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Sunday, 17 June 2012

A Week in Politics

Harold Wilson, the British Prime Minister from 1964-70 and 1974-76, was a very big presence in his day: and he famously commented that 'a week is a long time, in Politics'. The nine days since my last posting show the truth of this dictum. There has been a huge amount of politics talked, notably in Washington DC and in Europe and in Egypt. The Argentinian president followed the maxim that failing regimes try to focus public attention - preferably passionately - on foreign policy issues. Syria descended further tragic mess; and the UN ran to form by withdrawing to the comfort of the safe hotels. There is no good news from Iraq or Afghanistan. Egypt was shocked but not surprised to see the military putting limits to democratic institutions even as the presidential reached its uninspiring second round. Germany again warned the Greek electorate that there was no concession available on the agreements that past governments have already committed the country to implement; and we will know the people's reaction within 24 hours. China has taken measures to restore economic growth nearer to the trend of recent years, while demonstrating concern about imbalances in the structure of the economy: India's growth has weakened and the impact of corruption and inefficiency in the state has been more conspicuous as some sectors of Delhi have had water supplies cut off. NOTHING that most people would regard as worth-while has been achieved: and the economic circumstances of the human race remain insecure.

In little Britain the government and the Bank of England have announced yet more hesitant and dubious initiatives to increase lending to businesses and to their customers. Within the eurozone Spain's convalescene faltered despite the massive bailout that has been promised; and on the back of that setback the vulnerability of Italy has again been demonstrated in the price set on government debt, and Dutch banks have been downgraded by a rating agency. The fantasy of a bureaucratically focussed 'Europe' is the most threadbare that it has been in half a century; but yet the people who hold irrelevant offices within the highly-remunerated outfit act and talk as if they are the solution: while almost everybody else recognises that they are the problem.

The outcome of the Greek election may exacerbate issues: it will not lead quickly to any resolution of them.

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