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19 April 2011

It is petty of Cameron to oppose Brown’s IMF bid

The possibility of an ex-prime minister leading the IMF should be welcomed.

By David Blanchflower

There is a long tradition in the United States of presidents putting party politics aside in order to work with ex-presidents. President Clinton, a Democrat, has worked with presidents George H and George W Bush, who are both Republicans, of course, on a variety of projects around the world. Carter, another Democrat, has been a roaming ambassador for years. Statesmen put party politics aside for the good of the nation. But not David Cameron.

Asked whether the coalition would veto a possible appointment of Gordon Brown to the IMF in a BBC radio interview, Mr Cameron indicated he might. He said: “If you have someone who didn’t think we had a debt problem in the UK when we self-evidently do have a debt problem, then they might not be the most appropriate person to work out whether other countries around the world have debt and deficit problems.”

This is not what a statesman would say. This is the behavior of a petty, narrow-minded, vindictive person who is putting his and his party’s interests ahead of the nation’s. The possibility of having an ex-prime minister leading a major international agency would be good for Britain. Would it be better to have someone from another country such as Brazil or Somalia in the role? I think not. Put your petty differences aside.

I listened to Gordon Brown’s speech at Breton Woods the other day and he had a vision for the global economy, arguing that this is the first great crisis of globalisation. Hence we need global solutions. No deficit denier, he. Cameron, of course, has zero background or training in economics and it shows.

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All this suggests is that Cameron is thin-skinned and can’t take criticism, as is becoming increasingly apparent at PMQs. It also suggests that Dave is rather worried about his economic policy failing — and so he should be. We should expect better from our Prime Minister. He is increasingly sounding like a lightweight.