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Barometer

Barometer

2 March 2013

9:00 AM

2 March 2013

9:00 AM

Political joke

The Five Star Movement, led by comedian Beppe Grillo, won 26% of the vote in the Italian general election. Comedian John O’Farrell competed as Labour’s candidate in the Eastleigh by-election. Some other comedians who have won office:

— Jon Gnarr won Reykjavik’s mayoral election in 2010 with 35% of the vote, on a platform of free towels in swimming pools and putting polar bears in the city’s museum (instead of shooting them). He had previously played a Swedish Marxist in a TV comedy show.
— Al Franken was elected to the US Senate for Minnesota in 2009, after a recount. He had previously been a writer for Saturday Night Live and a stand-up comedian.
— Ian Lang, Scottish Secretary and president of the Board of Trade in John Major’s government, cracked few jokes in office, but he appeared with John Cleese, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graham Chapman in the first-ever Cambridge Footlights revue at the Edinburgh fringe in 1962.

Moody blues


Britain’s government debt was downgraded by the ratings agency Moody’s from AAA to AA1, the second highest level. How strong is the correlation between the rating which Moody’s puts on gilts and the interest rate demanded by investors (a guide to how certain it is they will get their money back)?

Moody’s 10yr gilt (%) Interest on rating
AAA
Australia 3.5
AAA Canada 1.9
AAA Germany 1.6
AAA US 1.9
AA1 France 2.2
AA1 UK 2.1
AA3 Japan 0.7
BAA3 Spain 5.1
C Greece 10.8

Go east

The Prime Minister of Romania said that his countrymen were too busy rebuilding their own country to want to flock en masse to Britain. Much is made of Eastern European migration to Britain, but how many British citizens have exercised their right to live in EU countries in Eastern Europe?

Czech Republic 6,800
Poland 5,600
Hungary 5,200
Romania 4,500
Bulgaria 800
Estonia 750
Slovakia 740
Latvia 370
Slovenia 330
Lithuania 290

Source: Institute for Public Policy Research


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