It would appear from his speech in New Delhi today that our prime minister has lost none of his fabled sense of humour:
The World Bank needed to strengthen its focus on poverty reduction, while also becoming "a bank for the environment", involving a multi-billion pound global climate change fund to finance low-carbon investment, he said.Ha! Ha! And this on a day which also saw the latest uncertain proclamation from the "Tripartite Authorities" on that very debacle.
Mr Brown argued that the IMF should focus on surveillance of the global economic and financial system to prevent crises, such as that affecting Northern Rock in the UK.
If a man can't serve two masters, the Rock crisis certainly shows that a bank can't serve tripartite authorities. It would be nice to think that Brown had learned this lesson, and in the process had time to reflect on the dire consequences of adding an unnecessary dose of untested government (the FSA) to fix a system of informed and credible self-regulation in the City that wasn't broken.
But - no. More government is always the solution to psychologies such as Brown's, and the bigger the better. A local banking failure which the Bank of England could have pre-empted with a forced takeover behind the scenes became a national embarrassment as its division of responsibilities with the Treasury and Britain's new "super-regulator" paralysed decision making. Imagine where we'd be if we'd have had to wait on the opinion of the IMF too!
How very droll. Still, the international stand-up circuit doubtless beats being in parliament for important constitutional debates ...