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Brown, Blair and Davos 

My old stamping ground, the World Economic Forum, is in all the UK papers today. It seems that they invited chancellor Gordon Brown to speak at a Friday Davos session on global poverty with Bill Gates, Thabo Mbeki and Jeff Sachs. All well and good. But apparently Tony Blair decided he’d like to speak in the same session, but it would need to be moved to Thursday for his schedule.

The shuffle duly took place. But no one seems to have told Gordon. Cue understandable anger and pique, fuelling the tiff between the two giants of British politics.

The Forum doesn’t seem to be at fault. Apparently Blair’s office assured them that they would square matters with the chancellor. Only they didn’t.

Don’t take your pick 

Mark Mazower in today’s Financial Times cautions the easy historical analogies that policymakers and commentators are so often fond of (subscribers only): “History is not a pick’n’mix box of candy, in which you can pick only the sweet ones.”

Even on the autoroute 

One minor French observation. In Courchevel, where I was skiing, I saw a healthy smattering of WiFi signs, which were certainly not there a year ago. Despite this, I was still glad I was computerless. What surprised me more, however, was that one of the service stations on the autoroute from the airport to the mountains also had WiFi. The autoroute sign listed all the obvious amenities — petrol, food, rest area — and also proudly proclaimed its WiFi status.

Back to the keyboard 

I had dinner tonight with a friend and Davos Newbies reader (the two groups are not congruent) who asked me whether I had decided to cut back on my weblogging.

Not a bit of it. I’ve been away skiing in France, far away from a computer for the past week. I usually tell my readers about such absences, but neglected to do so this time. No harm done, I’m sure.

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