Opinionomics | 2 May 2012

Must-read comment and analysis. Featuring a sweary Stephen King, and burgers in Buenos Aires.

1. A European macro-question for Paul Krugman (Kantoos Economics)

Kantoos suggests that "the optimal policy – taking ECB policy as given – is to add monetary and fiscal stimulus to the periphery (only), as far as that’s possible, such that the period of adjustment is less painful, and limit the overheating of the German economy".

2. Why Big Macs Are Cheap In Argentina (Slate | Moneybox)

He's addressed it a couple of times before, but here Matt Yglesias lays out the full history behind the quirk that is Argentine burger prices.

3. Dear Bank of Japan: So you tried the easing thing a gazillion times… (FT alphaville)

David Keohane suggests that maybe Japan might like to consider a currency floor.

4. If Hollande takes victory he will need to win Merkel over too (Independent)

Margareta Pagano writes that Hollande's first visit as president should be to Berlin to persuade Merkel that austerity alone is not enough.

5. Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake! (The Daily Beast)

Stephen King scolds the superrich (including himself—and Mitt Romney) for not giving back, and warns of a Kingsian apocalyptic scenario if inequality is not addressed in America.

Cheaper in Argentina: A Big Mac. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Will Jeremy Corbyn stand down if Labour loses the general election?

Defeat at the polls might not be the end of Corbyn’s leadership.

The latest polls suggest that Labour is headed for heavy defeat in the June general election. Usually a general election loss would be the trigger for a leader to quit: Michael Foot, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband all stood down after their first defeat, although Neil Kinnock saw out two losses before resigning in 1992.

It’s possible, if unlikely, that Corbyn could become prime minister. If that prospect doesn’t materialise, however, the question is: will Corbyn follow the majority of his predecessors and resign, or will he hang on in office?

Will Corbyn stand down? The rules

There is no formal process for the parliamentary Labour party to oust its leader, as it discovered in the 2016 leadership challenge. Even after a majority of his MPs had voted no confidence in him, Corbyn stayed on, ultimately winning his second leadership contest after it was decided that the current leader should be automatically included on the ballot.

This year’s conference will vote on to reform the leadership selection process that would make it easier for a left-wing candidate to get on the ballot (nicknamed the “McDonnell amendment” by centrists): Corbyn could be waiting for this motion to pass before he resigns.

Will Corbyn stand down? The membership

Corbyn’s support in the membership is still strong. Without an equally compelling candidate to put before the party, Corbyn’s opponents in the PLP are unlikely to initiate another leadership battle they’re likely to lose.

That said, a general election loss could change that. Polling from March suggests that half of Labour members wanted Corbyn to stand down either immediately or before the general election.

Will Corbyn stand down? The rumours

Sources close to Corbyn have said that he might not stand down, even if he leads Labour to a crushing defeat this June. They mention Kinnock’s survival after the 1987 general election as a precedent (although at the 1987 election, Labour did gain seats).

Will Corbyn stand down? The verdict

Given his struggles to manage his own MPs and the example of other leaders, it would be remarkable if Corbyn did not stand down should Labour lose the general election. However, staying on after a vote of no-confidence in 2016 was also remarkable, and the mooted changes to the leadership election process give him a reason to hold on until September in order to secure a left-wing succession.

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