After several days of opaque backroom dealings and horse-trading between 0.000005% of the EU’s population, the EU’s slate of new ‘Presidents’ was finally unveiled last night. Not a single one was on a ballot paper anywhere at the last EU elections, it’s a ragtag collection of undistinguished second-tier politicians unloved in their own countries and scandal-ridden appointees from the Davos circuit. Meet your new EU overlords:
European Commission President: Ursula Von Der Leyen. Who?
European Council President: Charles Michel
European Central Bank President: Christine Lagarde
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs: Josep Borrell
You didn’t vote them in, you can’t vote them out, in fact they can do pretty much whatever they like while living off hugely generous salaries and expense accounts funded by your taxes. EU democracy at its finest once again…
In the room where Marie Antoinette was sentenced to death by guillotine, IMF chief Christine Lagarde has been convicted of negligence over a fraudulent €403 million payout to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008, when she was France’s finance minister. Typical of the French justice system that she will face no punishment. Almost as criminal as the IMF’s forecasts…
A damning report by IMF watchdog the Independent Evaluation Office has slammed a “culture of complacency” in Christine Lagarde’s organisation. Focusing on the IMF’s response to the Eurozone crisis, the report claims that the Fund was riven with “issues of accountability and transparency”, claiming Lagarde and senior management established “small, ad hoc staff task forces” to plan for the possibility of bailouts, rather than holding executive board meetings. The report slams the “lack of board involvement”, with management failing to discuss – sometimes despite direct requests – issues around the unfolding crisis. Preparations made by management lacked “analytical depth, rigor, or specificity”. Most damning of all, however, is the IMF’s “groupthink” and unquestioning links to European policy – particularly their irrational fervour for the Euro. The report concludes:
“At the euro area level, IMF staff’s position was often too close to the official line of European officials, and the IMF lost effectiveness as an independent assessor.”
So much for that independent report, eh Remainers?
Leave message: IMF bullying British voters and cheating purdah rules.
Remain message: “Independent” institutions back Remain.
Cut through: Christine Lagarde.
Odds: Remain 1/3 Leave 9/4
Latest poll: Remain 44%, Leave 46% (ICM, online). Poll of Polls is now Remain 50%, Leave 50%.
Osborne says the IMF’s Brexit-bashing report is totally impartial: “Today the independent IMF reinforced the conclusions of the independent bank of England.” So it’s unfortunate that Christine Lagarde began by thanking the Treasury for their help:
“Let me by the same token thank all UK authorities who have been helping us in preparing the article for work in the last few weeks. There’s always been good cooperation between the Treasury, the Bank of England and any other authorities that we consult with”
She was then forced to deny the Treasury wrote any of the report. Ooooops!
Christine Lagarde is making yet another doom-mongering ‘major intervention’ at 10am, with that €400 million fraud trial still looming over her. The IMF chief will again warn against Brexit during a meeting with Osborne at the Treasury, a geo-political courtesy return favour to the Chancellor, who campaigned hard for her to get the job. Like pretty much every group Remain have wheeled out, the IMF has received funding from the European Commission. Pro-Remain groups which have made referendum interventions have received €160 million from the Commission in the last nine years:
PwC warned leaving would cause a “serious shock” – no kidding, they’re bankrolled by the Commission to the tune of €16 million. LSE say we’re better off Remaining – they certainly are having received €18 million. The WWF says EU membership “benefits our environment” – it benefits theirs by €46 million.
Remain have barely named a group supporting them which hasn’t received huge amounts from the Commission. He who pays the piper…
UPDATE: RSPB get in touch to stress they do not have a position on the referendum because neither side is campaigning on the environment.