Good morning

The headlines:

  1. Today’s big news: the American election.

    Link: and it’s Not Romney!

    We were all waiting for the key swing states to announce, and then Sky News suddenly flipped over to an “Obama wins!” montage with many Democrats waving flags.

    The full results aren’t in, but Obama has won the 270 votes of the electoral college needed to win outright (284 electoral votes at the moment). The popular vote is swinging slightly in Romney’s favour (at the time of writing, Obama was on 49.1%, and Romney on 49.4%) – but that’s largely irrelevant. For the live results in a wildly-pro-Obama setting, you should check out the Huff.

    Expect days of discussion of the impact. My vote (ironically) and my money (more ironically) is that we’ll all keep plodding along in much the same way.

    That said – I do prefer the incentives of an incumbent president in his last term to those of an incoming president for his first. Here’s hoping that Obama spends most of that time attempting to leave a legacy of “I put things in place to sort this”.

  2. Today’s other big news: the Greek budget vote.

    Link: it really is big news.

    Apologies for all the cartoons – it’s big politics and I can’t resist. But the Greeks are set to vote today for a new labour-laws package, and then again on Sunday for the new budget. I am still confused by all this voting on a Sunday – why can’t the vote just happen during the week in normal working hours?

    Meanwhile, Athens is locked down in 48 hours of protest against austerity.

    Mostly, I think we all just wish that the Greek politicians would spend less time voting and more time making those structural reforms happen.

  3. Tomorrow’s big news today: the Chinese Congress.

    Link: more important?

    MEANWHILE: China prepares for tomorrow’s 18th Party Congress, where we will see the decade-change in leadership. And given that this is going to be the next decade of Chinese foreign policy, it’s probably more significant than a 4 year roll in the American Elected.

    President Hu Jintao and heir-apparent Xi Jinping have suggested that there be more candidates than seats for the Politburo election. Which is a “step in a democratic direction” – or whatever.

    A quick word about Chinese politics: China (1.3 billion people) is ruled by the Party (2,000 delegates), which is ruled by the Central Committee (200 elected Party members), which is ruled by the Politburo (24 elected Central Committee members), which is ruled by the Politburo Standing Committee (9/10 elected Politburo members).

    We will see.

  4. Hollandecozy.

    Link: the sales tax campaign promise backtrack.


    Well well well.

    Mr Hollande. Look at you raising the sales taxes after campaigning against that particular move.

    The main sales tax will go up from 19.6% to 20%, and the tax on home renovations and restaurants from 7% to 10%. However, the sales tax rate on food and energy will be cut from 5.5% to 5% – so he’s not letting go of his socialist roots completely.

    And they’re also looking at…wait for it…spending cuts.

That’s all for now.

Have a good day.