More direction on economic reform does not necessarily make things clearer on the political side.
We’ve just had the remarkable saga of Germany’s Chancellor Scholz doing his best to stop Ukraine getting a timely supply of German-built Leopard tanks.
Even his Green party foreign minister was moved to remind him that “We are fighting a war against Russia” (diplomats have since been at some pains to explain that this does not mean that Germany is a formal party to the conflict).
Continue reading “Political lessons from Ukraine: Part 2” →
One of the more important things to happen during the Ukraine war has gone largely unnoticed.
The Ukrainian government has announced that “half of Ukraine’s business regulatory procedures will be cancelled”.
Obviously, one hopes they get the right 50%.
Continue reading “Economic lessons from Ukraine: Part 1” →
Pity the poor Brits. They just can’t catch a break.
After years of reporting of lying Boris Johnson, a change to a less colourful PM in Rishi Sunak has resulted in a smooth media pivot to an end-of-empire narrative. The New York Times, no less, amplifies suggestions that Blighty will soon fall behind Poland or even – get your atlas ready – Slovenia. So dire is the situation we are told that even a reversal of Brexit may not be enough to save a once-proud nation.
Continue reading “Is Britain doomed (again)?” →
As the Kremlin’s spokesman tells us – somewhat improbably – that regime change was never Vladimir Putin’s goal, the debate on whether Russia and Ukraine should be negotiating gets another bounce.
Depressing – but necessary – to bear in mind that a settlement will rest more on power than on justice.
Some other lessons from the conflict also seem to be getting neglected.
Continue reading “Ukraine: what’s to negotiate?” →
In fact, they are acutely focused on what job they might be able to get after the next general election, due in 2024.
Prospects looked worse after new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered his mini-budget on Thursday. His programme: rolling tax increases for the next six years. And because tax thresholds are not being raised in line with rising prices and wages, persistent inflation (which also seems more likely) will make it more painful.
Have a smidgen of sympathy for the poor multi-millionaire. Under the current bipartisan rules of the game, there is no alternative if the growth in debt is to be curbed. Those who produce the most, must give the most.
Continue reading “Who says Britain’s Conservative MPs are not future oriented? “ →
An insightful mini-essay from Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen on how his “own preferred slant of classical liberalism is being replaced” by what – for want of an agreed term – he categorises as the “New Right”.
At his level of intellectual discourse, this means “the smart young people I meet who in the 1980s might have become libertarians”.
Presumably they didn’t. But nonetheless “the New Right doesn’t entirely reject the basic principles of free market economics”. (Is ‘entirely’ redundant here?)
Continue reading “Excellent writing on the New Right. The Old might read “ →
More than most things, you don’t control war. It controls you.
Something about having to commit your life and treasure to a cause, concentrates the mind. Particularly when the cause is run by other people. Established relationships and certainties go to one side, until the immediate problems of survival on reasonable terms are solved.
Continue reading “War means change” →
Elon Musk was Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2021. With his release of a peace plan for Russia-Ukraine, you wonder if he’s trying for the double.
Not if Ukrainian president Zelensky has any say in the matter.
It’s usually sensible to be thinking about a settlement while fighting, but it’s dangerous to forget that, while politics is hard to control, war can be impossible.
Continue reading “Musk of the Year” →
All European elections are about Europe.
That’s one conclusion which might be drawn from the decimation (a fine Latin term that) of Italy’s governing class – and also the election of a centre-right coalition government – last Sunday.
To understand more, recall the previous election in 2018. That also turfed out the ruling establishment (and again in 1994, where Italians opted for the fresh and untarnished Silvio Berlusconi, if your memory can bear going back that far).
Last time, the two biggest and newest parties – the right-populist League and the left-populist Five Star Movement – joined in an unstable coalition.
Continue reading “Brotherhood of Europe but Sisterhood of Italy” →
Britain’s new PM, Liz Truss, might have caught a break last night.
The International Monetary Fund, after a longish period of complaisance in regard to fiscal stimulus, abruptly decided that the Truss economic plan was a good point to draw a line, in part because giving people their money back was seen as untargeted and might increase inequality.
But in being so unusually prompt and decisive, it has missed a chance to wait and see which way the wind blows.
Continue reading “Lucky Liz? Wait a few years to find out” →