Gordon Brown has pulled together a deal that many people thought impossible, with a global agreement to support international trade and inhibit rogue financial houses. But this is Labour’s final positive milestone; there are no more remaining opportunities for an election launch pad.
The Conservative Party’s comms director Andy Coulson has proven his ability to lead the summer news agenda, which will be a crescendo culminating in a stage-managed autumn conference; a week displaying Tory optimism and energetic activists.
In contrast, Labour’s conference could be an inward-looking affair. Worse still, Brown could go to the Copenhagen environmental summit in December, the follow-up to the Kyoto Treaty, looking like a lame duck leader in his final months of power. All the international regard and influence illustrated at the G20 will be turned into a chance for David Cameron to present Brown as marginal and irrelevant.
In the longer term, the efforts at Copenhagen to save the planet will be far more important than the G20 economic summit. And 2010 will simply be Tory territory as the Government runs out of time to deliver anything new. Those last months will not be any better for Brown than they were for John Major in 1997.
The country is not in the state it was in 1997. Labour does not deserve the poll ratings it has now, if one compares satisfaction with public services today with public opinion in the 1990s. During the final weeks of an election campaign, as people scrutinise what the Tories are actually offering, the polls will tighten but G20 is the only momentum we will have.
Gordon, you have brought together a plan for global economic recovery. Now ask the country for a mandate to deliver that plan and to work your magic at Copenhagen.
Alex Hilton is a Labour parliamentary candidate and founder of political blogs Labourhome and Recess Monkey