Hardly a day goes by without some poorly educated political or economic commentator taking in vain the name of this great man, whose history is summarised concisely at Like all rulers he came to understand the limits of power, both military and diplomatic and, like all who rose to command empires beyond his immediate surroundings, he suffered from the complaints of his subjects when all was not to their personal and local advantage.

Pestered by sychophantic courtiers who sought his intervention in forces beyond his control, hoping by flattery to have him back their projects, or save them from the tides in the affairs of state and men that inconvenienced them, Canute was driven to the end of his patience when it was suggested his power extended to controlling the tides of the sea itself. He had his throne carried to the sea-shore and sat on it commanding the tide not to come in, to show that the power of rulers is limited when dealing with the foirces of nature.

It is ironic then that those who this weekend likened Gordon Brown to King Canute should be his critics when such a connection can be made in support of his actions in Jeddah where the leaders of the oil-producing countries and their main customers have gathered for an exchange of views on how to manage the current excess of demand over supply and the evident likelyhood of a continuing trend in this direction unless demand is reduced by recession.

Gordon's view is that the money now passing in increasing amounts to the producers should be recycled by investment in research and development of new, sustainable energy sources. By investing in this way in the UK, Europe and the US the oil-producing countries will have a share in the future even when their oil reserves diminish. They will extend the life of their own assets and have a stake in the alternative energy systems as well. They will seriously enable the international efforts to limit global warming.

Gordon Brown knows that only a temporary increase in the supply of oil can stop the price rising further unless a degree of recession is to be accepted in some economies to balance the unstoppable growth in others. Such a recession would occur automatically in those economies that are globally the least competitive unless aid and subsidies, unsustainable in the long run, are introduced. It could then cause a global recession. But if they are to increase production, the oil producing nations have the right to demand that their customers behave responsibly and refrain from ordering more beer in the last-chance-saloon. The oil is not running out, but the rate of supply is limited and to increase it steadily as we approach the point where the actual reserves DO run out is perverse and nonsensical as it would lead to global conflict led not by governments but by uncontrollable mobs.

So the idea by media commentators that Gordon Brown is acting like King Canute is right, but the said commentators know nothing about Canute, Brown, hisory, oil or anything else. Why do we have to listen to these pillocks.