Thursday, July 14, 2011

Note: This is a second post today. Scroll down for news of a couple of successes. And the sequelae.

Now, you might think there were any number of possible root causes for the mess the EU is in. Perhaps the stupid decision to allow Greek membership: perhaps German and French rule-bending almost as soon as the euro was created; possibly a futile attempt to subject 17 different economies to a one-size-fits-all financial corset, too tight for some and too loose for the likes of, say, Ireland and Spain; perhaps the EU economic mismanagement of its funds; etc., etc. But Sr Xosé Luis Barreiro Rivas is in no doubt whatsoever. To him it's crystally clear that the main culprit is the UK. In our Voz de Galicia today, and provoked by something from Gordon Brown in yesterday's El País, Sr. BR delivers an article which is little more than an economically and politically illiterate rant, more worthy of the blogosphere than a serious newspaper. This is how he starts his article, according to a slightly polished Google translation:- “The primary responsibility for the crisis in Europe belongs to the UK, for not daring to be alone in Europe and openly aligning itself with the United States, and for thirty years playing a double game and acting as a Trojan horse inside the eurozone. Gazing only at its navel, the British stopped all the steps that would have led to a common policy; forced exceptions in all the major treaties and voluntary agreements, such as Schengen, trying to supplant the role of the EU via G -7 and G-8 accords, or whichever of the Gs was invented to extend their enjoyment of uncontrolled power, in addition to strengthening other international bodies against the idea of Europe that allowed it to continue ruling the world, or manipulate it from a private club. Those who are not in the euro or within Schengen, who helped derail the European Constitution, who served as a channel to invade Europe with American financial banking trash, who vetoed the creation of European diplomacy and an intervention force governed by the EU and who forged Eurosceptic arguments to the very last point of one-sided arguments – long live the EU when it releases money or when it gives sausages when discipline is sought – and now asking 'Why was Europe asleep' and 'Why wasn't Europe able to cope with its crisis?'. It's the fox who's come to save the chickens.”

The irony is that Sr BR thinks Gordon Brown's prescriptions are correct - I assume they're both socialists - but he doesn't think he has a right to utter them. Because, I suppose, it was the UK, not Germany, which stopped the EU being not only a customs and money union but also a debit/credit and political union. Though, for the life of me, I don't recall when this happened. Or how. What secret power the UK must wield. In truth, I'm used to this sort of crap from conspiracy-theorist Iranians. But a reputable journalist?

But, anyway, his views may appeal to one or two readers who have a bee in their bonnet about the UK's role in the EU. Even if this is that Britain has not done enough, rather than too much.

Well, I stuck my neck out and said that Murdoch's closure of the News of the World would come to be seen as folly, rather than genius. And so it has turned out. Today the world was surprised by his aborting his bid for BSkyB. And now he and his son have been ordered to appear before a parliamentary committee, even though they are foreigners and can't be compelled to attend. Vamos a ver.

Meanwhile, if you want a truly accurate attack on Brown (and Murdoch), click here.

Of course, the real Demon in the EU right now is not Britain but Germany . . . “There is one country where this disconnection between the political, the personal and the economic poses an acute threat to the world economic order. That country is Germany. The economists speak of "macro-economic imbalances", the fact that German interests and, say, Greek or Irish or Spanish interests are not in alignment. Interest rates that, during the first decade of the euro's existence, suited German manufacturers, caused toxic credit bubbles to grow in Greece and Ireland and Spain. The consequences of those credit bubbles could take another decade to unwind, 10 years of hard times for the citizens of those countries, who will spend most of it sweating to earn the tax money to pay back the German banks whose lending fuelled their bubble. German savings go to German banks to lend to other countries so that they can buy German goods from German companies who then save their earnings in German banks who lend it to . . . and so on. This system is not elegant but it is probably sustainable, as long as German taxpayers are willing to pay for the busts and bailouts that will inevitably ensue. Their economy is so big that they can pick up these bills if they want to. As the euro's troubles go on, however, the signs are that the German electorate is becoming steadily less eager to go along with it. Ultimately, the new German attitude has the potential to destroy the eurozone. Germany has to put the broader European interest on the same level as its own national interest, or the euro is toast.” Whatever the UK is or isn't responsible for.

I must go to a tapas and albariño supper. But I'll leave you with this citation of a wonderfully clear Guardian article on Europe which a reader has kindly told me of. Or the rest of it, I really should say.


Sierra said...

I would suggest you don't get a long-term subscription to The Times' paywall. Given Murdoch is subsidising it to the tune of GBP40+ million a year, I think he'll shortly be striking back at the Establishment by pulling the plug.

Colin said...

Yep, there's a lot of talk of NI dumping all their papers, to concentrate on the far more profitable digital news side.