The news was a little bit scary last night. Because whilst accepting that the media likes to put over the most negative view of the world, even the ones who usually show a bit of balance left you with the impression it was all gloom, gloom, gloom. And there is a horrible feeling of self-fulfilling prophecy attached to the ‘could be as bad as 2007-8’ talk.
The problem is that most of the policy instruments open to leaders around the world appear to have been tried, and they don’t seem to be having the desired effect, whether in the US, Europe or Japan. And whilst the ‘China and India roll on’ narrative holds for now, it is not quite as strong as it was.
Globalisation has had many plus sides. But for the Presidents, Prime Ministers and finance ministers of the world, sitting there trying to work this out, they are all to greater and lesser degrees dependent on the others. That’s why for all the flak that still gets thrown his way, Gordon Brown was right to get the world to act together when the first crisis hit. There is little or no sense of a global approach right now, or anyone showing the leadership needed to get to one.
George Osborne is still fighting the fight of the last election, going on about the deficit when it is clear his Plan A is not working and that he now faces far bigger problems which require a far more imaginative response.
David Cameron is now joining forces with Canada and Australia to put pressure on the eurozone leaders to act more decisively. There is an element of his politics getting the upperhand on his economics again, seeking to convey a sense of superiority by not being in the Euro. But for the purposes of this crisis, effectively we are. If the eurozone fails to recover, the impact on the UK will be enormous. This time, we really are all in this together.