The business section of El País this morning was naturally preoccupied with the depressing economic news in general and the unemployment data in particular. You know things are bad when the paper – in search of something positive to write – says that the total probably won’t reach 5 million and could well peak at 19% instead of the worst case scenario of 20%. I say ‘worst case’ but I seem to recall Edward Hugh going as high as 25%. El País admits, though, that Spain’s unemployment looks like staying above 10% for at least 8 years. But this could come down to 5, if the government got its act together. So, 8 it is then. Or perhaps 10.
Well, our friend Ambrose (or his sub-editor) doesn’t mince his words today – “Germany faces a terrible dilemma. Either Europe's paymaster agrees to underwrite a Greek bail-out and drops its vehement opposition to a de facto EU economic government, treasury, and debt union, or the euro will start to unravel, and with it Germany's strategic investment in the post-war order.” In the text that follows this summary, Ambrose touches on the unusual possibility of Germany being the first country to leave the European monetary union, not Greece. And he highlights the problems of what he calls the Lutheran-Latin clash. And asks “How much more tightening can Spain endure before Catalan, Basque, and Galician separatism rocks the Spanish state?”. Well, I can’t speak for Catalunia or the Basque Country but I’d stake my life on Galician separatists not rocking the boat before Hell freezes over. There aren’t enough of them to rock a matchstick, never mind a boat. But the good news is that Ambrose repeats my point that the Germans might just be indulging in a little Teutonic brinksmanship. Good job, then, that it’s Greece and not Poland.
If there is to be any rioting in Spain – or at least a few street protests – they’re likely to be in response to the proposal from a desperate government that the pension age be increased from 65 to 67. The unions have certainly – and predictably – seen it as a call to arms. So we will see.
Interesting to see that the depleted ranks of those who subscribe to the anthropogenic global warming faith have an important new acolyte – one Osama Bin Laden. A man, you would have thought, who had enough things to worry about. On this subject, here’s Christopher Booker with another insight into how the science has been put together. By idiots, apparently.
Finally . . .I mentioned the other day that the Spanish timetable can be beyond belief, citing the example of my daughter’s tango class starting around midnight. Well, someone called me at 4.17 this morning. Unfortunately, I’d hadn’t switched my mobile phone off. Happily, I’d left it downstairs. Annoyingly, I don’t recognise the number.