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Prime Minister's Questions

"You're sitting in Superman's seat".

Labour's Ronnie Campbell said it all as Harriet Harman stood in for Gordon Brown at Prime Minister's questions.

Gordon normally wishes he was anywhere else in the world than in the House of Commons at noon on a Wednesday.

But for once he will have rued the diary clash that saw him in Brussels instead of across the despatch box from David Cameron.

In the week he was hailed a "superhero" and even "the saviour of the world" after Europe and America copied his bank plans, Gordon could for once have basked in the rare plaudits of MPs.

Instead Harman went toe-to-toe with William Hague in a tepid, lacklustre showdown. Normally this is like watching Kazakhstan against a second-half England as Hague scores at will against a hapless Harman.

But today's encounter was more like the first half at Wembley on Saturday.

Rather than his usual marauding down the middle, Hague was like the first-half Wayne Rooney - ineffective and frustrating and failing to hit the mark.

His best attack was his predictable long-range effort when he blasted Labour's claim that boom and bust had been abolished as "one of the most foolish, most hubristic and most irresponsible claims ever made by a British Prime Minister".

Harman did however live up to her billing. Never the most impressive performer in the Commons she offered this brilliant assessment of Britain's economic fortunes. "I think this is a serious moment for the economy." Thanks Harriet.

That “serious moment” is being seen by many at Westminster as Brown’s Iraq. Just as Tony Blair was in the vanguard of world diplomacy over the war, Brown is seizing his chance to establish himself on the global stage.

And he will not be disappointed by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso - who he met on Wednesday morning - branding the banks bailout the "Brown plan".



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