The International Monetary Fund. There, you’ve turned off from this post already. But stay with it – the IMF is about to see a change in its head man, with Dominique Strauss-Kahn stepping down. Someone who would like to replace him, it seems, is Pa Broon, so when the matter was mentioned on this morning’s edition of the Today programme, with Young Dave guesting, many were hanging on the PM’s response.
Except that what Cameron actually said was hardly considered before both left and right reinterpreted it to suit their own agenda. Firmly on the right of the argument, and indeed any argument, are the hacks at the Maily Telegraph, who concluded that the Brown candidacy had been well and truly vetoed.
But then, in the sub-heading, came the phrase “will block”, so perhaps the deed has not yet been done. The impression was given that the Telegraph is less concerned with the fact of the matter than to put the boot into Brown, which at least shows a consistency of approach.
Over at the Staggers, someone else out of his blocks before the starting pistol has even been raised is David Blanchflower, the normally sound former MPC member, who has also assumed that the veto has been used to stop the former PM. Blanchflower is, however, right to suggest that to veto Brown would be petty, and is also right to paint Young Dave as “thin-skinned”, and someone who can’t take criticism.
What Cameron actually said was this: “it does seem to me that, if you have someone who didn’t think we had a debt problem in the UK, when we self-evidently do, they might not be the best person to work out whether other countries around the world have a debt and deficit problem. Above all what matters is the person running the IMF is someone who understands the dangers of excessive debt, excessive deficit, and it really must be someone who gets that rather than someone who says that they don’t see a problem”.He is not, in that statement, saying “no”. There is sufficient wriggle room for him to say “yes” at a later time – like after the local elections and the AV referendum – while simultaneously covering his backside. Especially if no other credible candidate emerges. And even moreso if he can offload blame for the appointment onto another PM or President.