It’s fortunate that pluck and stoicism are fundamental British characteristics and that we are at our best when backs are to the wall. Figures published today suggest that the US economy grew by an annualised 3.5 percent in the third quarter. Britain is now alone among developed countries in fighting a shrinking economy. So much for Mr Brown’s confidence last autumn and Alistair Darling’s growth forecasts. Even Italy is doing better.
One crumb of comfort for Labour is that the American consumer has regained confidence thanks to government stimulus: sales of manufactured goods, such as cars covered by the government scheme, are up by 22.3 percent. This should have global consequences that benefit Britain. The chief problem for Brown is that his stimulus has not had the same effect. I suspect that any growth will come too late to save a Prime Minister who staked everything on Britain recovering first and strongest.