The simple fact is that, in order to be the first European leader to meet US President Barack Obama, Gordon Brown had to travel to the USA this week. Regardless of the circumstances. Otherwise he’d risk competing for headlines with Taoiseach Brian Cowen and that soon to be destroyed “lovely bowl”. [Of ‘hopeful’ shamrock? – Ed] Indeed. It’s a month-long celebration now! Apparently.. Well, they do all share the hope that the current crisis will be short-lived. As long as everyone gets their priorities right.. and nevermind the “very fragile position” of the banking system.. Adds The Guardian’s Politics blog links some US coverage of the meeting.