Monday, June 20, 2011

Here's the Mayor of London with his response to yesterday's question of how long the pathetic Greek saga can continue. Or tragedy as Boris-the-Classics-scholar inevitably calls it:- "We are all still kidding ourselves that the moment of reversal can be avoided. All the other governments of Europe, including, alas, the Coalition, are pretending that Greece can remain in the euro. If only the EU finance ministers can just have a bit more lunch in Brussels; if only Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel can hammer out another plan to reschedule the Greek debt. All it would take, say the European elites, is for the government of George Papandreou to discover a crazed Thatcherite zeal that inspires them to sell every Greek asset from the Port of Piraeus to Olympic Airways to the remaining marbles of the Parthenon. The Greek debt crisis is deepening and there are only two options. We could continue down the road we are on, in which the euro shambles becomes an invisible and surreptitious engine for the creation of an economic government of Europe.  . . . The trouble is that there is just no democratic mandate for anything of the kind. As Angela Merkel is constantly obliged to point out, the German people would never have supported joining the euro if they had been told that they would become the guarantors of the debts of Greece. The Greeks would never have gone into the euro if they thought it meant the complete surrender of their economic independence and the destruction of their standards of living.  . . . For years, European governments have been saying that it would be insane and inconceivable for a country to leave the euro. But this second option is now all but inevitable, and the sooner it happens the better. We have had the hamartia - the tragic flaw in the system that allowed high-spending countries to free ride on low interest rates. We have had the hubris - the belief the good times would never end. We have had nemesis - disaster. We now need the anagnorisis - the moment of recognition that Greece would be better off in a state of Byronic liberation, forging a new economic identity with a New Drachma. Then there will be catharsis, the experience of purgation and relief."

Politics has long known as the art of the possible. So, when will Europe's leaders (and reader Moscow?) come out and admit they were overambitious, stop pissing against the wind and accept reality? So that they can save at least the honest/sensible core of the EU dream. What will it really matter if this means a two - or even three - speed Europe for the foreseeable future? Will anyone care if this means a crashing of the gravy train for some in Brussels whose jobs will have no justification?

Anyway . . . . As it says on the can, some random thoughts:-
o Not too surprised to see George Galloway (Jorge el Gilipolla in these parts) on Iranian TV.
o Amused to see horsemen in Lugo's Roman Fiesta lopping the tops off GERMAN cucumbers at speed.
o The number of tents in our Indignados' camp is down to 22. All zipped up and silent at 10am this morning. Tiring work, revolting.
o One of the poorest places in Galicia is said to be A Lama in Pontevedra province. Possibly because most of its inhabitants reside in the huge prison there.
o The richest place is said to be Oleiros, near La Coruña. I rather doubt it. Drug dealers don't by and large make tax submissions.
o "Con Faldas y A Lo Loco" - Typical Spanish butchering of the original film title - "Some Like it Hot". Why?
o On the N550 from Pontevdra to Os Anxeles/Los Angeles near Santiago, the speed limit changes on average every 400 yards, or c. 366m. Sometimes very irrationally and confusingly. Great fines potential.
o There is a surprising number of physiotherapy clinics along this road. Why?
o And a (new?) ozone-therapy place in Pontevedra.
o You can tell summer's about to arrive by the increasing frequency with which you have to rip fliers for summer courses off your windscreen.
o The folk who were recently arrested for dynamiting fish say they're rather surprised to be copped because they've been doing it for 20 years. Who can blame them? For being surprised, I mean. I blame it on the EU.
o Camino numbers to the end of May this year were lower than last year's (Holy Year) total but still the second highest ever. Next year's should show another rise, stimulated by the film "The Way".
o New book, by (Catholic) Christopher Howse - "A Pilgrim in Spain" - "A book whose myriad eccentricities mirror those of the Spain it celebrates."
o Celta Vigo didn't make promotion to the Segunda A. But they fared better than Deportiva La Coruña and Pontevedra, who both went down.
o It's official. As I predicted, the Savoy Café in the main square won't be open by the end of spring. And nor will the new book-café a few yards away from it. No one will be surprised.
o However sociable, affable and/or noble the Spanish can be, they'll always be considered rude by other nationalities until they learn to respect other people's space and their right to peace and quiet at, say, 1am in the morning. Whether this is in the house next door, a hotel or a pilgrims' hostel on one of the caminos. And until they stop reacting to comments like this with "This is our country. If you don't like how we behave, piss off."
o I've withdrawn my invitation to Amy Winehouse to sing in my home. Enough is enough.


Sierra said...

All is explained regarding your problem with speed limits - 400 yards = 365.76m

Colin said...

Oh, Hell. Of course it is. I was using the miles/km conversion factor. And a glass of wine. Still, it could have been worse. I originally wrote 640 kilometres!

Colin said...

Ah, but you missed me calling Amy Winehouse, Amy Whitehouse, it seems . . . .

All corrected now.

moscow said...

As usual with those that predict Euro Armageddon, Boris neither commits to when it will happen nor what the result will be. Saying that Armageddon will happen without fixing a timeline nor discussing the aftermath is so easy and yet so meaningless.

The same applies to you Colin, and if you are so sure of Armageddon (remember? predicted and predictable, your words), put a date on it and tell us what will happen. Or at least do us a favour, and give us an alternative. A plausible one, please. Bet you can't come up with one.

Pericles said...

Here's a thought. The Greek peoples, traditionally, historically & culturally, prefer to keep their money out of the sight of prying eyes & therefore favour their matresses rather than their banks. Were these Euros to see light of day and explanations sought before being swapped for the new Drachma, what kind of numbers would be on the table. My brother suggested 500 billion Euros could be discovered & assessed for income tax. Almost enough to justify Greece rejoining the Euro

Mike the Traditionalist said...

If you put your money under the mattress the following morning you will find it in creases. (For those learning English join the "in" and "creases" to make another word and you will see the joke!)

Ferrolano said...

And Colin, I was going to send you an article on Amy Winehouse being drunk on stage, trying to make a come back - must be something in the name....

Colin said...

Thanks, Mike. I don't know about others but I needed the explanation!

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