Sunday, December 07, 2014

Europe; Europe v. the USA; The EU again; Bankía bollox; & Grandparents.

Funny, isn't it. I can't think of a modern Western state which wasn't formed by the people - in one way or another - booting out an autocratic government and installing democracy. A bottom-up process, in short. And then we have the EU superstate, being steadily formed top-down by self-serving politicians, technocrats and bureaucrats, who can all talk a good story. As for democracy? Well, it's subordinated, isn't it. By (and to) those who know better. And who all have big salaries, big expense accounts and big cars. Something about all this doesn't smell quite right, does it?

Which reminds me . . . There a comparison doing the rounds between the US and Spanish systems of government. The statistic which jumps out is that the US has only 416 official cars, whereas Spain has 20,000. Just a guess but I'd say this reflects the possibly redundant extra layer(s) of government in the regional and/or provincial administrations. And the lack of control over them, of course.

To return to the EU . . .There's an almighty struggle going on at the European Central Bank on whether to hose cash into the banking system ('quantitative easing'), as in the Anglo economies. Needless to say, the cautions Germans are agin it and will probably (as usual) win the day. Meanwhile, here and here are 2 articles on this from our Ambrose. As ever, he's not optimistic. In brief, Ambrose's opinion is: I have no criticism of Mr Draghi. He has worked wonders, given the political constraints. His management of the ECB has been nothing less than heroic. I agree fully with the logic of his cri de coeur in Finland a week ago. The ultimate success of EMU, he said, “depends on the acknowledgment that sharing a single currency is political union, and following through with the consequences”. Or put another way, once you have launched a monetary union, you have automatically launched a political union too. That is what EMU means. The euro means a single government and a European superstate, and implicitly the abolition of Germany as a fully sovereign independent state. To pretend otherwise is intellectually infantile. To resist this truth - yet to proceed doggedly with EMU anyway - merely condemns Europe to rolling crises and permanent depression. . . . Mr Weidmann is equally right in thinking that the headlong charge towards debt pooling and de facto fiscal union by monetary means is a mortal threat to German democracy and the rule of law. The stakes are very high. A showdown must surely come within months, one way or another. So, is it too late for the only state which seems to matter to decide enough is enough, that democracy is on the line and that things have to go backwards now? Perhaps towards the original 'common market' that the naive Brits thought they'd signed up to?

And talking of banks . . . You have to laugh. Bankia is the dustbin into which 7 or 8 struggling savings banks were dumped 2 or 3 years ago, after which it was floated on the stock market. And, guess what, the Board fiddled the numbers, falsely increasing its value. More long trials? Surely, there's a sit-com in all this. Details here.

I don't know why it's taken so long, nor what particular event (if any) prompted it but the percentage of Spaniards concerned with corruption shot up from 41 in January to 65 in September. The other 35% are presumably either cave-dwellers or Spain's over-numerous politicians. Or both. 

Finally . . . Here's an answerphone message recommended for grandparents. Though possibly not for the Spanish variant:-

Good morning. At present we're not at home but please leave your message after the beep.
Beeeeep.
If you are one of our children, dial 1 and then select the option from 1 to 5 in order of birth date so we know who it is.
If you need us to stay with the children, press 2
If you want to borrow the car, press 3
If you want us to wash your clothes and do ironing, press 4
If you want the grandchildren to sleep here tonight, press 5
If you want us to pick up the kids at school, press 6
If you want us to prepare a meal for Sunday or to have it delivered to your home, press 7
If you want to come to eat here, press 8
If you need money, press 9

If you are going to invite us to dinner or take us to the theatre, start talking . . . We're listening!

2 comments:

Sierra said...

And talking of banks...guess who SAREB (the "bad" bank who took over the surplus properties from failing banks) have commissioned to manage their remaining properties...the bailed-out failing banks:

http://spanishnewstoday.com/spanish-bad-bank-completes-41_billion_euro-asset-transfer_20718-a.html?Banner=56#.VIQlaDHF8ns

Colin Davies said...

ROFL.

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