What in the name of Greek buggery?
Greece averted nightmare scenario - finance minister
So a 'nightmare' has been averted. Wonderful. Those Greeks who had nothing to do with this crisis must be sleeping tight tonight as they ponder the collapse of their country's financial system and the 10 or so years of austerity that they now face. That we also face. And for what? To prop up a currency, the Euro, that has everything to do with political posturing and nothing to do with economic reality.
Be sure, the Euro is ALL about politics, nothing to do with economics. Some very heavy-weight figures, past and present, from Delors to Legarde, Mitterand to Merkel have their reputations staked on this farce. It cannot be allowed to fail regardless of the pain and misery it will cause.
We all have to deal with banks - but we have to deal with them on planet earth; Euro nations don't. Say I borrowed £100,000 from my bank. After 6 months I am struggling to pay it back so I go to the bank. They will insist that I budget of course, cancel my mobile, cable TV subscription etc and if I show them the resolve required to get myself out of the sticky situation, they may be sympathetic. What they will not do is say to me "OK phylos, you're struggling to pay off this debt so we'll lend you another £100,000". It makes no sense does it? You and I can see that, but we don't have any political dogma to follow.
Greece never met the criteria for joining the Euro. Everyone knows that. But what they did, hand in hand with Goldman Sachs was to come up with a financial instrument called a debt swap. They hid I believe, about €2,000,000,000 (two billion) Euros worth of debt using this tool. Goldman made about half a billion in fees so they're happy. Euro politicians welcomed Greece into the fold not even bothering to cross their finger behind their backs. They were happy too. What on earth could go wrong?
Well now we know.
What disappoints me the most is that once, I was the most pro-European person I knew. I looked at the tired, complacent political system in the UK and saw Europe as a shiny new alternative. But, it isn't. It's the same old shit flushing down a different toilet. A little while ago, several countries allied and refused to sign off the European Union's audited budget for 2010. This was the SEVENTEENTH consecutive year that there have been major problems with signing off the accounts for the €150 billion that the EU spends each year. Reasons range from fraud to lord knows what. Around half of the money spent each year by the EU cannot be accounted for. Yet this institution now runs not only the EU, but directly runs Italy. There isn't a single elected politician in any significant political position in the Italian cabinet. They have all been parachuted in from Europe. The crappy European politicians that are happy losing the odd €100 billion down the back of the sofa. Greece faces the same future.
So what future do we face? Unrest? Revolt? Revolution? All I know is the Karl Marx is looking down from Highgate and saying "I told you this would happen".
What he won't be doing though is gloating.