Peter Hoskin

Where now for Gordon Brown?

Where now for Gordon Brown?
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I wrote yesterday that Gordon Brown's New Year relaunch is in tatters.  Now he's in the uneviable position of having to relaunch the relaunch.  How should he go about it?

We've already witnessed Brown's new approach to personnel - that is, to draft youthful faces into the cabinet.  Now his comment piece in today's FT indicates one of the central planks of his policy agenda - the reform of financial systems:

"Most political and business leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum this week agree on one thing: the global economy is facing its biggest test in more than a decade ....  But we should also agree that turbulent conditions, throughout history, have been an opportunity for reform.  This latest test of world financial systems presents a window in which to address fundamental issues that, if tackled properly, will improve economic management, regulation and the fight against inflation, and help us prevent similar crises in the future."

This is a topic that Brown also stressed on his recent travels, and there's a strong element of politicking to it.  But whatever Brown's intentions, will the average voter really care about global financial institutions? I doubt it. 

Of course, politicians shouldn't always pander to the topics that appeal to the most voters.  But all this also smacks of Brown retreating to his comfort zone - the nuts-and-bolts of modern finance.  And - we might rightly ask - if Brown's always going to retreat there during times of trouble, shouldn't he have remained a finance minister?

Which leaves one final question: where do Coffee-Housers think Brown should go from here?