Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - "Brown's big gamble"

I don't suppose Gordon Brown will be too upset to see his spending review described as a big gamble, because he knows it isn't. To my knowledge, the Chancellor has never gambled in his life. The only thing he has had to do with gambling was the abolition of betting tax.

The irony of all the headlines following his statement was that it was the real gamblers in the City who stole the headlines when the stock market fell yet again. There is only one person who has been right in his economic forecasting, and that is Gordon Brown. When he has slightly missed the mark, it has always been to underestimate the strength of the economy - so when he says he is being prudent, he actually means it.

Gordon has not dumped prudence for Sarah, but reading how one hack in the Daily Mail described their marriage you would have thought he was heading for a quick divorce from his new wife.

Peter Oborne, who knows as much about new Labour as the Prime Minister knows about Newcastle United, informed us that Brown has uttered barely a word to his wife for eight weeks. Apparently she is asleep when he returns from the Treasury, and still asleep when he gets up at dawn to go to work. How does Oborne know this? Has he been hiding under the bed for the past few months? No. In the good old-fashioned tradition of political reporting, he made it up.

The point Oborne was trying to make is that Brown is the hardest-working person in the government; but like so many political hacks, he got carried away with himself. Everyone else has got carried away on the gambling line, which means that if things do turn out in Brown's favour, they won't have to admit they got it wrong - as I will if it doesn't.

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