I went to the gym near my house today, to enquire about prices. We went through the various options and I was disappointed to be told that I and my dog didn’t qualify for the Two Person special deal. Most interestingly, when I asked what the 30 euro Matricula fee was, the young lady dismissed it as ‘Nothing’. Which must mean either that they’re going to waive the sign-on fee or she wanted to give me the impression I didn’t have to pay it. I wonder which.
A minor apology . . . I said yesterday that the building with Moorish aspects was built in the 11th century. Reader Victor tells me it’s a 15th century edifice. Actually, it’s 14th century according to the charming man on the reception desk there, in what is now an administrative unit of the
. Incidentally, this experience was one which I rather doubt I’d get in the University of Vigo . The chap on the desk was charm itself and went to great lengths to try to get data out of his laptop. Which is not uncommon in UK . That said, it might be that, where there’s a good deal of ‘underemployment’, people are a tad bored. And only too pleased to have something to do. Spain
On the issue of the day, week and year . . . There seems now to be a consensus that the Eurozone is close to the edge of a precipice and that it will be pushed even nearer to it when Portugal inevitably seeks an IMF/ECB handout ‘ere too long. Writing in the left-of-centre Guardian, the ubiquitous Timothy Gorton Ash says everything now depends on whether a Europeanised Germany can manage to quickly forge some sort of Germanised Europe. Personally, I’ve no doubt - given enough time - the politicians and bureaucrats could manage this but I’m less sure the peoples of
Europe (especially the Germans) would grant their permission for a true currency and debt union . Assuming they’re ever asked. As Gorton Ash says in his final paragraph, “The challenge for German statecraft is to find this difficult but sustainable compromise, in the most intensive negotiations with all its European partners – and then to sell the result to its own reluctant people.”
So the game has a while to run. Meanwhile, here’s one response to Ambrose Pritchard Evans’ request for solutions. Though, as it’s a leader from the right-of-centre Daily Telegraph, it may well have been written by Ambrose himself – “Federalist voices in the EU are arguing that this crisis makes the case for the closer political union that may make a currency union viable. Yet they are hopelessly at odds with public opinion across
Europe, where there is no popular appetite for such a step. Europe’s leaders must, therefore, focus on creating instruments that prevent the capital markets holding the whole of the EU to ransom when one of its weaker members becomes distressed, and allow instead a managed exit from the eurozone. Given the woeful political leadership shown by the EU so far in this crisis, such a rational outcome is far from guaranteed.”
Personally, I’m most worried about Mrs Merkel’s reported Canute-like comment that politicians must act together to demonstrate that they can’t be beaten by the markets.
Finally . . . Remember the confidence-generating bank stress tests of last summer. Well, it turns out the Irish numbers were a sham, hiding the precariousness of their banks. One naturally wonders about those from other countries.