by RAY FLEMING
NOT a good day for Gordon. First, pictures in all the papers of Tony Blair upstaging him as the first Briton to be invited to the White House and also uncertainty about whether President Obama will come to the April G20 meeting in London which Mr Brown is chairing - so far he has only said he “hopes” to attend. Then the stab in the back from President Sarkozy who said in a national TV interview that France would not repeat Britain's “economic mistakes” in dealing with recession and claimed that the “flagship” VAT reduction had “absolutely not worked”. Nicolas Sarkozy's lack of diplomatic finesse is strange for a Frenchman; Downing Street showed more class in its “that's nice” reaction to an Elysee Palace assurance that the remarks were “not meant as a critique of Britain's economic policy”. But Sarkozy's comment can be better understood when put into its unreported context of criticism by a TV interviewer that many people believe he is giving priority to expenditure on infrastructure when tax cuts would be better. In defence, Sarkozy said, “Britain is cutting taxes” and then added the reference to VAT. Needless to say George Osborne was quick to welcome Nicolas Sarkozy on board as another recruit to the Get Gordon crew. He's entitled to do so if he thinks it's good politics but once again it's a case of criticising a policy whose results will not be known for many months. Why can't Mr Osborne see that?

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