Wry & Dry

G-7: A spot of bother

Oh, dear.  How the world is changing. 

Readers will know that the Group of Seven (G-7) is a collective of the seven major advanced countries on the planet: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and USA.  The EU is tacked on.  It's a sort of Western Democracy Economic Club, plus Japan.

And it's not even the world's seven largest economies: China is #2, India #7 - Italy and Canada would otherwise be on the bench.

It used to the be the G-8, but then Russia got the heave-ho in 2014 for annexing Crimea.  W&D's not sure why Russia got a guernsey then - Australia's GDP (#12) is greater than Russia's (#13).

Barely 18 months ago, in June 2015, the G-7 leaders were in a group photo.  A repeat photo now would have just two of those same leaders in it: five of them are out of power or close to it.

Consider this:

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Harper, Canada - gone

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Obama, USA - going

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Renzi, Italy - going

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Hollande, France - going

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Cameron, UK - gone

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Merkel, Germany, faces an election in 2017.

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Abe, Japan, faces an election in 2018.

Angela Merkel will probably get re-elected.  The same cannot be said for Abe.

In the last 18 months, the politics of the successor leaders is best described as post-ideological, and sort of following of Angela Merkel.  Ms Merkel is fiscally-moderate right wing, but socially left.

In the UK, Teresa May is as tough as Thatcher, but is more a Whig than a Conservative.  Trump is economically left-wing and socially right-wing.  

France and Italy will move rapidly to the right in 2017 (France) and 2018 (Italy, but there is every chance that early elections will be held), Germany more slowly rightwards (as shown by Ms Merkel's announcement supporting the banning of face covering clothing). 

Italy remains a problem: no surprises there.  Following Sunday's referendum defeat of the government, there is a heightened push for Italy to leave the euro-zone - a position favoured by the Five-Star Movement, led by former comedian Bepe Grillo, and by the far-right Northern League.

W&D's view is that Italy will never leave the eurozone - it is a major beneficiary of the currency.  Every Italian knows on which side the focaccia is buttered.

And that is without speaking about the seeming inextricable Italian banking crisis.

Outside of Europe, Canada has gone the other way - and then some.  Its darling-of-the-left new Prime Minister will remain both ideologically and fiscally left of centre.  

Although his recent outpouring of grief of the demise of Fidel Castro suggests either naivety or hubris.  Either way, he's not the darling he was a month ago.

W&D wonders how the new G-7 will succeed.  

And, ironically, the next G-7 meeting will be held in Italy (in May 2017, in Sicily), under host leadership of whomever the 37th post-war Prime Minister of Italy will be [1].  

[1] To compare: Australia has had 14 post-war prime minsters.