The NEWSWEEK 50: Britain's P.M., Gordon Brown

Bad times have been good for Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Soon after taking office in June 2007, he sank to levels of unpopularity unprecedented in postwar Britain. Then came the Panic of '08, and suddenly the former chancellor of the Exchequer was in his element. By moving quickly to pump public money into failing banks, Brown earned high marks around the world. On the day Paul Krugman of The New York Times was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in economics, he lavished praise on Brown in a column headlined GORDON DOES GOOD; Brown, he wrote, had "defined the character of the worldwide rescue effort, with other wealthy nations playing catch-up." The glory may fade. A recent IMF report warned that Britain will be hit harder by the coming storm than any other advanced economy. (Story continued below...)