Estonia's President melts down over Paul Krugman article

"Let's sh*t on East Europeans"

Paul Krugman really managed to rile up the President of Estonia yesterday.

The Nobel Laureate was writing about how the country, as pretty much the only practitioner of austerity in Europe which isn't back in recession, is the new poster-child for defenders of the practice.

Citing this chart:

He wrote:

So, a terrible — Depression-level — slump, followed by a significant but still incomplete recovery. Better than no recovery at all, obviously — but this is what passes for economic triumph?

Which rather annoyed President Toomas Ilves:

And with that, President Ilves turned his baseball cap backwards, got on his skateboard, and kickflipped into the sunset.

It does seem like someone has a sore spot about their country's growth, and it's not Paul Krugman. Estonia doth protest too much. That said, Ilves is undoubtedly the world leader who is most adept at using twitter for what it was built for: pointless squabbling and passive aggression.

Sadly, his fixed term comes to an end in 2016, which means we won't get to see those diplomacy skills on a world stage when Estonia takes the rotating EU presidency in 2018.

Estonian President Toomas Ilves and his natty bow-tie. 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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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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