quick to point out that he's benefited from the guilt felt at the White House about how they mishandled the first meeting between Brown and Obama."

    "Guilt"???? Are you for real?????

    "If things do go wrong for him in Afghanistan or the economy, that image may well be used to sum up the fate of a hapless British leader on the world stage rather than to show the global new boy trying to enjoy the football at his first summit."

    Cant you just stick to the facts? "If"????? If my uncle had boobs, he'd be my Auntie!

  • Comment number 46.

    I think that we should continue to feel gratified that the UK carries enough weight to have a seat around the G8 table. That's it.

  • Comment number 47.

    I cant help feeling that 'Obama' & 'Cameron' may have had a few other things to talk over other than hello & welcome.
    Come On BBC! He's in power now so back off with the spin.
    My main concern is that 'Cameron' is much more of a yes man than his predecessor.
    I genuinely hope this is not the case.

  • Comment number 48.

    I sense, on the centre-right of British politics, some movement away from the US and towards France and Germany (without exaggerating this movement).

    If so, it is not at all what was expected from a Conservative Prime Minister a few months ago.

    The triggers are BP, and the timing of deficit reduction plans.

    There is also, I think, a lack of confidence in the US/UK economic model in the UK, and a lack of confidence in the euro project in France and especially Germany. This may bring the three European countries closer together.

  • Comment number 49.

    41. At 1:04pm on 28 Jun 2010, Vic Singh wrote:

    Bad time to be Tory methinks!

    ===

    Vic, having read your posts for several months its clear that you'd slag off the tories if they gave you a winning lottery ticket.

    Bad time to be tory?

    Compared to supporting the previous government who's major goal seems to have been to bankrupt the coutry before leaving the mess to someone else - and then have the front to attack them for trying to clean it up before the stench gets too strong.

    If I was a labour supporter I'd be too embarrassed to show my face in public.

  • Comment number 50.

    The Key decision amongst the G20 was not about love-ins: important though those are for Red Tops, but what to do about the European recession and mass unemployment?
    It’s the Brown plan stupid! Brown being a colour mixed from elements of both red and blue: symbolic of some political mixture.
    But Brown is not just a colour. Gordon Brown was the author in 2008 of the ‘Bank Re-capitalisation’ approach that the Eurozone is belatedly drifting towards. And which the US Government adopted as the key part of its own bank rescue - instead of TARP.
    Here’s an overview of how the Brown Bank rescue plan will unfold over the next few months. Results of stress tests of some Spanish and German Banks will inevitably provoke demands from bond markets for stress tests on other banks. Those demands will provoke widespread and similar audits all across the Eurozone. Resistors will be punished with declining Bond values and commensurate higher interest charges on their debts. Those pressures for widespread stress tests will become irresistible.
    Some banks will be found to be technically bankrupt. Or so nearly bust that they must cease lending. Rather than allow either, Eurozone governments will inject capital into their distressed banks in exchange for equity shares priced at suitably distressed levels. In some cases they will also offer guarantees of bank debts (paid for with more share issuance) to enable Banks to raise capital from open markets rather than face control of their operations by their governments. In short, the mirror image of the Brown (Gordon) plan of 2008 that has kept our economy afloat and growing since.
    Governments and Lande that own portions of those bank equities will face a steep drop in the value of their assets. That massive ‘haircut’ is their punishment for not taking care of their duty of supervision in the past. Just as UK shareholders that owned Northern Rock, RBS and Lloyds Group have lost much of their share values.
    Governments all over the Eurozone will at first curse the Brown Plan for forcing them to take on more bank liabilities. As their re-capitalised banks resume lending, households get spending again and their economy picks-up, they may change that curse to a blessing. Especially as they find their shares are appreciating in value over their initial market value.
    History will be very generous to the ‘Brown Plan’. It’s already been successfully adopted in the USA and in the UK and will now spread to the Eurozone.

  • Comment number 51.

    Sounds like nothing has changed. America is plundering one of our biggest corporations and Mr Cameron accepts this. Any word if the Indian Government (at the G20) is asking for a similar deal for Bhopal?

    Britain remains America's foreign policy poodle.

    Obama take his poodle in the helicopter like the Queen takes her corgis.

  • Comment number 52.

    Mr Robinson - sour grapes or what? Everything is going swimmingly for the Prime Minister at the G8 and G20 meetings but you simply must put an oar in.
    Might I remark that this is pure New Labour. Attack the Tories at every opportunity. A leopard never changes its spots and neither does the mantra.

  • Comment number 53.

    sircomespect @ 12

    "Thank you that has given me the giggle of the day. One thing you can say about Labour, we used to play better football when Labour were in power."

    And thank you (for saying so). Andy at 23 is not so enamoured - "utter drivel" is what he's settled on, along with me being "deluded and delusional". Yes ... BOTH of those. Harsh and unnecessary.

    On a brighter and more serious note, it's true (as you've spotted) that the only time we won anything at the global game was under Labour. And there IS a real connection between politics and our footballing prowess (or lack of it). In 1970 - the general election of that summer - Wilson was killing Heath and was cruising back to power, when something happened. Over in Mexico, we played (yes you've guessed it) the Germans in a WC knockout match; we went 2-0 up and then lost it 3/2, came home to a nation in shock (we had thought we'd win the whole thing). The mood of the country took a plunge and Wilson's lead disappeared just like that. On polling day, Heath won. The rest (3 day week, miners' strike, heavy handed policing, bad hair) is history.

  • Comment number 54.

    "44. At 1:38pm on 28 Jun 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:
    #5 " but what the defeat tells us; it reminds us (if we really needed reminding) that when the more affluent members of our society - in this case the footballers - are given an opportunity to contribute to the common stock of health, wealth & happiness, they tend to find a way to avoid it"

    Unfortunately for you the England team have been donating all their international appearance fees to a charity researching colo-rectal cancer for the past few years. Your comment also implies that England CHOOSE to lose.... personally I favour incompetence over conspiracy. The same applies to politics."

    I never knew that. I guess it's because these wealthy individuals chose to donate quietly, without fanfare, in the way that the more affluent often do.

    what saga's comments tell us (if we really needed reminding) is that when the more politically demented members of our society are given an opportunity to contribute to the debate, they tend to find a way to steamroller facts to suit their own purposes.

    Perhaps I'm being unfair on saga, perhaps he's donated un-needed bedsits to a homeless charity?

  • Comment number 55.

    8. At 10:29am on 28 Jun 2010, sircomespect

    "Courageous" is a term many people use as a euphemism for 'stupid, I wouldn't do that' last time two of us used that term at work the person involved took the hint and changed their proposed course of action.

    If Obama thinks the cuts are such a good idea, why isn't he doing it?


    "...we have no money because Labour spent it all..." - we have no money because a bunch of spiv bankers collapsed the economy, reducing our income by over a trillion pounds. Debt is about how much you earn as well as how much you spend.


  • Comment number 56.

    "BUT they're quick to point out that he's benefited from the guilt felt at the White House about how they mishandled the first meeting between Brown and Obama."

    I thought Obama got the first meeting between Brown and himself just right. Trying to escape through the kitchens so as to avoid Brown altogether was good thinking and having Brown panting behind as Obama strood through the kitchens summed up Brown's usefulness to world affairs. Who knows, he might have slipped and mopped up a spill with his jacket. That, at least, would have been something positive for Brown to cling on to.

  • Comment number 57.

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm now torn between Blinky Balls and Diane Abbott for the Labour Leadership... help me make a decision, Auntie Beeb, you're in their pockets, you know what the word on the street is...

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/janetdaley/100045172/diane-abbott-thinks-it-is-cruel-to-encourage-people-to-find-work/

  • Comment number 59.

    47 - "My main concern is that 'Cameron' is much more of a yes man than his predecessor.
    I genuinely hope this is not the case."

    Yes Brown was very much a 'no' man wasn't he....

    "Shouldn't we stop spending so much?"
    "Shoudn't we stop increasing taxes?"
    "Shouldn't we at least think about what we spend the money on?"

  • Comment number 60.

    @fairlyopenmind15
    "Oddly, John f H, this government is going back to one bit of Thatcher's policy you should like - PROPER regulation of the banks."

    Oddly, failryopenmind15 we must have studied different economic and historical works? You'll find that the beginning of the de-regulaiton of the banks began with Mrs Thatcher who introduced measures of privatization, state budget cuts, moves against labour and deregulation of the financial markets. The model was kept going under Gordon Brown but he did not produce this economic model.

  • Comment number 61.

    "One thing you can say about Labour, we used to play better football when Labour were in power."

    Really?
    If I remember correctly we didn't even QUALIFY for Euro 2008.
    Wasn't Broon still in charge then?

  • Comment number 62.

    50#

    Interesting thesis.

    Not sure I agree 100%, but I can see what you're driving at and it wouldnt surprise me if that is the scenario that unfolds.

    However. Whilst Brown's plan to throw money at these organisations may well have been the most expeditious solution, one has to bear in mind that his flawed regulatory model, whilst not exclusively to blame, IMVHO certainly exacerbated the problem, so far as the UK is concerned.

    He may have had a fix for the problem but he was in a position where he could have influenced prevention as against cure and he didnt do so. He was far too busy knifing Blair in the back for ten years and as a couple of well placed authors are on record as saying, Team Brown took over without any strategic plan as to what to do - the main objective was getting Blair out and Brown into the top job. Not to improve the lot of the average citizen - but to sate the ego of the son of the manse.

    He cannot walk away claiming to be the saviour of the world. The Iron Chancellor was in reality, the Tin Man.

  • Comment number 63.

    As usual, in public at least, these conferences have turned out to be a mutual admiration contest. The etiquette seems to be that you do not say anything in public which might adversely effect anyone else's political position at home.

    We do not know what is actually said bilaterally in private. What did Cameron and Obama say to each other during the helicopter ride?

  • Comment number 64.

    14. rockRobin7.

    Agreed, but what I fail to see is any long term plan for the revival of our country.
    The Victorians had a plan, the Indians & the Chinese have a plan, but the Tories – sorry, the Alliance – have no plan.

    The suggestion that they may cut the education budget by up to 25% is a very good example of a lack of any long term vision & indicates to me that the Government see no long term future revival of our economy.

    In 5 years time we can look forward to seeing even more employers leaving the UK because (here we go again - same sad excuses), they can’t find the educated &/or skilled people they need to do business here.

    Either that, or we can look forward to even more skilled immigrants being let into the country to fill the void, but that doesn’t help our citizens does it?

    Britain was once led by visionaries, but now it is led by small minded people who think of a 6 month plan as being long term.
    A monkey can make cuts, but it takes a true leader to map a future; one we appear to lack.

    One important thing you need to remember; after all was said & done, the Tories failed to get an outright victory at the last Election.
    If they failed to do it at the height of Brown’s unpopularity, what do you think will happen when they face the wrath of a down trodden public in a few years time.

    “It's a great time to be a Tory”.

    Indeed, & I suggest they make the most of it now, because the honeymoon is over.
    Remember; cuts are great as long as they happen to somebody else & those who advocate a slash & burn policy of cuts are usually the very people who whinge the most when it’s their turn to be on the receiving end.

  • Comment number 65.

    53 after a series of wet, gloomy summers under labour, this one's turning into a great one under the coalition. The occasional dreary day is, of course, down to the Lib-Dems but the sunshine is all caused by Dave C and Boris J.

  • Comment number 66.

    #50 Leftie wrote:
    "History will be very generous to the ‘Brown Plan’."

    If by this you mean the banking recapitalisation then it may be. At a strategic level there was no alternative (though historians may debate the details, e.g. whether weakening Lloyds was actually necessary). Let's agree that it was Brown's finest hour.

    However, if you want to extrapolate from the banking recapitalisation to other aspects of Brown's economic policy then I don't agree, and I doubt that Brown will receive a generous reception at all.

    And of course for a Brown plan to be needed at all a number of mistakes had to be made earlier.

  • Comment number 67.

    #55 jon112uk:
    "we have no money because a bunch of spiv bankers collapsed the economy, reducing our income by over a trillion pounds"

    How did you arrive at that figure? Did you just make it up?

  • Comment number 68.

    55 - "we have no money because a bunch of spiv bankers collapsed the economy, reducing our income by over a trillion pounds. Debt is about how much you earn as well as how much you spend."

    Reduced our income by over a trillion pounds? Care to elaborate?

    National debt was 600 bn even before the banking crisis. And what was it Brown was spending like a demented shopaholic? You guessed it, tax on banking profits, tax on bankers' bonuses. Withouth those Brown would just have borowed more.

    Labour don't understand finance, they don't understand economics and they don't understand taxation.

    Thank goodness they are political history.

  • Comment number 69.

    Vic Singh...

    so you make an interesting, if irrelevant, analogy between Cameron and the England football team.

    Sadly, the England football team are emblematic of the way this country was run by newlabour...

    They were overpaid; they were never wrong; no-one was allowed to lose; if they won it was all to their credit, if they lost it was someone else's fault. English football represents everything that was such a disaster about newlabour from their flashing the cash to them flashing their teeth they have been self regarding and preening from the get-go.

    This country needs several years of repaying newlabour's fantasy island economic experiment.

    When are sporting sides start behaving like adults, winning matches and accepting defeat for the lesson it has taught them then we shall be turning the corner; just so on the economy too. #

    And yes, jsut like some other poster has already made clear; that photo of David Cameron could equally be used as the moment he saw the size of the black hole in the national accounts.

    It's a great time to be a tory... (and flattered by all these sign off impersonators)

  • Comment number 70.

    Saga your posts about the government and football are most interesting. Isn't it only really in North Korea that the "Dear Leader" takes that much interest in the football?

  • Comment number 71.

    Anyone who attributes the economic crisis only to Brown, or only to bankers, is guilty of ignorance.

  • Comment number 72.

    38. At 12:43pm on 28 Jun 2010, TheCommonMan wrote:

    Why should words like "class" and "breeding" be used to label people, leaders and politicians in particular? I thought we fought two world wars to quash society that espoused these qualities, and the fact that we claim to have won these important wars, should be incentive to stop this kind of talk!
    -----------------------
    I agree the class issue is very annoying but still exists in our Society - why do the left insist on perpetuating the idea of a divide?

    By the way - how many working class mates do you think Cameron or Osborne have - do you think they have ever socialised with working or lower middle class people never mind having any as friends? Doesn't help that we have so many Etonians/Oxbridge graduates gaining positions of power in Govt or is it just their innate superior intelligence that gains them these positions? Or could it have something to do with wealth and easier access to 'better' schooling and people of influence.How many bright working class people have made it to positions of real power? Very few I suspect - why do you think this is?

  • Comment number 73.

    It's a wonderful world:

    Brown's gone.

    And that empty suit Obama will be gone come the next US election.

  • Comment number 74.

    Mr Robinson,
    I think a number of posters here are being a little harsh about your article. It must be difficult to constuct any sort of an article, nevermind a vibrant and interesting one, out of World Leaders meet - nothing happens.
    We might have expected 'Crime and Punishment' (the Bankers), 'War and Peace' (Afghanistan) or 'Good Housekeeping' (sensible budgetary measures), but all we got was 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner' (Dave goes jogging) and 'Waiting for Godot' (nothing happens.......twice).

  • Comment number 75.

    By the way was Andy Coulson in charge whilst Cameron was away - understand 'we' are paying him more than we are paying Nick Clegg, our Deputy PM? Who decides on these salaries? Is this waste that can be trimmed?

  • Comment number 76.

    Will Cameron do a Putin and hug a polar bear after hugging a hoodie?

  • Comment number 77.

    Robin

    Finding it hard to nod off at siesta time, I essayed your magnum opus again, and success! (On both fronts.) When I awoke, the phrase that stuck in my mind was the one about Cameron having out-manoeuvred the far right of his party.

    You appear to be reinventing yourself as a centrist. This is good in one sense (welcome!) but might not convince those of us who remember your posts from before the election.

    When you were at Ascot (I assume you went) did you keep rushing up to the counter after the race had finished, trying to back the winner?

  • Comment number 78.

    "61. At 3:39pm on 28 Jun 2010, Citizen0 wrote:
    "One thing you can say about Labour, we used to play better football when Labour were in power."

    Really?
    If I remember correctly we didn't even QUALIFY for Euro 2008.
    Wasn't Broon still in charge then?"

    we didn't qualify for the world cup in '74 or '78 either. That was under a Labour government.

  • Comment number 79.

    Good to see that you acknowledge that the media will use any unrelated image to try and slant a story to suit their own agenda.

    What a shock....

  • Comment number 80.

    62. At 3:49pm on 28 Jun 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    However. Whilst Brown's plan to throw money at these organisations may well have been the most expeditious solution, one has to bear in mind that his flawed regulatory model, whilst not exclusively to blame, IMVHO certainly exacerbated the problem, so far as the UK is concerned.
    He may have had a fix for the problem but he was in a position where he could have influenced prevention as against cure and he didnt do so.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Plausible argument.
    Possible alternative - Governments don't regulate banks and markets, banks and markets regulate Governments. Then Brown was simply trying to ameliorate the worst effects of their decisions?

  • Comment number 81.

    60. At 3:29pm on 28 Jun 2010, Welshygems21 wrote:
    @fairlyopenmind15
    "Oddly, John f H, this government is going back to one bit of Thatcher's policy you should like - PROPER regulation of the banks."

    Oddly, failryopenmind15 we must have studied different economic and historical works? You'll find that the beginning of the de-regulaiton of the banks began with Mrs Thatcher who introduced measures of privatization, state budget cuts, moves against labour and deregulation of the financial markets. The model was kept going under Gordon Brown but he did not produce this economic model.


    Welshygems21,

    Thatcher certainly changed the regulations that kept so called traditional (essential retail) banks and what we now call "casino" banks to co-exist within a single corporate structure.

    BUT the regulations (that were put in place to make sure that bankers behaved reasonably sensibly) actually lasted and worked for quite a while. I struggle to recall a significant bank that failed during the Thatcher/ Major years.
    Any reminders?

    Brown changed the regulatory framework.

    It's nonsense to say that the UK environment had nothing to do with the collapse "That started in the USA" as Brown droned on and on.
    It has been revealed that US-based banks "rolled" some of their dodgiest transactions through their UK arms because Brown's rules for the City were even less stringent that the US Securities rules.

    Welshy....
    "You'll find that the beginning of the de-regulaiton of the banks began with Mrs Thatcher who introduced measures of privatization, state budget cuts, moves against labour and deregulation of the financial markets."

    I agree that Thatcher allowed banks to change their shape.

    Privatisation of Publicly Owned corporations (most of which started as privately funded organisations) would hardly have been necessary if those companies were performing properly.
    Do you think that British Leyland delivered the best output of UK manufacturing technology? There were many people who tried to make it work. Then Trade Unions who thought they could milk the company.
    When the Uk - then and now - is capable of innovative high-tech development, can you name a single Trade Union leader who tried to rein in the rediculous posturing that eventually destroyed a UK-owned car-manufacturing industry?
    (There were more cars produced in the UK in 2008 than ever. How many were made by UK-owned companies?)

    Yeah, that "state budget cuts" stuff keeps coming up.

    "The State" gets its money from available profit from companies it owns, the tax-payer and borrowings.

    Brown showed that politicians can get impatient and decide to borrow and spend on current outlay (which means our kids get to pick up the bill).

    I have a lot of problems with Thatcher's approach. But that was all a long time ago.

    Blair and Brown had 13 years to try and rebalance things. Tell me, just how much of the UK's "State" budget was channelled into industry when Brown was Chancellor and PM?

    We had years of social engineering. I'd have preferred years of genuine engineering. (Don't forget that most of the Formula One teams are based in he UK - because we have a tradition and the ability to do really demanding things quickly if needed...)

  • Comment number 82.

    68. AndyC555 wrote:

    “Labour don't understand finance”.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Now I wonder where they got their ideas from?
    Probably the same people who gave us the ERM, Big Bang & my negative equity.

    Oh no I’m having an 80’s flashback- not good,not good at all.

  • Comment number 83.

    "71. At 4:03pm on 28 Jun 2010, johnharris66 wrote:
    Anyone who attributes the economic crisis only to Brown, or only to bankers, is guilty of ignorance."

    It would be interesting to compute what the UK's finaces would have been like with no banking crisis and Brown's contunued proflagate spending with and with no profligate spending and a banking crisis. I think the former would have been more of a disaster than the latter.

    It's also worth remembering that Brown's sppending wasa likely to hit a recession some time and there was no plan for when it did. Remember his plans claimed an end to boom & bust.

  • Comment number 84.

    71. At 4:03pm on 28 Jun 2010, johnharris66 wrote:
    Anyone who attributes the economic crisis only to Brown, or only to bankers, is guilty of ignorance.

    Or knowing more than you.............

  • Comment number 85.

    jh66 @ 71

    "Anyone who attributes the economic crisis only to Brown, or only to bankers, is guilty of ignorance."

    I agree. Neither is exclusively to blame and to say so smacks of ignorance - or in the case of prop peddlers of either side, a wilful desire to mislead. The interesting area is where the balance lies between the Bank Factor and the Brown Factor; my next post will address this point.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    3. At 09:46am on 28 Jun 2010, jon112uk wrote:
    So still the one way 'poodle' relationship.


    I think you are being a little unfair

    Calling Obama a poodle

    Like it or not, Brown was unpopular abroad, and Cameron is well liked

    You may disagree with Cameron's policies, well you do, yet he will get them heard, whereas Brown simply talked the Uk into disagreements with many...Russia being the most damaging

    I believe Cameron has impressed home and abroad in his first seven weeks as PM, with only those who would dislike him whatever he does against him

    Like you

  • Comment number 88.

    72. At 4:14pm on 28 Jun 2010, dancingvalerie wrote:

    ...I agree the class issue is very annoying but still exists in our Society - why do the left insist on perpetuating the idea of a divide?

    By the way - how many working class mates do you think Cameron or Osborne have - do you think they have ever socialised with working or lower middle class people never mind having any as friends? Doesn't help that we have so many Etonians/Oxbridge graduates gaining positions of power in Govt or is it just their innate superior intelligence that gains them these positions? Or could it have something to do with wealth and easier access to 'better' schooling and people of influence.How many bright working class people have made it to positions of real power? Very few I suspect - why do you think this is?...

    DancingV,

    Maybe if grammar schools had continued as the academic springboard for anybody (from whatever background), there would have been more people from across all the spectrum in "positions of power".

    I rather think that comprehesnsive schooling would have been better springboards if teachers could simply say to children "Come in, sit down, shut up and learn as much as you possibly can, because this is the best opportunity you'll ever get".
    Instead of which we have all sorts of "children's rights", "child-centred teachng" and "exam-adjustment" rubbish that you would never get away with in China, Japan and India - who you may have realised are thye future competition for UK children...

  • Comment number 89.

    Enough already!
    NewLabour have gone...waste of time kicking a corpse.

    So...lets look forward. First question: Given that each Public Sector dept. will,on average, be called upon to cut about 25%...which if Health and Int.Dev are out of bounds, means for some nearer 30% Can this be delivered and how ?

    The usual get rid of waste, non-jobs, quangos ideas need not bother...it won't even scratch the surface.(NB. most of the non-jobs are in health anyway.)

    Most private sector hatchet men will tell you that on average cutting waste, trimming fat etc etc in a organisation will at most give you 15% if you're lucky.

    And remember Cameron thinks the public sector does an "incredibly important job"...so abolishing whole dept ideas seems a no-no as well. Can George deliver, and how?

    Discuss

  • Comment number 90.

    5. At 10:13am on 28 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:
    So, Cameron having a nice time then. No harm in that. Symbolic for me is not so much the photo (as he watches us go down 4/1) but what the defeat tells us; it reminds us (if we really needed reminding) that when the more affluent members of our society - in this case the footballers - are given an opportunity to contribute to the common stock of health, wealth & happiness, they tend to find a way to avoid it.

    Never mind affluence, this post is pure effluence

  • Comment number 91.

    andy @ 83

    "It would be interesting to compute what the UK's finances would have been like with no banking crisis and Brown's continued profligate spending, with no profligate spending and a banking crisis. I think the former would have been more of a disaster than the latter."

    And you'd be wrong. If you do that exercise properly - which means adding back (a) the collapse in government income (tax receipts) and the increase in government spending (unemployment) caused by the recession (caused by the credit crunch which was in turn caused by the collapse of the banking and financial system) - as well as (b) the actual cost to date of the bailout itself ... in order to isolate the impact of Brown’s “profligate” spending pre crisis (i.e. before 2008) ... you will see that the impact of the former (the banking meltdown factor) is significantly greater than that of the latter (the Brown domestic spending factor). This also accords with commonsense observation of the situation in other developed economies. It is, let’s not mince words here, a stone cold fact - to deny it spells either ignorance of macro economics and finance, or a general lack of intelligence, or a desire to peddle anti labour propaganda. Or all three, since they are by no means mutually exclusive (are they, Andy?).

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    18. At 11:00am on 28 Jun 2010, jambo73 wrote:

    Wow - man swims in the morning shock!
    Is this really worthy of such comment from the political editor when we are in the middle of an economic crisis?
    If the other leaders really are "intimidated" by some guy who swims then I worry even more about the future!

    ===============================

    Cameron is just a PR man, I would have been more impressed if he had had 3 shredded wheat in his breakfast.

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    At least I received a few replies to my last post.

    An alternative, and more abstract, formulation is:

    "Anyone who attributes the economic crisis only to politicians, or only to bankers, is guilty of ignorance".

    There are several circles of guilt (a venn diagram comes to mind, or perhaps Dante's circles of hell).

    On the failings within the banking sector we have: market participants, senior banking executives, regulators, rating agencies (and of course politicians who set up the overall control environment).

    Then we have the international dimension, mainly a failure in the US and UK banking systems, which had a knock-on effect on Europe (but less in Asia).

    Then we have the period before the credit crunch itself, the explosion of private and public debt, again particularly in the US and the UK, lax monetary policy, the asset bubble (and the politicans who set the mometary framework and operated fiscal policy).

    I now see this as an complex and interconnected systems failure for which the responsibility lies more with politicians than bankers, though of course not exclusively so.

  • Comment number 97.

    Kevinb.

    Cameron "well respected abroad"....Europe following "the Cameron/Osbourne austerity plan"

    You do make me smile...

  • Comment number 98.

    I have mixed with people of all standings over the years, and i have learned one thing

    The scenery changes, the accents change, the quality of food/drink change, yet....

    Human nature doesn't

    People of all politcal persuasions have far more in common than they will ever realise or admit to

  • Comment number 99.

    #92 KevinB

    I largely agree with your comments, other than I'm prepared to give Brown credit for the banking recapitalisation (after Lehmans). Almost certainly imperfect, but carried out under time pressure.

  • Comment number 100.

    #84 KevinB wrote:
    "71. At 4:03pm on 28 Jun 2010, johnharris66 wrote:
    Anyone who attributes the economic crisis only to Brown, or only to bankers, is guilty of ignorance.

    Or knowing more than you............."

    Not sure how to take this, other than with my habitual good grace and modesty.

    Do you think that only one party (Brown or bankers) was to blame?

 

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