Gordon Brown in focus

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This is Gordon Brown's big week - he's finally a Labour prime minister addressing a Labour party conference.

I'll leave aside for a minute the fact that he's destroying the last vestige of democracy inside the Labour Party this week and instead highlight two comments form the Observer today which show the mountain he has to climb if he is to live up to the expectation of those of us who think it is a Labour prime minister's job to effect social change for ordinary people, here and abroad.

Take Ruth Sutherland first:

The Prime Minister and his acolytes have been cheerleaders for the low-tax, high-risk, bonus-heavy City culture that has proved such a fertile breeding ground for this disaster. In their zeal to promote financial services as the saviour of a UK economy stripped of manufacturing, Brown and his followers have been far too uncritical of the buccaneers. Ordinary people in overborrowed Britain, in hock to a fragile housing market, will reap the consequences of the Brownian boom.

Then Nick Mathiason:

Campaign groups are pleased that Brown is passionate about poverty eradication. But they are wary of being manipulated in what could be an election year. Others are keen to bring issues such as tax justice into the development debate but the government has shown little signs of acknowledging these.

Brown's got a long way to go to acknowledge the link he must recognise between these two comments.

But will he? Is he destined for greatness, or not? I'd be bold enough to say that if he could address these two issues and change his policy to suit he could be.

But I'm not holding my breath.