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.

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Quiz: Can you identify fake news?

The furore around "fake" news shows no sign of abating. Can you spot what's real and what's not?

Hillary Clinton has spoken out today to warn about the fake news epidemic sweeping the world. Clinton went as far as to say that "lives are at risk" from fake news, the day after Pope Francis compared reading fake news to eating poop. (Side note: with real news like that, who needs the fake stuff?)

The sweeping distrust in fake news has caused some confusion, however, as many are unsure about how to actually tell the reals and the fakes apart. Short from seeing whether the logo will scratch off and asking the man from the market where he got it from, how can you really identify fake news? Take our test to see whether you have all the answers.

 

 

In all seriousness, many claim that identifying fake news is a simple matter of checking the source and disbelieving anything "too good to be true". Unfortunately, however, fake news outlets post real stories too, and real news outlets often slip up and publish the fakes. Use fact-checking websites like Snopes to really get to the bottom of a story, and always do a quick Google before you share anything. 

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.