Here’s something notable I missed a few days ago - Old Ambrose being almost positive about the European Central Bank. Reading between the lines, he appears to have joined the group of observers who believe the EU won’t now break up because German resistance to bailing out profligate Club Med members (the PIGS?) via a debt union has been worn down by the enormity of the current crisis. If so, I guess EU members will soon have even more pressing issues to attend to than capping the remuneration of their bankers.
One of the points made in this article is that, at 31%, the fall in industrial output in Spain is greater than anything suffered over a 12-month period during the 1930s. As employment is now said to be approaching 20%, one wonders where the social unrest is. Will it start when the dole stops at the end of its 12 months? Or is it being unduly pessimistic to expect it at all? Ever the Jeremiah - but possibly right - Ambrose touched on this a couple of days ago - “Do not be misled by apparent normality. Unemployment lags, and social devastation lags further. Do not compress the historical time sequence either. Life seemed normal in early 1931 when the press reported ‘green shoots’ everywhere. Part Two of the Depression was the killer. Part Two is what we risk now if we botch it. The European Central Bank is still standing pat. It is partial to medieval leech-cures – and hamstrung by the lack of EU debt union.” Well, maybe. But at least those awful bankers make nice chivos expiatorios and we’re going to give them a good, heart-warming thrashing.
Yesterday saw the 70th anniversary of the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939. Spaniards tend to think foreigners are obsessed by this gruesome period in their history. But this is inevitable when, as the (hispanophilic) Daniel Hannan points out, the topic is rarely raised here. Let alone discussed. Though, as DH says, things are now changing. His final - respectful - comment is that “Spaniards had good reason to want to bury the whole foul business. Now that they have decided to unearth it, they are doing so in the manner of an archaeological dig: gently, reverentially, and with patient brushwork. Foreign observers occasionally ask why they don't make more noise about it. The answer is that they won't wave their fathers' shrouds as political banners. The dead have suffered enough.”
British politicians have fought tooth and claw to stop details of their expenses being published. You can understand why when it’s now revealed that the average gross income last year of Northern Ireland’s 16 politicians was £290,000. Before expenses, of course. Which may or may not have included the salary of one or more of their relatives. Perhaps it’s clearer now why members of the EU parliament have recently vetoed publication of their expenses. But I guess we’ll see them one day. Meanwhile, all these politicans are not beyond lambasting ‘greedy’ bankers. Who might just have done a tad more for wealth creation than most of the parasitic politicos. But, anyway, it’s endorsed my decision to stand as a Euro MP one of these days.
More importantly, I read this week that women can be enticed into bed by a sense of humour. Perhaps I should give it a try before all relevant faculties finally desert me.