Thursday, April 02, 2009

The G20: When Spin Won't Work

James Kirkup writes in this morning's Telegraph that whatever the outcome of the G20 summit, it will be hailed as an historic, triumphant success by Gordon Brown. Even if Sarkozy flounces out, he would no doubt say it was fantastic that 19 of the 20 have signed up to whatever they are signing up to. I don't blame him for that. It's what politicians do. Brown knows that if his political fortunes are to rise, the G20 has to be seen as a success - both in terms of PR and substance.

But it's not Brown's spin which we need to observe, interesting though that will be. The real story will be the reaction of the financial markets. If they blow a collective raspberry and stock markets around the world tank, then that will speak for itself, and no amount of Brown spin will be able to counter that.

Let me be plain. I hope the summit is a success. And if it is, I won't begrudge Gordon Brown his moment of glory. But my definition of success may be very different from Gordon's. One of my definitions of success will be if Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy get their way on preventing yet more taxpayers' money being pissed down the drain.


Plato said...

OT Cameron has just got the most frightful kicking from V Derbyshire on R5.

You'd think he'd been running the country since 1997.

Their bias is staggering. Good that the callers seemed more balanced. Camo needs to sharpen up if it's going to be hand-to-hand combat on the airwaves now.

It really reminded me of Sue Lawley and Norman Tebbit - that got me to campaign for the Tories way back when.

Dick the Prick said...

I think the public need a success - 15 months is a long time to wait for the inevitable and people's mental health is diminishing.

jamesburdett said...

Iain no doubt the summit will be hailed as a success because they will all agree the wording. They will then return to their capitals and implement it differently. That is when it could all fall apart.

Unsworth said...

The markets are, generally, slightly up today. But what's really important is what happens next week or next month etc to ordinary people and businesses.

Mandelson spent his time on the wireless this morning bullshitting about all the stuff being done - but was unable to explain why so many businesses cannot obtain funds, short of blaming the banks. He then said that the Government loan (of our money) to the banks was conditional. So, who is policing these loans? Anyone at all?

In the end the Government is unable to influence the economy and it's incapable of building public confidence. Until confidence rises things will remain the same. The one factor which will boost confidence is a change of Government.

Thatsnews said...

Brown spin. Rather like the expression 'dirty pool'.

If this proves to be a bust, and if the elections go badly, how long will Labour give him as leader?

wv slyza. As in slyza Brown fox.

Chris Paul said...

Sarkozy is a concept artist. The flouncing out, empty chairing is already completed art. He doesn't have to really do it and he is incredibly unlikely to do so. Particularly as he is demanding something with menaces that was inevitably in the package that will be agreed.

This is historic Iain. Whatever is or is not agreed. Wemay have an idea in a few hours just how important, or not, the meeting will be seen today, tomorrow and in 10 and 20 and 50 years time.

But even at this point it will not be completely clear. It will be too early to say.

How about the OECD figures and opinion yesterday suggesting that UK plc was actually in a very strong position to suffer less and rally earlier? Is that not worth some discussion?

Withering Vine said...

Interesting also that the government has now in effect announced its hand on the date of the next election.

See this:

davidc said...

chris paul@ - 'The flouncing out, empty chairing is already completed art'.

de gaulle did it first and did it better and he had stature (even if he was wrong about n.a.t.o. he was absolutely right about the u.k. not being a part of the then e.e.c.- pity the traitor heath and others subsequently didn't take notice).

T England said...

you're so right about the financial markets!
The financial markets call the tune that politicians have to dance to, the markets want to have confidence in their government but as our governments have no idea if their crazy printing money madness will work & Labour are as good as finished I fail to see where the confidence will come from.

On second thoughts we all know where the confidence will come from ultimatly, the public!

We desparatly need the election to be called, it's the only real way the markets will start to get back their confidence & know where they are heading.

Marian said...

Brown is having his day of glory in la la land but meanwhile in the real world he will go down in history as the worst prime minister the UK ever had.

Marian said...

Ref the "frightful kicking" david cameron got from V Derbyshire on R5 he should be aware by now that the BBC has unashamedly become the propaganda mouthpiece of New Labour. Partly due to this and also the mess the economy is in, should convince the Tories to sell off/close down most of the BBC when they come to power in the next 15 months.

Simon Gardner said...

Marian said... “...should convince the Tories to sell off/close down most of the BBC...”

David Cameron [16-3-09]: “The BBC is one of our most important institutions. It plays a vital role in bringing us together.”

DC [16-3-09]: “The BBC is an important national institution. I want to see it prosper and succeed and be a fantastic cultural asset. I am a supporter of the BBC. I am a supporter of the licence fee. I think the licence fee can go on.”

Unsworth said...

@ Chris Paul

"This is historic Iain"


"It will be too early to say."

So, which is it?

Comparable with Yalta, no doubt.

hovedan said...

Iain your timing is impeccable - you say the real test is the reaction of the markets - you wondered if they might give a collective rasberry to the G20 and Brown.

what has happened today?

The FTSE 100 was up 3pc by early afternoon, climbing above 4,000 for the first time in five weeks, as Nationwide's house price figures showed a 0.9pc increase last month for the first time since October 2007. The report on house prices sent the pound higher against the dollar, euro and yen, up 0.6pc to $1.4554.
The markets were cheered further by a Bank of England survey indicating that credit conditions are finally starting to improve, with lending to companies up "slightly" over the first quarter of 2009.

Iain Dale said...

None of that surprises me. The markets are expecting a success because that's what they have been led to believe will happen. Let's hope they are right!

Dick the Prick said...

Orgs start dumping shares at about lunch tmrw to insulate themselves from weekend movements - close of play tmrw will be interesting.

subrosa said...

The real story today Iain is the tragedy of 16 lives lost in the North Sea, lives of people who deliver the oil and gas for the folk of the UK and in particular the south of England. That's the real story.

This parading of the great and the good and their lavish lifestyle is not appropriate to today in the least.

But of course, Gordon Brown won't let the deaths of 16 oil workers stand in his way of glory. What a disgraceful person we have representing the UK.

Thank goodness for Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister. I know he has faults but he's head and shoulders above any of the labour party Scots in Westminster.

Doug said...

Between a rock and hard place. If Sarko and Merkel 'win' then it will save us from even more debt but it will also mean that crushing new regulation will be introduced and probably our economic sovereignty devolved to some European or international body. In that case it might be worth suffering more debt rather than losing our long term ability to manage our own economy.

Unsworth said...

@ hovedan

The markets are a giant casino. The traders are doing what traders do - ramping the markets and fixing the odds on the betting. This has a long way to go yet - or would you like to bet your house on it?

Next up, rampant inflation. Take a look at what The Bank is doing with its pension funds - it's very instructive. You ain't seen nothing yet.

The Grim Reaper said...

The words "talking shop" keep coming to mind. I wonder why...

hovedan said...


the markets around the world are volatile - my point to iain was that he seems to assert in his original blog that the real test of the summit is what happens to the markets. His latest post below - seems to contradict that early post. There are several pieces of good news on the economy today - houser prices up, manafacturing starting signs of recovery, BoE report that lending is up.

the warm words from G20 will inject some further optimism in the markets - and that is a good thing.

btw - Doug makes a good point - Merkel and Sarko have been highly critical of the "anglo saxon" model of capitalism and would replace it with some european social model - does that look like success to anybody?

Yak40 said...

They will then return to their capitals and implement it differently.

Like the EU then !

wv: pressed

Paul Halsall said...

I don't like Gordon Brown, but it is amazing to watch him in the post G20 press conference. I'm watching him on CNN rather than the BBC, and he is amazingly coherent and clearly on top of the details.

Unsworth said...

@ hovedan

Never mind the bread and circuses at the G20 why do you think that the BoE pensions fund is itself betting on inflation?

Of course markets are volatile - it's how the traders make their money, ain't it?

So a momentary rise above 4000 is significant? I don't think so. We can certainly expect a drop within the next four weeks - if not the next four days - when realisation sets in. And how does that stunning figure of 4000 compare with the state of affairs a year or two ago?

Perhaps you believe that everything has bottomed out now and things can only get better....

Simon Gardner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon Gardner said...

The “footballers celebrating” photo of Obama, Berlusconi and Medvedev can be seen here. (Crop it.)

Elby the Beserk said...

I'll begrudge him everything if the bastard stays in power after this. After what he's done to the country. Lying thieving bastard. Makes me sick just to look at him, gurning at, pouting at, and fawning all over Obamalamdingdong.

Elby the Beserk said...

Sid James to play Sarkozy in Carry on G20. Tony Hancock to play Brown. Kenny Lynch Obama.

Over to you, folks, to fill in the rest of the cast. Must have been in a Carry On film.

Winner gets to carry out a top secret hitman job...

Elby the Beserk said...

@Blogger subrosa said...
But of course, Gordon Brown won't let the deaths of 16 oil workers stand in his way of glory. What a disgraceful person we have representing the UK.

Indeed. When he was doing his man of the people act at the death of Jade Goody, nary a mention did he make of the three dead servicemen flown in that day from Afghanistan. He really is unspeakable. If that's what being a son of the manse does you, then close down all mansesx now. They are a danger to humanity.