Despite starting off this mad week well, with a plan to “concentrat[e] on is who is the best person for the job”, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has decided that he doesn’t even want to know who is going to be nominated before he backs French finance minster Christine Lagarde for the top post that the IMF. According to news reports today, he proclaimed: “On the basis of merit, I believe Christine is the outstanding candidate for the IMF – and that’s why Britain will back her.” Osborne, from the Conservative party, in his statement seemed to favour Lagarde’s penchant for fiscal austerity.
For history buffs, in 2007 when Strauss-Kahn was running for the job, the UK, then run by Gordon Brown as prime minister, was the only European country to hold out on picking a candidate until after nominations closed. Nominations closed on August 31, 2007; and the UK agreed to support Strauss-Kahn only on September 5, 2007. That principled stand by the Labour government, looked like heralding a break with the past tradition of stitching up a decision behind closed doors in Brussels. Alas, it seems George Osborne could only stick to his principles for about 4 days.
This puts the UK firmly in the dog-house with most other major European countries.
In the dog house: UK, Germany, Barroso, Italy, Austria, Spain, Ireland and Belgium
In the limelight: no one right now