It is a good job Britain is best placed to withstand the downturn/ recession/ depression because it is going to last longer in Britain than anywhere else according to the IMF. Even bearing in mind that is the opinion of a Frenchman (Strauss-Kahn), it looks like there will be no good news on the economy before the next General Election.
This is not good news for Brown ahead of the G20 summit. Other world leaders will be able to ignore his mutterings about international co-operation and an early warning system. After all who would want to cooperate with a basket case of an economy such as Britain's, particularly one run by a former chancellor who ignored several early warnings from the IMF during his term of office.
The French laughed (albeit politely) at the 2% VAT cut and they have all seen the failure of the UK banking system. The Labour government may be in denial and the Conservative opposition may veer between inexperience and ineptitude, but other countries can see the state of the UK for themselves and they will not be taking any lectures from Gordon Brown.