Davos Newbies Home

Party life 

Matthew Yglesias asks some interesting questions about the lifespan of political parties. Might we be witnessing the extinction of Israel’s Labour party, he wonders. He cites the Conservative party in the UK as facing similar life or death issues. Perhaps. There’s a great deal of inertia in voting patterns, particularly in two party systems. The threat to the Conservatives here doesn’t come from Labour’s ascendency. It’s the possibility that the LibDems might overtake them. But under the first-past-the-post voting system here (winner takes all in each constituency), that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

The Treasury 

I’ve scanned all the usual suspects, but I can’t find much today about John Snow, the Treasury secretary designate, that I didn’t know yesterday. That’s disappointing.

The Wall Street Journal tells me Snow is a wonderful golfer, with a handicap of 8.6. (Incidentally, are we supposed to applaud his resignation from Augusta National? Surely he should have realised ages ago that it was a profoundly discriminatory organisation.) All the papers confirm yesterday’s Washington Post description of him as a world-class schmoozer. And everyone confirms that he was paid truckloads (or perhaps railcars) of money for running a so-so company. The Post probably does the best job, with an extensive description of Snow’s past as a deficit hawk — a strange background for someone expected to push for big tax cuts.

In an era of 24-hour news, I look to the best newspapers to provide me with informed analysis the day after events. Where is it? I’ll keep digging, as my friend Dave says.

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