Brown has a habit of demanding something to announce on these trips, even if there is nothing. I have heard anecdotes about how his aides have to cook something up on the plane, and then he spins it far further than it should go. When it comes to health spending, that doesn't matter much. But when he's raising - and dashing - the hopes of service families, then it's unconscionable. His 1,000 troops by Christmas pledge turned out to be a con, as some of these troops were coming home anyway and others would be in Kuwait. I'm told this was the moment that the military realised that Brown would be a worse spinner than Tony Blair ever was.
For months, we have been waiting to hear about a real surge to the Afghanistan deployment - and still no word. When it comes to spinning, Brown can concoct policies in an instant. But for real strategic issues, it seems his indecision is final.