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EDITIONS
Thursday, 28 November, 2002, 12:31 GMT
R.I.P. Prudence
PRUDENCE, long-time political passion and muse of Chancellor Gordon Brown, has gone to the great Despatch Box in the sky.

Put to the sword in the most public of arenas - the House of Commons debating chamber - by her once fawning lover, it was seen by some as the ultimate betrayal.

At the root of her demise was blood money... although at 20bn, that's quite a sum to be sacrificed for.

Gordon Brown
Tough love: Gordon Brown
The romance was sparked in the mid-1990s when Mr Brown became shadow chancellor. Prudence was fashioned as the very antithesis of her arch rival, Tory Boom and Bust.

Although she lacked a surname, she was never short of nicknames: "Fiscal Prudence", "Financial Prudence" and "Prudence With A Purpose" being just a few.

As her name suggests, she embodied Mr Brown's avowedly cautious and level-headed handling of the UK economy and came to characterise Britain's economic prosperity over the past five years.

Always shy and retiring, it took her boss to preach her virtues.

Slowdown

"Prudence will dominate everything we do this year," said Mr Brown in 1998.

Over the years, Prudence became noted for her primness and unwavering moral fortitude, and was said by Mr Brown, to be responsible for qualities such as stability, low inflation and low interest rates.

But as the global economic slowdown began to bite, her very existence became increasingly precarious.

Hence her demise at the Chancellor's pre-Budget report on Wednesday, when Mr Brown announced government borrowing would almost double this year to 20bn.

The figure is more than any year since Labour came to power in 1997.

"Goodbye Prudence," said the Daily Mail; "Prudence given the cold shoulder," said the Guardian.

No flowers.


Some of your tributes so far:

Dear Prudence.
Mike Bonnick, U.K.

Goodbye Prudence. We will forever be in your debt...
Cliff, UK

Sorely missed. No black at funeral. Just Brown.
Viv Harbert, UK

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Roll of honour
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27 Nov 02 | Politics
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