Thursday, 18 September 2008

Brown's decisiveness at a critical moment

Recent criticism of Gordon Brown - which has culminated in today's dismal poll ratings - owed much to a sense of indecisiveness in the face of economic crises. The dithering over Northern Rock had as much to do with his growing unpopularity as his failure to call an election.

But in the last 24 hours, we have seen rather more of the Brown the public used to respect as Chancellor. Ably assisted by his best Downing Street aide, Jeremy Heywood, Brown has facilitated the merger of Lloyds TSB and HBOS, to the benefit of the wider economy and provided reassurance to HBOS customers (if not those facing job losses). He has also acted quickly to set up an inquiry into what the intelligence services knew in advance of the Omagh bombings.

Whether he gains any public credit for these actions remains to be seen. But having endured so much criticism in recent months, he deserves credit for his speedy responses on these occasions.

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