Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

This article is from today’s FT Opinion email. Sign up to receive a daily digest of the big issues straight to your inbox.

Spain's new prime minister Pedro Sánchez swept into power this week just two years after suffering the worst humiliation of his career. Back then, the former basketball player vowed to quit parliament after leading the Socialists to their second dreadful electoral showing in a row and being ousted in a coup, writes Michael Stothard in a profile.

In the meantime, he reinvented himself by taking himself off on an eight-month tour of Spain in his modest Peugeot 407. He said he wanted to “listen to those who haven’t been listened to, to the grassroots members and leftwing voters”. Last autumn, he won back the leadership by presenting himself as the anti-establishment, far-left candidate to restore the soul of the party. Politically flexible, he has shifted positions regularly. This week, he came to power with the help of the far-left Podemos but he presented a centrist cabinet, filled with moderate technocrats.

French history
Sophie Pedder argues that commentators looking to the UK for parallels to Emmanuel Macron are mistaken because he is neither Margaret Thatcher nor Tony Blair.

Bye-bye bikini
Viv Groskop connects the dots between the #MeToo movement, falling sales of push-up bras and the decision this week by the Miss America pageant to scrap its swimsuit competition.

Going once
Tim Harford is frustrated by his struggle to buy tickets for Korean pop sensations BTS and floats the idea of using auctions to sell everything from houses and cars, to the land needed to expand Heathrow Airport.

Tory business
Patience Wheatcroft argues that the Conservatives are so tangled in arguments about Brexit that they are failing their supporters in the corporate world.

Best of the week

Mexican ‘Silk Road’ trade corridor is set to spice up US tension by Jude Webber

How Donald Trump is empowering China by Edward Luce

The iPhone is only just starting to grow up by John Gapper

The trade in dinosaur fossils robs humanity of its heritage by Anjana Ahuja

Donald Trump has shaken my faith that markets will remain free by Brooke Masters

Italy, democracy and the euro cage by Gideon Rachman

Why the Swiss should vote for ‘Vollgeld’ by Martin Wolf

What you've been saying

Shops may need to flag up their moral stance— Letter from Alison Hackett:

Trading is a public affair, not private. The agreement to exchange goods and services for money comes under contract law. Ashers wants to trade under particular conditions (the right to approve the moral of every message it ices on its cakes). Thus, it is incumbent on its owners to make that explicit on the shop front and website.

Now that the Eighth Amendment has been repealed and abortion is to be legislated for in Ireland (May 27), will pharmacies be allowed not to supply medication to terminate a pregnancy when it becomes a legal prescription made by doctors?

Comment from Bubble on Watch the Fed’s balance sheet, not interest rates:

Fed's balance sheet is one thing; risk pricing is another.

A quick look at the 10-year yield: US 2.9%, Italy 2.9%, UK 1.4%, Greece 4.6%, Ger 0.3%, Thai 2.5%…..

I think US bonds are being priced too low. Viewed another way, many countries (especially Emerging Markets or troubled developed) need a massive re-pricing relative to the US. This could be the source of trouble.

Manufacturing defaults is market manipulation— Letter from Guy Wroble:

Your explanation of manufactured defaults (The Big Read, June 5) indicates that a party receives a thing of value (bribe), to perform an action that it would normally not, so that the party paying the bribe can profit from a condition that otherwise would not exist. How can this be anything other than market manipulation? And what does this say about the probity of the financial markets?

Today's opinion

Northern rail woes make case for more UK devolution
Train chaos shows a government incapable of delivering fair transport infrastructure

Tangled in Brexit, the Tories are failing their business supporters
Leaving the EU has tied the party to positions that fail to promote prosperity

Desmond de Silva, barrister and war crimes prosecutor, 1939-2018
A bon vivant with a love of fine wine and a legal mind as sharp as a razor

Instant Insight: The FCA is sending the wrong message on premium listing
The regulator risks undermining Britain’s reputation for good corporate governance

Person in the News: Pedro Sánchez, a dogged politician who grabbed his chance
Spain’s prime minister defies leftist allies by filling cabinet with technocrats

Doug Ford owes Ontario poll victory to his economic message
Canadian populist leader largely avoids immigration issues that obsess Trump

Free Lunch: Britain’s brittle strengths
Even the best post-Brexit opportunities risk being undermined

Bye bye bikini: the bra refuseniks rethinking femininity
Miss America ditches swimsuits as views about empowerment change — but to what?

London adjusts to a less lavish new era
One way to rebalance the economy is to allow the capital to sink a little

Emmanuel Macron is neither Margaret Thatcher nor Tony Blair
The French president starts from a vision of empowerment and social mobility

Undercover Economist: The progressive case for holding auctions for everything
Putting a price on our assets would lead to fairer taxes and a more dynamic economy

Ingram Pinn’s illustration of the week: Building the wall
Trump targets G7 allies

FT Alphaville: Tokens all the way down

FT View

FT View: Theresa May’s soft approach to facing down a hard Brexit
Staunch Leavers are losing arguments as their threats prove empty

FT View: Argentina and the IMF step in to stop a crisis
The problem of funding has been solved for now, but others remain

The Big Read

The Big Read: Inside the chaos of Donald Trump’s trade wars
Officials describe a White House in disarray with fierce infighting, no process for decisions and a president without a strategy

Get alerts on Opinion when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.

Follow the topics in this article