Has he been defeated by the markets and the Bank?
After Tuesday’s forthright comments on Number 10’s economic strategy by the governor of the Bank of England and the failure of yesterday’s UK auction it was always going to be difficult for Brown to continue with his plan for a further economic stimulus. So the comments in New York highlighted by the Guardian perhaps come as no surprise.
But how damaging is the apparent change of direction to him personally particularly in these crucial few days ahead of the event that so much of his reputation has been invested in – next week’s G20 meeting in London?
The Guardian’s Patrick Wintour and Nicholas Watt pull no punches: “…instead of emerging as a visionary figure bestriding the world stage, the prime minister has been forced into embarrassing retreat by a coalition of an increasingly independent-minded chancellor, an uncharacteristically combative governor of the Bank of England and the cold-eyed verdict of the markets.
..……Labour MPs know the past 48 hours have been bad for Brown, not only because it looks as if he has been defeated by the Treasury, but also because it fuels the impression that he is bent on spending to save his political skin…...”
As we saw in the final quarter of last year Labour do well in the polls when there is seen to be total accord in all branches of government with Brown confident at the helm. But the big picture stuff starts to be problematical when, as we are seeing, chinks occur.
No one could fault the idea of dressing up the whole strategy as part of a big international initiative that he was leading. But if it comes over as being disjointed then what could have been a big plus could end up as a big minus.
As I’ve been saying for months I am still not convinced that Brown will lead Labour into the election.