Fraser Nelson

A losers’ summit?

A losers' summit?
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Now for four words which, in my experience, CoffeeHousers hate the most: “in fairness to Brown”. Not many other national leaders could have drawn all three presidential hopefuls to meet him in one day. We teased him for having next to no coverage in the American press yesterday, and there’s plenty today. He also struck the right note over Zimbabwe.

Okay, fairness over. Here’s what the Washington Post has to say about the Bush press conference:

"Times are so bad, in fact, that Brown flew to America on a plane provided by the discount charter company Titan Airways. The stature of the two leaders had shrunk so much that there were empty seats in the Rose Garden yesterday, and only Fox News bothered to have its correspondent do a live report from the event. When aides preceded the two leaders to the Rose Garden, they left the door to the Oval Office ajar -- forcing the president himself to reach out and pull the door shut so he could make his grand entrance."

The American press does seem to regard this as losers’ summit, a meeting of two leaders counting the hours until they lose office. I watched a piece on Fox News on new European leaders – Berlusconi, Sarkozy, Merkel. Not even a mention of Brown. If Cameron plans his next American trip well, he has a good chance of visibly outshining Brown. This matters because, at election time, the question “who do you want representing you on the world stage” is always a factor (my answer is always ‘the Queen’ but that’s another matter). It's one thing having your visit overshadowed by the Pope, quite another by unknown MPs like Angela Smith.

One of my Spectator colleagues described Brown’s visit as an “industrial-sized diplomatic disaster.” It is hard to find, in any newspaper, much evidence to the contrary. He returns this evening with the odds stacked higher against him than ever before.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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