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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Greece, Time and Eternity

The Greek Prime Minister is running around Europe, ostensibly to seek an extension of the timescale against which, he asserts, the Greek state will be able to achieve the cost and debt reductions that were promised in return for a loan that has already been received from the euro area and the IMF. He knows, as everyone he talks to knows, that his mission is impossible. Greece has neither the will nor the means to meet the requirements; and it is most improbable that politicians from the relatively-strong 'northern' eurozone member countries will dare to agree to lend Greece any more money to burn, because of the opposition of their own electorates. The exit of Greece from the eurozone is inevitable; and it will happen as soon as the zone has been able to agree on terms that will keep Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland within the system.

For more than two decades the Greek people were the over-indulged victims of a gigantic con, pulled on them by their politicians and bureaucrats, and by their Economists, acting in close concert with the eurorats who assembled the eurozone on the basis of an untrue prospectus and egregiously fudged data from various member states; among whom Greece was conspiculously mendacious [and, almost certainly, self-deluding]. The political future for Greece is deeply uncertain as living standards for wasters and for savers alike plummet into dire poverty. The one massively viable business sector - tourim - depends on the visitors feeling safe: if there are street riots, muggings on a vast scale, embezzlement of tourist companies' cash floats, and closure of hotels while the visitors are still in them, that will cause hundreds of thousands of tourists to opt for 'anywhere but Greece'  for their annual over-exposure to solar energy.Greece faces anarchy - a Greek word - as the time for the resolution of the debt problem extends until an exhausted cohort of creditors agrees to a settlement of the debt at a monumental write-down; with everyone aware that the notional ultimate repayment will never happen.

The British peoples have similarly been deluded to the Greeks; and the present coalition government - like the Greek coalition - is trying desperately hard to achieve some sort of result that will vindicate its assertions that the austerity policy is 'succeeding'. But just as the Greeks are spending what they have most recently borrowed, within an economy that has declined significantly but which has not significantly been reconfigured; the British state is borrowing more than was projected and is doing massively less to stimulate growth that anyone believes necessary. The economy has shrunk for three successive three-month periods, with no sign that this trend will cease. The pound remains strong against the euro and the dollar simply because it is an alternative to those currencies as a short-term 'safe haven' for international investors, and among the assets denomiated in pounds that can still easily be sold are British government bonds. This is a precarious temporary solution to the conundrum of how to fund the excess of state spending [especially on benefits for the unproductive members of society]. George Osborne entered the government as the lead missioner for the doctrine of austerity, with full support from his colleagues: now he looks increasingly isolated. His former close ally, David Cameron, is less able to support Osborne as his own credibility has evaporated. Outside the national government, the Conservative Mayor of London has featured largely in the euphoric promotion of the Olympic Games by all the media; to an extent that begins to make him credible figure as a challenger for the Conservative Party leadership.The strong element of buffoonery in his persona is held to be an asset by many of the public, and probably makes him an ideal candidate to soften the members' pain as his party shrinks rapidly from the national political scene.

Greece has run out of plausible politicians: the current prime minister is a technocrat who was effectively appointed by the EU; though he then managed to gain a reluctant endorsement from the electorate.

The British Conservative and Liberal-Democrat parties are busily undermining any myth of their relevance or their competence. Despite the appalling legacy that the last Labour government left to the country, they probably need one more short stint in power finally to destroy their own credibility. Then - as in Greece - politics will be voided.

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