Tag Archives: imf

Tom Arms’ World Review

Putin’s hold on power

Vladimir Putin’s hold on power must be slipping away. But which Kremlin insider might replace him? Well, according to the constitution, the Prime minister – who is Mikhail Mishustin – is meant to succeed the president if he has to suddenly resign or is incapacitated. Mishustin has been responsible for the dealing with the economy which is reeling from sanctions. He has done a reasonable job and is in the front rank of successors, but not regarded as a number one possibility.

That could be Nikolai Patrushev, former head of Russian intelligence organisation the FSB. He is known to be a hard-line ultranationalist. Another hardliner is Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov who has been publicly urging the Russian president to use tactical nuclear weapons. Also in the running is Mikhail Mizintsev, another hardliner who is known as the “butcher of Mariupol” and has recently been brought back from the front to be Deputy Minister of Defense. Dmitry Medvedev kept the presidential chair warm for four years from 2008 while Putin sorted out the constitution. He is another possible and recently warned that Putin “is not bluffing” about nuclear weapons. There are several more potential usurpers in the Kremlin wings. At the moment they all have one thing in common—they are ultra-nationalist right-wingers committed to the war in Ukraine.

China

Public protests involving banners, smoke and loud hailers are rare in China. They are virtually unheard of on the eve of a Chinese Communist Party Congress. The reason is that they can be life-threatening for the protesters.

But that did not stop two brave souls from unfurling banners from an overpass. One read: “Let us strike from schools and from work and remove the dictator Xi Jinping.” The other focused on Xi’s unpopular Zero Covid strategy and said: “No restrictions. We want freedom. No Lies. We want dignity.” The protesters were quickly surrounded by police and carted off, but videos quickly made it onto social media. China’s censors meant they were just as quickly erased from the local internet, but not before they could be reposted for the rest of the world to see. The protests are a huge embarrassment for Xi who is expected to be confirmed as president for a third term by the 2,500 delegates gathering in Beijing on Sunday. The fact that the men were willing to risk – quite possibly sacrifice – their lives for their protest indicates the depth of opposition to Xi Jinping.

Donald Trump

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5 points on Clegg’s admission that Coalition was wrong to cut capital spending

Nick Clegg in DublinNick Clegg has sparked a flurry of excitement with his admission in an interview for The House magazine that the Coalition cut capital spending ‘too far, too fast’ to coin a phrase. Here’s what he said to Paul Waugh and Sam Macrory:

“If I’m going to be sort of self-critical, there was this reduction in capital spending when we came into the Coalition Government. I think we comforted ourselves at the time that it was actually no more than what Alistair Darling spelt out

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The politics of sluggish growth: good for the Tories, bad for Labour, and as for the Lib Dems we’ll see

Today saw the publication by the IMF of its latest growth forecasts. UK growth prospects are downgraded once again. Growth in 2012 is now forecast to be -0.4% (the most recent quarter’s strong showing is anomalous) and an anaemic 1.1% in 2013. As The Spectator’s Jonathan Jones observes, the only thing new here is that the IMF is falling ‘into line with the consensus’.

On the face of it this is bad news for the Coalition, further evidence that the economic strategy of deficit reduction driven forward by David Cameron and George Osborne, and endorsed by Nick …

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What the IMF says about the UK and global economy

The economic headlines have been dominated by the IMF’s latest forecast, with seemingly grim news: UK economic growth forecasts slashed by worried IMF.

The Guardian contrasts the IMF’s downgraded prospects for UK growth with the more stable picture for other countries:

The IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook that GDP across the UK – which is currently in recession – will increase by 1.4% in 2013 – a 0.6 percentage point cut from its previous 2% forecast. Only Spain has a bigger downgrade next year after the IMF said it will lose 0.7 percentage points and maintain its

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LibLink | Vince Cable: We agree to differ on restoring economy

Business Secretary Vince Cable writes today at the Financial Times on the Coalition Government’s approach to deficit reduction, in response to the International Monetary Fund’s endorsement.

He explores the reasons for the financial crisis and its legacy, and suggests,

The only sensible macro-economic policy stance is a tight fiscal policy combined with a loose monetary one: Plan A.

He concludes:

Co-operation between the coalition partners remains vital for the good of the economy. While there is much common ground there are differences of emphasis. Liberal Democrats prioritise radical banking reform, progressive taxation and the green economy. Conservatives set greater store by corporate tax

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Opinion: Time for that Lib Dem tax cut in full?

“Under a Liberal Democrat government, you will not have to pay any income tax on the first £10,000 you earn.”

So said the manifesto on which we fought last year’s election. And while we didn’t get a Liberal Democrat government, we did get the policy.

The coalition agreement commits the government to making real terms steps each year towards the target of £10,000, kicked off by an initial increase of £1000, benefiting the low paid by £200 this year.

But should we be moving faster?

Recent economic growth has, of course, been weaker than expected – no surprise given the circumstances. The events of …

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The Myth of “Strong” Government

As their hopes recede of using our broken voting system to secure a majority government on a minority of support in the country, the Party most set against reform, the Conservatives, and their media proxies begin to reel out the scare stories.

Lib Dem rules could paralyse government,” warned the Scotsman

Paralysis, indecision and political chicanery,” were the fear of the Daily Mail’s full page editorial.

The IMF could have to be called in,” thundered Ken Clarke!

Far from making a positive case to earn your vote, they resort to the desperate tactics of …

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LibLink: Cable in Mail

Vince Cable’s regular slot in the Mail on Sunday was out yesterday; here’s a brief extract:

I have been going on for ages about the way banks exploit the taxpayer guarantee. One simple step is to make them pay for it out of profits, and I was pleased to see the IMF recommend not one but two taxes: one to fund taxpayer guarantees for future support, the other on excessive pay and profits.

But I disagree with the IMF’s belief we must wait for other states. Britain is much more exposed to the risk of a fresh collapse, and we must

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Opinion: A Diminished Clarke – a picture of electoral calculation and desperation

What Ken Clarke has been sent out to do (FT.com – requires registration) – and has been willing to do – diminishes him. It can hardly diminish his party.

Ken Clarke is a fervent European but he has been willing to return to the frontline of Tory politics. No doubt he believes he has done a deal…and he has calculated that he can hold back the forces of Euro-scepticism in the Tory party. The gag he is now prepared to wear, on European matters, is a measure of how unsound his judgement has become.

He has a point when he complains …

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Opinion: The morning after

I walked around the City of London this morning. Sunlight filtered through the banks and sandwich bars of the narrow streets, occasionally reaching the road, more often than not reflected from the acres of glass left gleaming and untroubled the the events of the previous days.

Around the Bank of England I searched for evidence of the violence and anarchy from the hard-core of the idiots who visited the G20 summit only to cause trouble. A rather lonely scrawl of “Fuck Capitalism” could be seen under the Bank’s museum entrance sign, and on the other side, more wittily someone had written “Because we’re evil” under a “No Bicycles” sign.

The small branch of RBS that had made the news as the nexus of ‘public’ anger had two windows boarded up and a rather cheerful offer of 3.5% interest on a cash ISA in the next.

Down Bishopgate where the peaceful Climate Camp had stretched for half a mile, before the Police decided to recycle their tents into environmentally unfriendly shopping bags, there was even less evidence that anything had happened.

The G20 had come, the G20 had gone, some people wanted a bit of a shout about it, and had achieved some commemorative mug shots of being oppressed to share with their mates on MySpace. Somebody accidentally died, and to everyone’s amazement it wasn’t Gordon Brown of embarrassment.

The concrete achievements of the G20 are hard to assess at this stage. Much of the money touted in the ‘historic’ $5 trillion package was from pre-announced national fiscal stimuli, much was optimistic, and much is likely to disappear after the cheerful world leaders go home to do hard sums with their Finance Ministers, several of whom will need to be coaxed down from the window ledges of their Treasuries.

What is clearly new though is the attitude and approach.

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The Independent View: A solution – world government

As the world descends and travels into the catastrophic circles of economic chaos, globalisation seems vulnerable and suffering from nationalist rhetoric. With a growing centralised global economy, with major intuitions – such as the World Bank and IMF – is it time for the United Nations to overseas global economic and financial responsibility?

This is not a winsome notion, we are reaching the next geopolitical evolutionary steps for our civilisation and global federalism will eventually creep its way on to the international stage. Of course, the general public of the United States will be hostile to any bureaucratic institution that is …

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