With the country officially entering recession today, the Prime Minister went on the Today Programme to make his case
. The first part of the interview was, from his perspective, quite effective. He managed to stress that the other major economies were either in recession or going into recession, he hit back using politically astute populist language at those prophesying doom for the UK and he drew a clever—albeit misleading—dividing line between doing what he has done and doing nothing. All in all, it was shaping up to be one of Brown’s more effective media performances. Then, the wheels came off: Brown, to Evan Davis’s mounting incredulity, refused to admit that Britain has had a boom and is now having a bust.
When Brown was asked if he wished he had done anything differently, he replied that he wished he’d spotted the dangers in the American subprime market! The answer is designed to make people think that he kept his own house in order and he just wished he’d kept a closer eye on what the neighbours were up to. But considering the ways in which Britain is uniquely badly placed to deal with this crisis, it is clear that Brown’s own domestic management was deeply flawed. As Iain Martin notes, Brown’s refusal to admit any error or the bleeding obvious is “fast corroding what is left of his Prime Ministerial authority.”