On the other hand, Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s preferred card game seems to be snap, which would explain his obsequiousness towards Obama during his recent visit to Washington.
The fact is that the PM’s political survival and the stability of our banking system depend to a frightening extent on whether Obama is playing a winning hand.
This dependence became apparent when the government announced it would take a majority stake in Lloyds Banking Group to insure £260bn worth of toxic assets.
Together with a similar deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland, this brought taxpayers’ exposure to toxic funds to a staggering £585bn.
One might ask – who needs Fred the Shred when we’ve got Brown the Clown? But like it or not, he is captain of the good ship Britannia and if Obama is lucky, let’s hope Gordon can shout snap.
The trouble is that this luck will have to come along sooner rather than later because nobody knows what will happen to the value of the mountain of toxic assets if the situation in the US and UK mortgage markets gets much worse.
After all, asset values depend on banks’ willingness or ability to lend and our government has yet to solve that problem.