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Italy must prepare for elections, and fast
FT - April 23rd 2013
When you are in a hole, stop digging. A wind of change is in the air. Yes, it is a mixture of tired old metaphors, but that was the scolding and entirely justified message on April 22nd from a tired old man to Italy’s political class: face reality, he...
Cyprus bailout: Europe´s love just got even tougher
The Guardian - March 26th 2013
Once again the euro has been saved, but the eurozone continues to stumble towards disaster. The distinction matters, even if European finance ministers emerged from their late-night negotiations talking proudly of having kept Cyprus inside the euro and—though...
The cult of Silvio Berlusconi: Why Italians keep voting for ´Il Cavaliere´
CNN - February 27th 2013
On the subject of Silvio Berlusconi Italians and non-Italians are, to paraphrase George Bernard-Shaw´s famous quip about Britain and America, divided by a common political language. We think we share the view that in a political world dominated...
From ´La Serenissima´ to bunga bunga: How Italy fell into a coma
CNN - February 20th 2013
On my first visit to Italy, at the age of 18, I fell in love with the country and its amazing history almost at first sight, as I and my friends sailed across the lagoon on the ferry to Venice. When we returned and found our camper van had been emptied...
Investors in Italy can look beyond Monti
FT - December 6th 2012
It will be quite a responsibility to follow an acknowledged saviour, a man so trusted by the international lenders on whom your country depends that most of them not-so-secretly hope that he will still be prime minister after the elections next spring...
Christ Stopped at Taranto
L´Espresso - December 2nd 2012
A joke journalists like to tell is that when arriving in a foreign country you should write your book about it within a month. From then on, what once looked clear will feel far more complex, and your eyes will become blurred by love or even hate. With...
The Diary: Bill Emmott
FT - November 23rd 2012
We all know that policemen are getting younger, and I recall a spot of surprise as ambassadors got younger too, especially those from newer European member states. But imagine my shock when visiting reliably gerontocratic Italy, where only the bunga-bunga...
The American century is not over
Prospect - November 14th 2012
It took quite some chutzpah for Barack Obama to repeat in his victory speech one of Ronald Reagan’s favourite lines, that for America “the best is yet to come”, and even more to reprise his own old lines about bipartisanship, about uniting rather than...
Follow the money
FT - November 9th 2012
Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich, by Christia Freeland - Review by Bill Emmott
It is one of the oldest questions in political economy: why should another person’s mega-wealth worry you, if you are comfortably off yourself? The “Occupy...
Imagine that the Euro will die
L´Espresso - July 18th 2011
Throughout the global financial crisis and then more recently the euro-zone government debt crisis, actions and events that were described as unthinkable or inconceivable have suddenly come to be called normal. It is now time to consider another unthinkable...
If L´Aquila were Tokyo
L´Espresso - April 21st 2011
Culturally, Japan and Italy are as far apart as they are geographically. Yet they still share some surprising similarities. Both are proud of their manufacturing traditions, but worried about them amid slow economic growth and fierce Chinese competition;...
How to save the euro
L´Espresso - January 21st 2011
The euro is like a beautiful modern building, one that is still attracting new tenants (Estonia joined on January 1st) and hosting a helluva rooftop party for its richest, most successful residents (the Germans). But down in the basement there is a huge...
And then get rid of Berlusconismo...
L´espresso - November 25th 2010
The strangest thing about Silvio Berlusconi is that he has appeared unconcerned about leaving any kind of a legacy, any set of achievements through which he might be remembered. All he has wanted, apart from his personal interests, has been numbers: his...
David Cameron´s mixed message
The Guardian - April 1st 2010
Business endorsement for their NI cut is handy, but will not solve the Tories´ credibility gap with voters over ´efficiency savings´
No one is going to vote on the basis of a 1% rise, or cut, in National Insurance contributions (NICs)....
Time for a change, in Japan
Asahi Shimbun - July 15th 2009
A time for change. That is the basic feeling that surrounds elections in parliamentary democracies all over the world, especially when one party has been in government for quite a number of years. Japan has long been the exception, right up until the...
China is not the only modern state
The Guardian - June 25th 2009
Perhaps in half a century, the world will be rather more interesting than the Sino-centric one offered by Martin Jacques
In my view there is both less to Martin Jacques´s thesis and more. The reason there is less to it is that the central principle...
Budget: A Labour scrappage scheme
The Guardian - April 22nd 2009
Despite Darling´s best efforts, the rich won´t bolt, the tax rise won´t raise much, and Labour will still lose the general election
Basically, this budget revealed what we all knew already: that the British economy is in a deep hole...
Exciting? No--and thank God for that
Daily Telegraph - April 4th 2009
Committee meetings are not occasions from which grand, radical solutions can be expected to emerge. But it is nevertheless important to hold them, so that everyone who matters (and many who don’t) can have a chance to say their piece, and so that you...
Brown must focus on the banks
The Guardian - March 26th 2009
Given their lack of fiscal room to manoeuvre, Brown and Darling should take RBS and Lloyds/HBOS into full public ownership
Can this truly be called a "retreat"? Only last November, when Alistair Darling was unveiling his package of VAT cuts and extra...
A silver lining for Japan
The Guardian - February 20th 2009
The economic suffering here has been harsh and long, but at last political change is coming
In the race to report the worst economic contraction among rich countries this year, Britain is being run close by another island nation: Japan, the world´s...
Japan: The End of Gridlock
Newsweek - January 10th 2009
Hard economic times will be politically risky for many countries, bringing populism, protectionism, mass protests, internal strife, revolution and even perhaps war. Yet at least one important country stands to benefit politically from the recession. That...
I wasn´t right. But that´s OK
The Guardian - January 3rd 2009
“What, pray, is all the fuss about?” asked a sage columnist in these pages on the first anniversary of the credit crunch (“Crisis, what crisis?”, Guardian August 12th 2008). In response to claims that this was a great crisis of capitalism he even deployed...
The cash of civilisations
Financial Times - November 1st 2008
Review by Bill Emmott
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the WorldBy Niall FergusonAllen Lane £25, 464 pagesFT Bookshop price: £20
If, in accordance with the mood of the moment, you are wont to think that financiers are all parasites,...
The rise of Asia is not a simple matter of East versus West
The Independent - October 30th 2008
There is a tendency, particularly in Washington and occasionally in Western Europe, to think of the rise of Japan, China and India as being in some way a matter of power shifting from the Western powers to the East. My belief, and the essence of the argument...
Washington Post - October 19th 2008
Historians identify changes in eras in terms of decades, even centuries. Commentators are a much more impatient bunch: A few weeks of turmoil on Wall Street,...
Can Japan offer the solution to the financial crisis?
Daily Telegraph - October 4th 2008
Bail-out: Can Japan offer the solution to the financial crisis?
Japan’s 1990s banking crisis offers the solution to our woes, says Bill Emmott.
Last Updated: 10:30PM BST 03 Oct 2008
Land of the rising sums: government´s failure...
Crisis, what crisis?
The Guardian - August 12th 2008
What, pray, is all the fuss about? Since August 9th last year, we have (according to the sages at the IMF) been in “the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.” Aditya Chakrabortty, in these pages last week (“Capitalism lies in shambles, and...
Desperate days for Doha
Asahi Shimbun - July 28th 2008
This week, on the shores of Lake Geneva, a meeting has been taking place that could determine whether globalization continues to make progress or whether restrictions against trade and cross-border investment begin to be rebuilt. This assembly of trade...
U. S. can lead the way to cut carbon emissions
Newsday - July 15th 2008
It is always right to look at agreements made at the annual Group of Eight summits of rich-country leaders with skepticism. These summits are little more than photo opportunities with banquets attached. But the response of environmentalists to the G8´s...
Asia and the American election
Asahi Shimbun - June 16th 2008
Now that the Democrats have at last chosen their presidential candidate, the real guessing game can begin: what might the choice between Barack Obama and John McCain mean for Japan? Or for Asia in general?
GM crops can save us from food shortages
Daily Telegraph - April 17th 2008
It is remarkable how rapidly the world has moved from worrying about deflation to worrying about inflation; from cheer to despondency about the reduction of poverty; and from concern about food surpluses to panic about shortages.
The hand of rising food...
Lessons from Japan´s economic malaise
Washington Post - March 28th 2008
A little knowledge can be not just dangerous but grossly misleading. That is the right conclusion to draw from the latest, surprisingly reassuring data about the U.S. economy and from the interview in yesterday´s Wall Street Journal in which Sen....
The IMF and its fiscal recipe
Asahi Shimbun - February 18th 2008
If you think back ten years ago, to the East Asian financial crisis that began in Thailand and then spread all over the region, brought down the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia and then hit other emerging markets such as Russia and Brazil, what is the...
The coming change in China
Voice - January 2008
The momentum behind China’s economic and political rise is impressive. It brings to mind the phrase "shock and awe" that was commonly used by American military thinkers in connection with the invasion of Iraq in 2003—before things went so badly wrong...
We must not ignore the wild gyrations of Asian traders
The Guardian - January 25th 2008
It is so nice when a consensus forms among the economic commentators. There is going to be a recession in America, the pack says, and probably in Britain too, for we have both sinned with our debt, our deficits and our soaring house prices. But the world...
Tata´s Nano car and India´s arrival
Asahi Shimbun - January 19th 2008
Lakes full of ink have been spilled about the unveiling in India on January 10th by Tata Motors of its new, super-cheap car. Many have pondered whether the $2,500 (Y270,000) car, called the Tata Nano, will worsen global warming and cause chaos on India’s...
Minimum wages in Germany and Japan
Asahi Shimbun - December 26th 2007
Politics and economics often pull in different directions. In the world’s third biggest economy, Germany, a policy is being debated intensely that makes little economic sense but much political sense. In the world’s second biggest economy, Japan, that...
The importance of Pakistan to Japan
Asahi Shimbun - November 18th 2007
In 1938 the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, justified his attempt to ignore Adolf Hitler’s invasion of the central European state of Czechoslovakia by describing the issue as "a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know...
Why Fukuda should visit Nanjing
Asahi Shimbun - October 8th 2007
For an outsider to comment about the historical issues between Japan and China feels instinctively awkward—rather like a stranger butting in on a family quarrel.
When Congressmen such as Mike Honda introduce bills to the US House of Representatives...
The Age of Turbulence: Book review
Sunday Times - September 30th 2007
The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World. By Alan Greenspan Allen Lane £25 pp531
The common image of Alan Greenspan is of a brilliant but rather nerdy man, who as the world’s most important central banker developed convoluted, ambiguous language...
Nightmares about globalisation
Asahi Shimbun - September 3rd 2007
There are two popular nightmares about globalisation, and sadly neither is quite foolish enough to be easily proven false. Over the next year, both are going to be tested by events in the world economy—especially by the financial turmoil that woke the...
Tony Blair´s lessons for Japan
Toyo Keizai - July 28th 2007
Tony Blair is undoubtedly a model for political success. After all, he survived for 10 years as Britain’s prime minister and won three general elections in a row, the first two of them (in 1997 and 2001) by huge majorities. He is a celebrity among politicians,...
Shinzo Abe´s lessons for Gordon Brown
Asahi Shimbun - July 23rd 2007
It is hard to follow a superstar. In that regard, Britain’s Gordon Brown and Japan’s Shinzo Abe share a common predicament. Like Mr Abe in October 2006, Gordon Brown started well last month when he took over Britain’s prime ministership from Tony Blair....
Tough love needed for climate change to stop
Asahi Shimbun - June 24th 2007
Nowadays, we all think that the planet needs to be saved and we all want to do our bit to save it. That, at least, is what a visitor from outer space might conclude if they had been lucky enough to land just when the Group of Eight (G8) summit was being...
China´s stockmarket bubble
Asahi Shimbun - May 21st 2007
What is a bubble? No one really knows: people tend to agree on what bubbles are only after they have burst. But a pretty fair indicator is when a stockmarket index has risen by more than 150% last year, and has risen by more than 50% so far this year....
Japan´s interest in an Asian community
Asahi Shimbun - April 1st 2007
The European Union has just celebrated its 50th birthday, or rather the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome which established the first, small, club of six countries that has now grown to a membership of 27 European nations. Visiting...
The best idea: do nothing
International Herald Tribune - January 4th 2007
By Vladimir Dlouhy and Bill Emmott
A twice-yearly European ritual began this week when Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her priorities during Germany´s six months as the next president of the Council of the European Union.
We would like to offer some...
The World in 2006 - January 2006
Junichiro Koizumi will leave Japan´s economy on the mend and its politics invigorated
A Japanese spring
The land of the rising sun has been swathed in so much cloud during the past decade that even the optimists...
Japan Inc., RIP
The Wall Street Journal - March 2005
The appointment of the first foreign-born chief executive to run one of Japan´s most famous companies, Sony, looks like a clear sign that something dramatic is happening in Japanese business. It isn´t. Instead, the arrival of Sir Howard Stringer at the...
Koizumi faces divisions as traditional role changes
The Scotsman - July 2004
Japan´s sun is rising again, after a decade of stagnation, with economic recovery now widely based and quite powerful, even if it is too soon to say whether better times are back for good. You would thus expect the man who has been prime minister...
Japan´s English lessons
Foreign Policy - January 2004
North Korea´s nuclear threat is forcing Japan to choose between two strategic options: draw closer to the United States, or develop a more autonomous and assertive foreign policy. How to balance these competing visions? Look to another island nation,...
The rise and fall of the sun
New Statesman - September 2003
Is the vacuum of leadership that led Japan astray in the 1930s not also the country´s central political problem today, asks BILL EMMOTT
The rise and fall of the sun
Review: Inventing Japan: from empire to economic miracle (1853-1964), Ian Buruma
New Statesman - June 2003
The past 20 years have seen the growth of a huge global middle class. So George Monbiot is wrong to say that poverty is increasing, and equally wrong in his dream of a world parliament to help those who are still poor.
If Saddam steps out of line we must go straight to war
The Guardian - November 2002
There were three speakers on the panel - an American hawk, a European multilateralist and a Russian liberal MP - but it was the Russian who sprang the surprise. The topic was Iraq. The European audience was sceptical about George Bush´s views, and expected...
Time for a referendum on the monarchy
The Guardian - December 2000
"What, you a republican?!," exploded a Tory peer recently when the subject of the Economist´s anti-monarchical views came up; "but you are intelligent, you think things through."
I could simply have returned the compliment, but the grilling swiftly...
Rights For The Right
Prospect Magazine - March 1997
Parliamentary sovereignty is not the solution to Britain´s European impasse. Bill Emmott, editor of The Economist, and David Manasian, argue that Thatcherites and Hayekians should embrace constitutional reform and a bill of rights as a permanent restraint...