Could Kwasi Kwarteng, Britain’s chancellor or finance minister, have made a less dramatic return to Britain from the International Monetary Fund meetings in the US?
Leaving the meeting early, he raced to the airport and took the last flight home on Oct 13, in order to make an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Liz Truss.
It was clear that something was up – and it wasn’t the markets. Or rather, it was the markets, which had improved slightly on news that Mr Kwarteng would be backing away from the unfunded, unnecessary ideas he and Ms Truss had come up with to give the illusion of dynamism.
Specifically, on October 13, there were rumours that Mr Kwarteng would go ahead with corporation tax rises, which had been in the works and which he cancelled on becoming chancellor.
Soon after the rumours began, Mr Kwarteng was telling ‘The Daily Telegraph’ “let’s see” when asked about an imminent U-turn on his flagship cut to corporation tax. There have already been weeks of turmoil on the markets and the Bank of England had said it would not do heavy-duty stuff from Friday, October 14. In his interview, he said that ensuring corporation tax stayed “competitive” remained a “great idea”, but did not rule out increasing the current 19 per cent rate.
He also said he would not resign. “I’m not going anywhere,” he said, but admitted his first five weeks as chancellor had been a “baptism of fire”.
True but they didn’t have to be. The perils of half-baked KamiKwasi theories are obvious.