Peter Hoskin

Brown backs down

Brown backs down
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Apart from the sentiment expressed, perhaps the most damaging aspect of Mervyn King's intervention on Tuesday was its timing.  Brown's round-the-world trip was meant to act as a rallying call - but now it's more an exercise in firefighting, as he deals with tricky questions surrounding our capacity for a "fiscal stimulus".  

Take his comments in New York yesterday , where he suggested that there wouldn't be any further stimulus in the Budget, and claimed there were more "effective and quicker ways" of boosting the economy.  This is a trifle unconvincing, coming from a man who has paraded his "everything it takes" credentials for the past few months, and who has been pushing his colleagues to borrow, borrow, borrow, spend, spend, spend.  Indeed, it was only a couple of days ago that he was calling on his EU counterparts to help deliver the "biggest fiscal stimulus" the world has ever seen.  

With the London Summit exactly a week away, Brown has an extremely limited amount of time to refine his message and make it resonate with the public.  A near impossible task, surely.