Peter Hoskin

Brown puts on his gloomy face for the world stage

How peculiar.  After all the economic optimism coming out of government recently, all the talk of recovery by the end of the year, Brown’s going to warn that the worst of the recession may be yet to come in his meetings with G8 leaders this week.  The Times has the full story here, but this snippet from the Dear Leader’s address in France today gives you the idea:

“If we do not take the necessary action now to strengthen the world economy and put in place the conditions for sustainable world growth, we will be confronted with avoidable unemployment for years to come.”

So does this mean he’s losing faith in the “green shoots” strategy, by which a grateful nation will hail him for leading the UK out of recession?  No, I rather suspect not.  To my mind, the doom-mongering on the world stage is simply intended to provide to same escape route as it did prior to the G20 summit: in the case that the green shoots don’t grow rapidly enough, Brown can blame the “inaction” of other countries for our economic woes.  This is a  global crisis which started in America, after all.  Or something like that.

There are two major impediments to this strategy working sucessfully. (Or three, if you count the fact that Brown doesn’t have the public on his side to start off with).  First, this politicking on the world stage is hardly going to endear Brown to his fellow world leaders – which sets up for the prospect for testy confrontations in fuure summits.  And, second, it foregrounds what I call the Race to Recovery.  If other developed countries beat us to recovery, then Brown is merely highlighting how local some of the UK’s problems really are.

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