Friday, September 26, 2008

DC Shock

'Not Flash, just Gordon' was how Saatchi & Saatchi suggested portraying the Prime Minister as he took office last year. It's a theme to which he returned himself in his conference speech, as he sought to get across the image of the steady, experienced, reliable hand at the tiller, standing in sharp contrast to the novice(s) whose time(s) had not yet come.

'Who better to have at the helm in this time of international fiduciary brouhaha?', we find ourselves asked by his dwindling band of supporters. He is, after all, 'the most successful British Chancellor in living memory', who is needed, we are told, not just by Britain, but by the rest of the world in order that we might be dragged out of the present banking malaise.

Leaving aside the self-serving spin at work here, the trouble is, no-one seems to have asked the rest of the world whether or not they agree with this assessment. In fact, an indication that this glowing opinion of the PM's abilities might not be universal comes with the news that US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has declined the opportunity to hear the thoughts of our dear leader while he's in Washington DC.

Which ought to tell us, if we hadn't worked it out for ourselves already, that Brown's international standing is of little or no consequence. In Europe, he's forever known as the chap who wouldn't turn up for his photo in Lisbon. In America, if he's known at all, it's as the one who took over from Blair and who is about to hand over to the other guy.

Anyway, I've twice visited Washington DC and deliberately not meet Hank Paulson on either occasion. Going by the Brownite spin, does this make me twice as important as the PM?

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