Throughout 2008 our little SterlingWatch graphic has provided a running commentary on how the world sees Brown's performance. It will get several further airings, one suspects: see this salutary piece by Hatfield Girl.
The trouble is, Brown understands enough about finance to be dangerous - and certainly enough to know how to shore things up in the short term. With the full fiscal and financial toolbox to hand, it's always possible to push problems out into the future: they'll come back amplified, for sure, but you can always get cash-in-hand for today by mortgaging tomorrow - see for example, his bailout of British Energy in 2002, and the whole PFI / PPP edifice.
Needless to say, Brown has an entirely short-term agenda: it may not even extend as far as 2010. In that short interval, all he wants to do is to maintain as much semblance of normality as can be bought, expensively, with a large chunk of our future prosperity.
But as even the most desperate must surely know, it's never right to turn to the loan shark. Matters must be confronted now: maintaining a semblance of normality in these conditions can only be delusionary.
Will the British electorate be fooled ? The world is not fooled, and it passes its verdict daily. "Going down".