Daily Archives: June 6, 2012

Well, when I say ‘We’, I mean the Financial Times, and to be more specific, a group of Europe specialists who work at the Financial Times. Yes. The FT has published its very first ebook [drum roll here], which means that even when you are lying on a beach in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a Kindle, Nook, iPad or other branded e-reader in your sandy hands, you can still tickle your braincells with FT content and feel yourself grow more knowledgeable about a multitude of things. 

Edward Luce

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker reacts at his victory party Tuesday, June 5, 2012, in Waukesha, Wis. Walker defeated Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in a special recall election. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Scott Walker at his victory party on June 5. AP Photo/Morry Gash

The great novelist William Faulkner once said: “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.”

On Tuesday night, Republicans issued a warning shot to Barack Obama with the defeat of a recall vote against Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor, who last year stripped public sector unions of most of their bargaining rights.

There were plenty of omens for Mr Obama’s November prospects, mostly – but not all – bad (he came ahead of Mitt Romney in the exit polls).

But the fact that normally Democratic Wisconsin is now in play for November may be less important than the relevance of Tuesday’s history lesson. Stalking in the background, and doubtless turning in his grave, was Robert La Follette, the Wisconsin reformer, who championed worker rights more than a century ago. As father to the Progressive Era, La Follette led the reaction against the inequities of the Gilded Age by taking on the great railroad and oil industry money machines. 

Alan Beattie

Could the IMF help bail out Spain? Tricky one. As goes the EU, so goes the IMF, only more so. 

Tony Barber

Launch event in Brussels. Photo courtesy Transparency International

The launch event for the report in Brussels. Photo: Transparency International

With its fragmenting monetary union, tottering banks and politically discontented citizens, the last thing the European Union needs to hear is that it has an embarrassing public and private sector corruption problem on its hands.

Yet this is the conclusion of a new report from Transparency International, the global anti-corruption watchdog.

“Political parties, public administrations and the private sector are assessed as the weakest forces in the promotion of integrity across Europe,” says the report. Political party funding is inadequately regulated, lobbying remains veiled in secrecy, parliaments don’t live up to their own ethical standards, public procurement practices breed corruption and there isn’t enough legal protection for whistleblowers.