Brown’s greatest G20 hits

Gordon Brown now wants us to judge the G20 against “five tests”. If there is any common theme to his new yardstick for success, it is that the tests are almost impossible to measure or oppose. Who would be against restoring growth in emerging market economies? Or support a dirty banking system that escaped a regulatory “clean up”?

All this is noticeably different in tone from Brown’s rhetoric a couple of months ago. British officials have always been sheepish about setting precise goals or discussing the type of trade-offs that would be required. So you can imagine how they felt as their prime minister did some serious, and very public, stargazing.

Brown took every opportunity to raise expectations for the summit as high as they could go. Just in case he tries to deny it in coming days, it is worth looking back at Brown’s top six G20 hits in full. No one can deny that Brown passed the “ambition” test with flying colours. And who could accuse him of cynical expectation management? But, as Rachel Sylvester argued in the Times, the more canny Tony Blair would have probably avoided some of the fallout from hopes being dashed.

We are fashioning for the future a global deal, a grand bargain where each continent accepts its responsibility and its obligations to act to deal with what is a global problem that can only be solved with a global solution.

We believe that a global new deal, a global bargain between all the major countries is possible.  We believe that is one way that we can restore confidence in the world economy as it moves forward and we believe that there is a willingness amongst the countries that we have talked to, to make these decisions.

The old orthodoxies will not serve us well in the future.  We have got to think the previously unthinkable, we have got to do what was previously un-doable, the cooperation that is needed round the world is not something that has been achieved before but I believe it can be achieved to meet the needs of our times.

Every part of the world must be part of the stimulus to the economy, giving support into the economy with new investment, getting interest rates down as much as possible and I believe that one of the features of our discussion at the G20 meeting on April 2nd is how all countries can come together to do that.  Some may have to do more on interest rates; some may have to do more on fiscal stimulus.

The world lacks a proper early warning system…we have never given anybody sufficient teeth so that their views are treated so seriously that people will immediately have to act when that early warning is given.

Let us agree at our G20 summit in London in April rules and standards for accountability, transparency, and reward that will mean an end to the excesses and will apply to every bank, everywhere, and all the time.

For the record, here are the five tests:

Restore growth to emerging market economies

“Clean up” the global banking system

Do whatever is necessary to bring about the resumption of growth

Kick-start global trade and resist protectionism

Ensure the economic recovery conserves the environment for the future