Opinionomics | 31 May 2012

Must-read comment and analysis. Featuring Paris Hilton and Socrates. An unlikely pairing.

1. FAQ: Why is Spain now in crisis? And can it be fixed? (Washington Post | Wonkblog)

Brad Plumer gives the skinny on Spain. Things aren't looking too hot.

2. Paris Hilton's Sad Dating Life And The Collapse Of The Global Economy (Business Insider)

Did you know Paris Hilton's dating life is a bellweather for the macroeconomic state of affairs? It's true: Joe Weisenthal looks back.

3. Addressing Europe’s risks (Reuters)

Felix Salmon points out that the complacency built up in the EU over the last decade has just made the breakdown all the worse.

4. Good Comments (The Grumpy Economist)

John Cochrane has a bit of a go at Paul Krugman.

5. Hoisted from the Archives: A Non-Sokratic Dialogue on Social Welfare Function (Brad DeLong)

Ripped from the past, DeLong argues - coincedentally - against the sort of focus which Cochrane believes is crucial to economics, concluding that "to assume a position of relativism--like the claim to be neutral on issues of distribution--is really a statement that you are on the side of the powerful."

Paris Hilton's dating life: Better than PMIs? 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.

Photo: Getty
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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.