Sunday, August 07, 2011

These are the ten things in which the Spanish are said to have the most confidence, no. 1 first:-
Public health
Social security
Guardia Civil
Non-profitable organisations

And the last ten, no. 42 last:-
The Catholic Church
Regional governments
Savings banks
Administration of justice
The unions
The current government
Political parties

As I get ready for the second evening of our annual fiesta, the signs are that the world is about to end. So at least I'll go out happy . . .

Are the Germans prepared to go on coughing up for improvident allies indefinitely? Bailing out the feckless Greeks has outraged popular opinion. And Merkel, like Obama, often likes leading from behind. Subsuming national interest within “the common European house” may not be the German religion for ever. Berlin, along with five other triple-A credit nations, will have to provide the loan guarantees if Spain and Italy are to be saved. As Open Europe, a sceptic think tank, points out, this would be 25% of each guarantor country’s GDP: 'Any increase would have to be ratified by national parliaments — the Dutch, the Finns and the Germans. The choice that was always apparent is drawing closer. Appease the markets but run over the voters and create a full fiscal union — or break up the eurozone.'”

Certain years have gone down in history as great global turning points, after which nothing was remotely the same: 1914, 1929, 1939, 1989. Now it looks horribly plausible that 2011 will join their number. The very grave financial crisis that has hung over Europe ever since the banking collapse of three years ago has taken a sinister turn, with the most dreadful and sobering consequences for those of us who live in European democracies. Western leaders are terrifyingly out of their depth. . . . The German Chancellor shows a basic inability even to grasp the nature, let alone understand the scale, of the disaster facing Europe this weekend. Such a failure of comprehension is entirely typical of a certain type of leader throughout history, at times of grave international urgency. . . . .The ECB – whose dodgy accounting, reckless investments and contemptuous disregard of banking standards make even the most irresponsible hedge fund look like a model of propriety – is ultimately accountable. The idea that it can step effectively into the Italian bond market, whose total value of around 1.8 trillion euros makes it larger by far than Greece, Portugal and Ireland combined, is a joke. Wake up: the eurozone is very close to collapse.”


Eugenia said...

I love the fact that bishops get their own special mention. In addition to the catholic church...great list

Candide said...

When it's the scientists who, in a partisan fashion, fight over politics, then something is definitely wrong.

I see that every day here in Catalonia.

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