Never a frown with Gordon Brown (pun intended)

Over the past year, Britain has seemed to succumb to an awkward introspection. Embarrassed by the difficulties of winning in Iraq and consumed by the jockeying for position at Westminster, the Government of Gordon Brown has, by comparison with that of his predecessor, been conspicious by its absence on the world stage. On issues ranging from climate change to Nato expansion, the Middle East peace process and the atrocities in Darfur, other heads of government have made the running. Tony Blair may, in Douglas Hurd's famous phrase, have had a tendency to punch above his weight. Mr Brown has tended to punch below his. His visit to the US, for some reason scheduled so that he toils up and down the East Coast in the shadow of none other than the Pope, has only reinforced his shrunken stature.

Times Online