Opinionomics | 9 May 2012

Must-read comment and analysis. Featuring exhortations to buy a house but not to buy a Death Star.

1. How the Chancellor made the right decision about the timing of austerity (Not the Treasury View)

Jonathan Portes looks back in time to understand the relationship between austerity and growth.

2. Greece, France and the future of the euro (BBC News)

The more that investors and policymakers think about the results in Greece and France, the more worried they are - for good reason, writes Stephanie Flanders.

3. Chart of the day: Let’s go buy a house! (Reuters)

Felix Salmon shows how Americans can now take advantage of long-term fixed financing to own a home for a monthly payment less than the cost of renting.

4. ‘Understood properly, the Death Star is not worth it.’ (Washington Post | Wonkblog)

Gregory Koger addresses the most important policy question of the millennium: Should we build a Death Star?

5. Germany’s reaction to the newly elected French President (Bruegel)

Philine Schuseil rounds up the German reaction to the election of Hollande.

The Death Star. We shouldn't build one, apparently.

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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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.