Thursday, 19 May 2011

DSK Affair and the IMF Succession Debate

Strauss-Kahn: Leered or smeared?
On Saturday the 14th of May, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was arrested as he attempted to board a flight to France at New York's JFK Airport. Accused of sexual assault, forcible confinement and attempted rape, the future looked neither bright or orange for the one-time rising star of France's centre-left. As Ken Clarke found out almost to his cost just yesterday, any press story that includes the 'R' word is often career threatening; but if a specific accusation is actually  leveled against a male public figure then it is always career ending.

The case of TV presenter John Leslie in 2002 (never charged or prosecuted for rape, but accused of it by Ulrika Johnson) and the ongoing allegations (2010 - present) against Julian Assange (founder of Wikileaks) have proven that allegations of sexual misconduct are an extremely effective tool for discrediting the reputations of men in the public eye. Consequently, unfortunately for Professor Strauss-Kahn, whether he is innocent or guilty is now largely irrelevant; a fact I am sure was not lost on him when he resigned as President of the IMF this morning. Just yesterday, British Justice Minister Ken Clarke found himself in hot water for indelicately articulating Government plans to reform sexual assault laws. It seems that for men, even mentioning the 'R' word is dangerous political ground, something unlikely to have been lost on the enemies of Wikileaks' Assange (of which there is a plethora) or indeed, the equally numerous political opponents of DSK

Consuela: No means no.
There has been conspiratorial talk of a possible Nicolas Sarkozy ordered involvement in DSK's tumble from grace. However, this theory is unsubstantiated and most unlikely, as it would risk a Presidential scandal on the scale of the Watergate affair if ever discovered. Indeed, much more likely to be complicit in such a scenario is the French far right party, the Front National (FN) under Marine Le Pen, who took over from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011. The FN have much less to loose than the incumbent President, as well as a history of bribery and corruption allegations. Further, Le Pen's FN have a clear motive for clearing Straus-Kahn from the left in order to improve the chances of their own electoral successes in the next year's French Presidential elections.

Vines: Intellectually sub-normal?
With DSK's resignation this morning came the inevitable debate over his successor, with former British Chancellor and Prime Minister Gordon Brown being mooted by some, including Oxford University's Professor David Vines. Quite how it is possible for anyone to be both an Oxford University Professor AND still believe in Gordon's Brown's ability to successfully  manage anything other than the destruction of all he surveys, is completely unfathomable. Brown is a man who, as Chencellor and then Prime Minister, took Britain beyond the brink of bankruptcy.

Brown: Socially retarded?
As it stands, Brown is thankfully only an outside choice for the role; his ability to glad-hand for support and schmooze his way to the top isn't exactly well known. However, he does have a proven ability to force his way up the greasy pole if no democratic endorsement is required. With these two points in mind, perhaps it may be worth analysing Mr Brown's bank records for large transfers to either New York or Paris, or both. 

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