James Forsyth

Watford can’t live up to these expectations

Watford can’t live up to these expectations
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One of the key parts of political spin is expectations’ management. But Labour seems to have completely forgotten this when it comes to the G20 summit. The way Labour is talking it up, it if it doesn’t end with Obama chairing Gordon Brown on his shoulders through the streets London while proclaiming that Brown has saved the world it will be a bit of an anti-climax.

In reality, the summit probably will give Brown a bit of a boost. It will allow him to play the statesman on the world stage and associating with Obama can’t hurt. (Although the idea of a joint Brown-Obama Wembley rally, which reportedly made it to the memo stage, is an idea that is as crass as it is desperate.) But the summit isn’t going to transform British politics, and is unlikely to produce something that resonates with the electorate—international regulatory reform is hardly the kind of thing that excites swing voters.

Even Peter Mandelson, master of the darks arts that he is, seems to be falling into this trap. In his prepared remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Mandelson, rightly, said that the “political dilemma” is “we need high level meetings and action, which generate big expectations which, in turn, trigger disappointment and market reaction when immediate results are not produced.” But a friend tells me that later in the session, he declared that "we have to make sure the London summit is a turning point".

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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