Sunday, May 02, 2010

I’ve been waiting for a long time for Edward Hugh to comment on the Spanish economic situation, in the light of his forecasts months ago about how high unemployment would eventually go and his conviction that the management of Spain would be taken over by Brussels and/or the IMF. Well, here it is . . . And it doesn’t make for pretty reading. I will cite only this line and leave you to read the article in its entirety. Or not. . . “The principal reason why Spanish debt is steadily moving into high risk territory is the continuing state of denial to be found among the Spanish decision making elite, and the absence of any credible plan that is up to the magnitude of the challenge ahead.” So, it’s not just the public imitating ostriches, then. By the way, even if you don’t want to read all of Edward’s article, you might like to see the FT article cited in it, as it refers to a Spanish business school assessment of out situation here. Can't blame the arrogant Anglos this time.

Well, it had to happen and, indeed, some of us predicted it would. Articles have begun to appear in the Spanish press suggesting the EU is not all it was cracked up to be when the going was good. An article in El País today is entitled “Goodbye Europe?” and contains the statement – “More Europe shouldn’t mean more Brussels, more bureaucracy or more shameful displays of incompetence.” Well, no. Not in theory, mate. But that’s just the way it is. And always would be.

In another article (The Political Failure of the Euro) the writer makes the nice point that “The worst political consequence of the euro lacking a political government has been to turn Germany into a eurosceptic member”. Well, yes. And, again, the early sceptics predicted it would.

In another article in the same paper, it’s reported that 81% of Spaniards lack confidence in their own government and 66% feel the same about the EU. So, “Nowt to do with us, Guv. All your fault. Or theirs.”

Anyway, here’s Ambrose’s typically acerbic view of the latest developments. One has to bear in mind he’s said Germany has been wrong to take the stance it has and that the EU should have proceeded to a debt union. So at least he’s being consistent. I think

On to Britain . . . I predicted the other day that support for the Lib Debs would plummet as the British election got nearer. There’s some evidence this is now happening and here’s a similar (but expanded) prediction from a much more competent observer - “A good proportion of Lib Dem support will evaporate on polling day; the Conservatives will win with a working majority and Labour will implode after their worst defeat in living memory. The people will make a conscious decision to take a clearly marked fork in the road – and they will do it on the basis of having witnessed two passionately defended possibilities.” Click here for the pungent reasoning behind this.

After the meeting of the EU Finance Ministers today, Spain should know how much more money it will have to borrow, at inflated rates, to make her contribution to the EU bailout fund. Or maybe she can get this from the ECB, through the back door but at least at lower rates. I guess it all makes sense to someone.

All I really know – after attending a concert tonight – is that bajo continuo is the Spanish (Italian?) for double bass. And that a violoncello is a viola de gamba. Which must be Italian as, while gamba means ‘leg’ in that language, it means ‘prawn’ in Spanish. And who wants a prawn between their legs?Or a gamba entre las gambas.

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