James Forsyth

Live by the spin, perish by the spin

Live by the spin, perish by the spin
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Peter Oborne’s column this morning is magnificent, a thorough demolition of the more hyperbolic claims being made for the G20 agreement. But it is his final paragraphs on the consequences of Brown’s double counting and all the other statistical dodges that he perfected at the Treasury that is especially devastating:

“The problem with this kind of duplicity is that you always get caught out in the end. So will be the case with the G20 summit. Gordon Brown has achieved brilliant headlines in the short term, and it is likely that Labour's rating in the polls will soon start to rise as a result.

However, in the long term, very little has changed. For all Gordon Brown and President Obama's extravagant claims, the world is still in the grip of recession and millions of people still face the loss of their jobs.

Most significantly, the world's stock markets, which on Thursday greeted the summit communique with elation, were going into sharp reverse last night.

This week Gordon Brown and his fellow world leaders played cynically with the hopes and fears of these desperate people. They made promises they can't keep, made claims that they can never substantiate and triggered hopes that undoubtedly will soon be dashed.”

The spin around this summit has been impressive and will almost certainly result in yet another Brown bounce; as Matthew Parris points out, if he doesn’t get a bounce from this then he is even more doomed than we thought. But in time, the grand claims that Brown has made for the summit will be tested against reality and found wanting. Then the public will turn on Brown with the bitterness of those who have had their expectations raised but not met.   

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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