During one recent conference call involving Ed Balls and Lord Mandelson (Mr Brown's new core team who have regular strategy meetings) the Prime Minister was pressed repeatedly to deal with a list of specific issues but kept turning the conversation to his plan to create a new economic world order.
It's a compelling snapshot, and cuts deep into many of Brown's political problems. Unlike his predecessor, our current PM struggles to do human; an impediment at the best of times, but potentially fatal when repossessions, bankruptices and unemployment are shooting ever skywards, and people want a friend not a calculator. To my mind, Labour types are right to worry that Brown's focus on a global "grand bargain" - with all the finance-speak and jet-setting it entails - could magnify this presentational failing.
P.S. Speaking of Brown, this from the FT's George Parker is worth highlighting:
Gordon Brown has told aides he has no intention of admitting mistakes in his handling of the economy when he makes a keynote speech in Washington on Wednesday, after Alistair Darling called on ministers to show more “humility”.