The prime minister will be standing in front of Parliament later this afternoon to provide an update on what he achieved in Brussels yesterday at the European Council meeting. Despite talk of David Cameron abandoning the veto, the eurosceptics in his party are quiet-ish…for the moment. While we wait to see how the PM describes Britain’s current position on the new EU fiscal pact, I’ve found a great quote from a major figure who may soon cause the government a serious headache. Christine Lagarde, former French finance minister and now the head of the International Monetary Fund, is an impressive operator, and has become just as important in European politics as the prime ministers and presidents. While George Osborne is a fan, having recommended her to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn after his resignation last May, the chancellor will face huge opposition to any plans to increase Britain’s contribution to the IMF to create a ‘firewall’ to protect the euro. I recommend this interview of Lagarde by Newsweek’s Christopher Dickey and I love this quote by the IMF chief:
‘I don’t know if it’s male versus female, but I am told my management style is more inclusive,” says Lagarde. 'It has to do with forming a team’s view, having a consensual approach, “‘wasting time’ on occasion” to build consensus so that “you will not need to waste it in convincing people to implement.
'Even if it means not appearing as decisive — you know, ‘This is my way or the highway’ — I don’t work that way,' says Lagarde. 'At the end of the day we have to reach a compromise and a common platform, but I think it has to include as many people as possible.' She pauses for a second. 'I leave aside the bastards, because that’s one thing that I don’t compromise with: people who lie, people who cheat, people who are not with the group and behave like parasites. That, I can’t stand.’
So at the least we know David Cameron and George Osborne need to be straight with her.
As an endnote, I’m wondering where to launch a new series with a very unsnappy title. Eye-catching-Things-Foreign-Officials-Or-Politicians-Say. Or, for short, E-T-F-O-O-P-S. Even with Silvio Berlusconi’s enforced retirement, there are plenty of eye-catching, outrageous, or bewildering quotes stated by politicos from around the world that make most of our politicians looks very sensible and safe.