The American model of lightly regulated capitalism may be in disrepute, says Irwin Stelzer. But the French President’s ambition is deludedFrench presidents/emperors are given to delusion. Napoleon thought he could conquer the Russian winter. Charles de Gaulle thought he heard voices anointing him the leader of the Free French, and later deluded himself into believing that he — not the British and the Americans, not Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt — liberated France from the Nazis, to whom the massive French army had quickly surrendered just a few years earlier.
Conservative backbenchers were in good voice on Monday, and by prearrangement. The whips had sent around the message that there was to be raucous heckling as Alistair Darling read out what used to be called the Autumn Statement. Duly, there were roars of indignation at the Chancellor’s claims that Britain was best-prepared for a downturn, howls of protest as he claimed to have reduced debt. But then this yielded to unexpected quiet as it slowly became clear that Mr Darling’s giveaways included something the Tories would never have dared dream of: the surrender of everything New Labour once stood for.
Rod Liddle says that something has gone wrong when 15 South Lanarkshire social workers are sacked over a dodgy Gary Glitter joke while none of their counterparts in Haringey has even been reprimanded over the ‘Baby P’ caseLike me, you may well have received a text message or a spammed email recently providing you with the full names of the adults held to be responsible in the appalling case of ‘Baby P’, the small child subjected to the most dreadful physical abuse resulting in his death.
Matthew Castray looks back on the Australian Prime Minister’s first year in office and audits an administration which has reviewed much and done very littleFederal elections come around quickly in Australia. With a maximum term of three years, the average since 1975 has been about two years and nine months. So new Australian governments have an incentive to implement reforms in their first year — or do they? The one-year anniversary of the Rudd Labor government this week gives pause to consider another incentive — one probably familiar in the United Kingdom: to do very little for fear of jeopardising a second term, but maintain the mirage of reform.
Dylan Jones is astonished to find in Sofia that the former communist country has embraced his guide to the mores of modern life — and that not everybody looks like BoratTo Sofia, then, on a ten-seater NetJet Falcon from Farnborough, accompanied by Bryan Ferry and a small coterie of GQ apparatchiks, including the best-dressed man in Shepherd’s Bush, Nick Foulkes.Some of my friends are big in Japan, some of them are big in America and some of the larger ones are big all over the world.
I am an optimist. One of the reasons why I have always been a fan of the brilliant British economist John Maynard Keynes is that he too was an unashamed optimist who believed in the power of money for making things better. Unemployment, recession, deflation — if we were to believe all we see and read from the courts of the media kings, we might all be depressed into thinking there is no way out.
Michael Wolff reveals how he secured Rupert Murdoch’s co-operation for his biography and discovered that this media titan has no interest in posterity. He is, at heart, a city editorThere is, on the one hand, the unparalleled global dominance in media and politics that Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation have achieved. And yet, on the other, there’s an almost endearing attention-deficit lack of organisation and heedlessness that I witnessed in nine months of chatting with Murdoch and his executives.