IT´S obviously too soon to draw conclusions, but yesterday's initial reaction of the stock markets to the new financial rescue plan devised by the British government and adopted in principle by 13 leaders of the Eurozone was certainly encouraging. And even if it had not been, there was good reason for satisfaction that major European countries have recognised the need for agreement and co-ordination over the measures that need to be taken in this crisis. Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling deserve the principal credit for what is being widely called the British plan.
Unfortunately, in the UK media some of the praise is grudging and undermined by unworthy suggestions that this crisis is just what Mr Brown was hoping for. In other political quarters there has been a deathly silence.
So allow me to quote from a column in yesterday's New York Times by the Princeton University economist Paul Krugman -- its relevance increased by the news that Mr Krugman was yesterday named as winner of this year's Nobel Prize for Economics: Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling have defined the character of the worldwide rescue effort, with other wealthy nations playing catch-up.
The Brown government has shown itself willing to think clearly about the financial crisis, and get quickly on to its conclusions. And this combination of clarity and decisiveness hasn't been matched by any Western government, least of all our own