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How now, brown cow?

There are reports that Gordon Brown is panicking after firing off his most potent weapons at Britain's economic monster and watching his laser beams glance off.  "Tonight there are new claims that Gordon Brown is starting to show signs of panic  ... sensed a draining of confidence from the UK Treasury and the Prime Minister after literally billions and billions of pounds appear to have been wasted on a number of rescue packages. The situation with the UK economy has taken a serious downward lurch over the last few days amid signs that the government is running out of ideas."

Don't worry. He has one idea left. And it's the same idea. Stimulus. The Telegraph reports: "Arriving back at Heathrow Airport at 4am on Monday morning, after a couple of hours sleep on the flight back from Jerusalem, Gordon Brown was at his desk in 10 Downing Street an hour later.  By 9am, bleary eyed, he was alongside his Chancellor Alastair Darling, announcing the Government's second multi-billion pound bank bail-out in just three months – a radical plan to save Britain's economy from the brink of disaster. " The apparent invulnerability of the financial beast to the stimulus ray is that the it is mutant hatched by none other than George Bush. If it were an ordinary British recession the critter would have succumbed by now.

Gordon Brown said today that the recession now gripping Britain was unlike any others since the Great Depression, caused not by domestic economic mismanagement but by a "complete market failure" set off by the sub-prime crisis in the United States. ... And he insisted that he and his Chancellor, Alistair Darling, had had no choice but to commit billions of pounds of public money to shoring up the banking system because the "cost of inaction" would have been much greater.

Mr Brown declined to detail the level of taxpayers' exposure to the financial crisis through the multibillion pound schemes to bail out the banking sector, despite a call from the Treasury Select Committee for the Government to come clean. "Just think of the cost of doing nothing," he said. "No saver lost any money even though banks were in danger of collapsing all over the place in Britain. We stopped the banks from collapse."

Yes, just think of the cost of doing nothing. When you're in a hole, just stop to think of the cost of throwing down the shovel.  But never fear, the Guardian notes a silver lining in the otherwise dark clouds. Gordon Brown has won the race to be the first European head of state to meet with Barack Obama. Some sage advice, a laying of the hands, and the situation may be saved yet. The Guardian looks forward to the meeting between the two erudite men, both published authors, who are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, including the economy with profound comprehension.

The prime minister last night won one of the most hotly contested diplomatic races of the year when he became the first European leader to speak to Barack Obama since the president's inauguration on Tuesday. ... As two of the most academically inclined world leaders - they are both published authors - Obama and Brown might have been expected to launch immediately into a detailed discussion worthy of a university seminar. But they began by talking about Obama's inauguration.

The president and prime minister then turned to the main item on the agenda: the economy. This focused on two key issues: Obama's fiscal stimulus plan and his proposals to encourage bank lending.

Lesson number one from BHO: don't listen to Rush Limbaugh. Lesson number two: get with the program. And whither? Why towards a more caring, government dominated society. In case one may think it ironic that Barack Obama may actually want to follow in the footsteps of Gordon Brown, whereas Gordon, not to put too fine a point on it, may be coming the other way not so much in search of advice, as much as for money, well we'll know soon enough. They may get around to it after they get past the literary chit-chat. Will Gordon Brown tell BHO what the level of the British taxpayers' exposure to the financial crisis is?  Or are we in a space where economic models have never gone before? Where are we now Gordon? Show us the way.

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering.

O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?