Show Hide image

Bank of Japan intervenes to appease crumbling markets

Bank of Japan pumps record amount to preserve the country's financial markets.

In an attempt to stabilise financial markets, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) injected 15 trillion yen (£114 bn) into the banking system. This is the largest single operation ever carried out by the BoJ. Nikkei closed today with a 6.2 per cent loss.

This intervention is meant to face the possibility of Japanese consumers withdrawing their savings to face immediate individual costs, thus leaving banks short of liquidities.

In order to support businesses, the bank also decided to expand its asset buying fund by 5 trillion yen (£37.8bn) whilst keeping its interest rates close to 0.

Analysts worry that the country's economy could fall back into recession as a result of the catastrophe. Fears also arise over the island's debt, the highest in the industrialised world. Japan's credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's in January and Moody's was recently threatening to emulate this.

However, most of the country's debt is funded by local savings which leads specialists to discard the possibility of any imminent fiscal crisis.

Show Hide image

No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.