Peter Hoskin

A failure of expectations management ahead of Brown’s meeting with Obama

A failure of expectations management ahead of Brown's meeting with Obama
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Just as an addendum to James's post earlier, one thing that strikes me about the run-up to the Brown-Obama meeting is how counterproductive the message coming out of Downing street is.  Today's Times report contains another example of the kind of quote that's been cropping up: a "seasoned Labour strategist" saying that this is the PM's "best, if not last, chance" to win the next election.  These sentiments have now become the dominant narrative.

Not only is this a failure of expectations management - meaning that the meeting will probably be judged by its potential to save Brown's premiership - but it strengthens the idea that Brown needs Obama far more than Obama needs Brown.  In turn, that undermines Downing Street's original plan for Brown to be as MacMillan to Obama's JFK; a veteran guiding a novice.

Either the various Labour aides and strategists spouting these quotes are "on message"; in which case it's a self-defeating message.  Or they're not, and you've got to wonder about message discipline within Number Ten.