25 March 2009

Today New York, tomorrow Brazil

The Prime Minister is investing an awful lot of time and effort into next week's G20 Summit. Let us hope that it brings him (and us) commensurate reward.

But some kind of co-ordinated stimulus seems further away than ever, now that President Obama has jumped the gun while Frau Merkel and M Sarkozy seem firmly opposed. Even the Governor of the Bank of England has deserted the sinking ship.

So what does that leave? Putting the boot into tax havens is long overdue (and, as many of them seem to be British possessions, whose fault is that?); but it is unlikely to be of short-term assistance in the current crisis. Similarly, a new system of global banking regulation would be desirable but it will not be the product of a one day summit of government leaders.

And a few platitudes on avoiding a descent into protectionism would be more convincing if the Doha Round did not languish on the sidelines while the US, the UK, France and Germany are pumping subsidies into their domestic industries as if there were no tomorrow.

But G20 will no doubt be hailed as a great success, as that is the way of these things. Lots of food will be eaten and wine drunk (as international diplomats seem to march upon their stomachs); lots of police overtime will be incurred; and vast quantities of ink will be spilled in reporting all the goings-on. While we petty men walk under the huge legs and peep about.


subrosa said...

I think Queenie will have something to say to the PM at their next weekly chat. Especially since she invited the Governor of the Bank of England for a private chat yesterday. Never happened before in her reign.

Anonymous said...

I love it when you go all literary on us.