Peter Hoskin

Brown sets out his stall for the Lib Dems

Brown sets out his stall for the Lib Dems
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Gordon Brown's statement outside Number 10 just now was a strange mix of statesmanship and salesmanship.  He began by trying to sound as reasonable as possible: claiming that he "understands" why Nick Clegg would like to meet with David Cameron first, and adding that he would happliy wait for them to finish their negotiations.  He claimed that he is keen to "resolve the situation for the good of the country."  And he mentioned that Alistair Darling would be attending various meetings about the spreading fiscal crisis in Europe.

But then, about halfway through, he flipped into used car salesman mode – hawking his rusty party to a sceptical Nick Clegg.  Thus we got oleaginous rhetoric about " far-reaching political reform" and "economic stability," along with heavy hints about the concessions Labour would make to the Lib Dems.  It reminded me of Brown's "I agree with Nick" creeping in the first TV debate – and I half suspect that Clegg will treat it with similar disdain.  But it might have sounded attractive to others in Clegg's party. 

Either way, the backroom dealings and whisperings have now kicked in proper.  What a way to decide an election.