Gordon Brown rallies support for his IMF bid

Cameron is powerless to veto his old rival’s appointment.

Gordon Brown had started to campaign to become the next head of the IMF even before Dominique Strauss-Kahn's career imploded on Sunday. His article in the current edition of Newsweek (written before DSK's downfall), is a transparent job application:

The IMF showed a few months ago that if the world worked together, up to 50 million new jobs could be created – millions of them in Europe and America – and 100 million people could be taken out of poverty. This November, at the next G20 summit, under the leadership of Presidents Sarkozy and Obama, we have the chance to take control of the huge and historic changes confronting us. It is not our fate to be at the mercy of financial chaos, decline and recession: there is an alternative. Securing it will not be easy, but, as I have said before, it is in the space between the possible and the perfect that campaigners for justice must always be.

Today's Financial Times reports that Brown has told friends that he still has a chance of winning the top job and that "he's not taking no for an answer". So, is Brown worth a flutter?

As a European, he is eligible for the post (by tradition, the head of the World Bank is an American, while the head of the IMF is a European), and although David Cameron is free to state his opposition to Brown's appointment, he is powerless to veto it. In addition, the former PM can point to the fact that he sat on the IMF policy committe for ten years and that his rescue of the UK economy was imitated across the world.

But, as things stands, he's unlikely to get the nod. Should the IMF appoint another European, it is most likely to opt for Christine Lagarde, the politically astute French finance minister, who would be the first woman to hold the post.

Alternatively, as France has held the top job for 26 of the past 33 years, the job could go to Germany's Axel Weber, who resigned as president of the Bundesbank in February and has the backing of Angela Merkel. Then there is possibility that the IMF will break with history and appoint a non-European. On either count, Brown is not the man to beat.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
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Donald Trump tweets he is “saddened” – but not about the earthquake in Mexico

Barack Obama and Jeremy Corbyn sent messages of sympathy to Mexico. 

A devastating earthquake in Mexico has killed at least 217 people, with rescue efforts still going on. School children are among the dead.

Around the world, politicians have been quick to offer their sympathy, not least Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose wife hails from Mexico. He tweeted: "My thoughts are with all those affected by today's earthquake in Mexico. Pensando en todos los afectados por el terremoto en México hoy" in the early hours of the morning, UK time.

Barack Obama may no longer be an elected politician, but he too offered a heartfelt message to those suffering, and like Corbyn, he wrote some of it in Spanish. "Thinking about our neighbors in Mexico and all our Mexican-American friends tonight. Cuidense mucho y un fuerte abrazo para todos," he tweeted. 

But what about the man now installed in the White House, Donald Trump? The Wall Builder-in-Chief was not idle on Tuesday night - in fact, he shared a message to the world via Twitter an hour after Obama. He too was "saddened" by what he had heard on Tuesday evening, news that he dubbed "the worst ever".

Yes, that's right. The Emmys viewing figures.

"I was saddened to see how bad the ratings were on the Emmys last night - the worst ever," he tweeted. "Smartest people of them all are the "DEPLORABLES."

No doubt Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto will get round to offering the United States his commiserations soon. 

I'm a mole, innit.