Parina

Literature, economics and more...

Category: General (page 1 of 49)

CASSANDRA?

Over twenty years ago Bernard Connelly wrote ‘The Rotten Heart of Europe’ when he was running the monetary affairs unit of the European Commission. For his pains he was summarily fired and even denied access to the EU buildings. His crime? Seeing, setting out and warning over the catastrophic construct of the single currency being designed for the EU. It is now common knowledge that he was perfectly right. As an Economist (and not as some latter day Nostradamus) he saw why and how this experiment was flawed and dangerous.

Like Cassandra he was totally ignored. And worse even. Perhaps the way he was treated for his analysis should have been a warning sign for us. Had it been a load of ridiculous waffle would the EU directorate have even bothered with him? Hardly.

The Eurozone ?crisis? is proof enough that he was perfectly right.

But despite the Greek plight and the Italian stand off, I am referring to this book today, because at some point he says, that the collapse of the European Union will begin from the pavements of Paris*

I very much fear he may well be vindicated yet again.

 

*Not a verbatim quote but the gist of what he wrote.

 

 

Centenary Celebrations

A hundred years since the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The end of the Great War as it was till it became the First World War since it had not really ended in 1918. So what were we celebrating in fact?

The imagery chosen itself, I feel, was very eloquent. The Chancellor of Germany and the President of the Republic of France walking to the famous or infamous or both railway carriage where the original Armistice had been signed, to sit beside each other for the photo and sign something again, symbolically. What exactly?

A glum faced Chancellor Angela Merkel, on the way out after having driven the EU to the brink of collapse even perhaps through her eternal procrastination and kicking that can down the bloody road interminably till it has now started to wobble dangerously on the edge of the cliff.

The President of the Republic of France, Emmanuel Macron looking rather insipid beside her, having failed utterly to convince the lady beside him of his proposals for the EU which could save it, since they were met with her persistent and stubborn Niens all the time to everything and anything that could reform the hapless Union. Not to mention his failure to achieve anything at home apart from growing dissent and anger which may well translate into something very ugly in the coming Euro elections.

So these two figures were of necessity the ones symbolising the end of that terrible war. Or at least of the first part of it. Because as they walked away we were reminded by the BBC that this is the first time a German Chancellor has walked down this path since Adolf Hitler when the French signed their surrender to him in the second half of the horrendous European wars, in that very same carriage. Whoops. Hardly an auspicious association though perhaps a pertinent one.

The whole show was very depressing and perhaps this ominous little bit of it should have been avoided. It can?t help auguring ill.

 

 

Britain, Greece and the EU

I grew up in London. As a child I tended to be a bit confused. There was Britain and there was the Continent which was something else that Britain did not belong to. Summer holidays were spent in Greece, where there was Greece and Europe which was again the ?other? somewhere this time Greece did not belong to.

Now in Geography lessons we learnt that the continent of Europe did indeed include both the British Isles and of course Greece, and in history lessons that both of these were very important in the history of Europe, albeit in different times in and different ways.

When I was a little older, in the sixties when Britain still had not joined the then Common Market, swarms of day trippers from the ?Continent? would cross the Channel to do their shopping in Britain because prices were so much cheaper, thereby justifying the extra cost of travel.

All and any attempts by Britain to join the EEC or even just hints, were squarely vetoed by General de Gaulle who roundly declared that were Britain to be allowed into the Common Market she would destroy it. Hmmm.

Not taking the snub lightly, Britain finally managed to enter the Common Market in 1973 through Edward Heath?s persistent efforts, after de Gaulle?s demise that is. Greece entered the Common Market in 1981 after the fall of the Military Junta through the misguided belief that this membership would ensure democracy for the country,

The EEC had not been too keen on either membership. Britain owing to the fear of perfidious Albion and Greece because? well really this was a tinpot little country of no importance but whose historical legacy pushed it through.

And as things played out, perhaps it would have better, who knows? for both countries and the EU had neither of these two countries becomes members.

The following expansion of the EEC firstly to Spain and Portugal, then later to the ex Communist countries of Eastern Europe does not seem to have benefited the project for many and varied reasons.

And now Brexit is indeed threatening to tear down the whole edifice. Perhaps de Gaulle will be vindicated.

But then again perhaps the possible collapse of the EU, when and if it does happen (something that seems likelier by the day) for all the mismatches with Britain on the one hand and Greece on the other, blame should be attributed to where it is due: the Merkel-Schauble factor. The polices they imposed and the undemocratic way in which this was done led to resentment, pain, fear and even a resurgence in racism.

Let us not forget Schauble?s infamous doctrine: no matter what a country may vote for it makes no difference, economic policy cannot change. Implying it would always be decided by Germany and no one else was entitled to have a say.

However, it does seem that the people do matter after all.

 

 

 

Once More Unto the Breach

I have been absent for a long time. Owing to despair. Just what was the point of banging and banging one’s head against a padlocked door? The Elite KNOWS you (or anybody else) do not!

“We” thought the Soviet Economy was bad and unworkable because it was a command economy. “We” were right. Or were “we”? The European Union is a command economy. Directives for everything. In Greece, the great experiment in European Economic practice, collective bargaining has been banned and replaced by Government decision, for one. And just about everything is subject to the decisions of a totally illegitimate body, the Eurogroup, that decides in secret meetings and imposes whatever the German finance minister thinks, in his myopia, is best for Germany.

The whole of the EU is run by unaccountable, unelected nonenities (on the whole) who answer to no one.

Which may be why many a lapsus linguae has been heard referring to the “Soviet Union” instead of the “European Union”.

Cause enough for despair. Situation irreparable. No way a sober interesting or even useful thought can even be heard if it dissents to the received European wisdom which is law though imposed undemorcatically and totally arbitrarily.

And, it may be added, totally disastrously. And here, as paradoxically as it may seem, is where cause for some hope may be found.

The EU is floundering, globalism is being contested. Unfortunately revolt has found expression in the so called extreme right so far. The left is responsible for this. After the Greeks elected a left wing government, turning to it to change this catastrophic doom spiral, it flinched. It was not up to the task so decided instead to capitulate to the EU directorate and ended up imposing the worst EU measures devised to disastrous results for the Economy.

All the so called social democrat and left of center parties did the same in a variety of ways, from Tiny Blair’s New Labour to the German SPD joining in coalition governments and so on. So where else to turn? Rage and disgruntlement has turned sharp right.

It is time, therefore, to try and bring the debate to perhaps saner and more workable ideas. Especially now when we are on the brink of a disastrous collapse of the world order. One does not wish to reverse this collapse. It is a highly needed one. But we are at a dangerous crossroads.  We need to be aware and act, so: Once more unto the breach dear friends,

“I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge”
(From William Shakespeare’s Henry V)

 

Black Adder in Greece

Lots of great news for Greece! Consumer confidence, they tell us is up! But they also tell us (in a mumble) that consumption is down. We are exiting the MoU austerity imposing regime in August, they tell us! But have to accept, again in a mumble that, yes well, ah, of course austerity will continue and probably get worse with all the horrendous measures already proactively voted for the purpose.

If none of all this seems to make any sense, we must remember that all the brilliant people (mainly in the district of what is known as the EU and EZ) assure us that all is gong extremely well. Even if we cannot quite see it, it is they who really KNOW because… aha! They can read the runes which we mere mortals cannot.

And as if all this were not enough, the Guardian newspaper (that shall forever remain tainted by the shame) thought it would be a great idea to tout a 2,500 GBP guided tour of the misery in Greece. You will be taken to the immigrant centres to see how horrible conditions are, and to visit Greek families struck down by the horrific austerity regime, now living in destitution and penury!

Well now, if that isn’t straight out of Monty Python, or Black Adder,  I don’t know what is!

From his various witty quotes it appears that our current Fin Min Mr Euclid Tsakalotos is very fond of Black Adder and Monty Python since he loves using quotes as put downs, and no doubt thinks it’s all very funny.

And in a pitch black sort of way maybe it is. The trouble is,

No one is laughing.

 

 

Revolving Door and Gravy Train for ex Leaders & Politicos

Senior citizens wonder what went so wrong with the world while younger people wonder why the world is in such a shameful state. It is always easy to look back at the past and think that: Oh! things were so much better then! And this is indeed something that is assumed to have played a part in the vote for Brexit, for Trump and perhaps even the French elections.

And of course one always remembers the Good things and not the Bad. However, there is one thing that has become so much worse. Undeniably. The ethics of former political leaders, or rather lack thereof. There is of course nothing illegal in accepting six digit payments for giving a talk. Nor is it illegal for ex Goldman Sachs employees to go into government or ex politicians to go to highly paid jobs in say Goldman Sachs.

I refer to Goldman Sachs just because it is the most obvious, not because it is the only financial or other institution that has such influence. The governor of the Bank of England, the governor of the ECB to name but two of the most important currencies in the world are both ex Goldman Sachs men.

Manuel Baroso who was not at all a successful Prime Minister was given the job of President of the EU Commission (where his term was not a sparkling success since the debt crisis broke out and the way it was handled may well lead to the collapse of the EZ if not the EU) but never mind, he was duly rewarded for all his pains with a well paid job at … yes. You guessed it.

There is no end to such cases from around the world. That is the infamous revolving door. But another instance is the exorbitant fees these excellent people who run our lives (for better or for worse… usually the latter) are rewarded with. To take the most blatant examples. Bill Clinton has made millions (and makes no secret of it) from charging exorbitant sums for giving talks. Tony Blair went full throttle not only with overpaid talks, but various consultancies and such as well.

And now splashed across our screens (what used to be headlines in the papers) Barrack Obama to get $400,000 for one talk. Who? The great and wonderful Barrack Obama who could do no ill! And this is just the beginning for him.

To my mind this is obscene. All sense of any decency that ever was has disappeared. And yes, in times gone by this would have been considered a disgrace and not something to shout out about in triumph.

But as we wonder, why the hell is the world in such a state? maybe we should bare this in mind. Politicians of whatever colour or creed, do not give a damn about what their job is supposed to be. They are more interested in what they can get out of it. Not by graft or embezzlement or anything obviously illegal, but from the perks offered them.

And the question is, would Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and now the iconic Barrack Obama (to name but the most obvious though David Cameron has now also climbed on the band wagon) be offered such exorbitant sums for a simple talk, or offered such highly paid jobs where they are not expected to do much at all, if they had done their jobs properly?

That is if they had served their people, those who voted them into office and whose interests they were supposed to uphold and pursue, rather than curry favour and indeed serve the interests of Banks, financiers, and various businesses instead?

Hardly. Had the interests of people and society come first and foremost there would have been no remuneration of this kind for them at all.

It is obscene and it is disgraceful and shows how these people have no ethics, no ideals and one vision only. How to make millions for themselves. And this they can only do by screwing the people well and truly.

 

A Glimps into the Near Future?

Recent News item

Emirates Secretly Sends Colombian Mercenaries to Fight in Yemen
The New York Times

The arrival in Yemen of 450 Latin American troops adds a volatile new element in a complex proxy war that has drawn in the United States and Iran. Read the full story
This cold lead to something like the following:-

Emirates/Saudi Arabia go bust owing to fall in oil prices (not a fantasy that, but a distinct possibility on the cards). Sick and tired of chicken every day and general conditions, when on top of it all pay checks cease to arrive (because paymasters have gone bust), the Latin American troops rise up in rebellion and easily take over Arab Kingdoms. After slaughter of princes etc. who failed to pay them, they join the other anarchist groups that have evolved. After more blood baths and since oil is no longer worth much on the market and there?s nothing but desert out here, they start arranging and protecting flows of desperate people into Europe. Europeans set up meetings and summit meetings and more meetings and keep quarreling among themselves and blaming Greece for not keeping the hordes out,  and are of course unable to stave off the influx of desperate people because they cannot agree whether to call them refugees or immigrants. In the meanwhile the Latin American mercenaries have revived a Che Guevara cult and as they penetrate Europe with ease they start gathering cheering crowds since they promise to string up all these enemies of the people imposing vicious inhuman austerity. Last scene of the film/book the Latin American army marches triumphantly into Berlin to the strains of Leonard Cohen?s ?First we take Manhattan then we take Berlin?. A Pan European crowd (knitting perhaps?) screams with ecstatic joy as Merkel is brought cowering to the guillotine and poor old Wolfie is allowed to roll off a cliff.

In other words… Gothic hordes taking over Rome, or Anatolian Turk warrior tribes taking over from Arabian Caliphate.

Happens all the time.

Facetious! But analysis can?t cut it any more for what?s going on, only the ravings of a demented fiction writer!

That said… Chaos rules.The more mere mortals try to impose their idea of order over anything the more they give rise to chaos.

Guy Burgess the Villain of the Piece

I recently read Andrew Lownie’s book STALIN’S ENGLISHMAN The Lives of Guy Burgess. I am old enough to remember the furore and media frenzy over the Cambridge five spy ring. How Burgess and Maclean absconded. The Kim Philby shock and so on, so I came to this book with great interest.

One comes out of this enthralling read wondering whether you would have really liked Guy Burgess (as all children seemed to have done) or utterly abhorred him (as most of the society hostesses of the time seem to have done). I have to confess to a puerile reaction. I think I would have liked him very much. A brilliant mind. Extensive knowledge of history, the arts, music. A sense of humour. An almost Wildean figure in scathing repartee not least.

But above all, I believe we should give him credit where it is due. He was an ideologue through and through. He believed in a better world, he believed in fighting against fascism. His spying was not inspired by the motive of any pecuniary gain. Just as we have to grudgingly admit of Margaret Thatcher that she was a Conviction politician, whether we liked her politics or not, so we have to admit of Guy Burgess that he was a man of conviction, whether we like the idea of spying or not.

It is a debate we may have over Edward Snowden as well, but be that as it may. Guy Burgess appears to have been a man of rare brilliance who destroyed himself through excess. Just about an excess of everything. Nevertheless a man sincere in his beliefs who acted on them out of conviction.

Given the state of affairs today, I found this quote, from a man credited with “a power of historical generalisation which is one of the rarest intellectual faculties..” * rather apt and something that we should perhaps still bear in mind, despite the changed historical circumstances. Guy Burgess maintained:

You’ve either got to choose America or Russia. People may have their own view which to chose, but Europe is something wishy-washy that simply does not exist. 

 

A quote by Goronwy Rees,page 325, hard back edition. 

 

Dr Schauble and King Canute

Dr Schauble has ordained that elections can make no difference to policy in Eurozone countries, because policy can only be dictated by himself. He didn’t put it quite that way but that is the essence. The brutal crushing of Greece has demonstrated that he has got his way. No matter that the 3rd bail out appears designed to fail again since it will only bring about more recession, more unemployment, more destitution. No matter that 62% of Greek voters screamed against all the bullying that they can take no more austerity. Dr Schauble got his way.

Yesterday’s elections in Portugal appear to have vindicated him too. For all the pain and misery inflicted on the Portuguese they returned the government of austerity to power, even though things remain abysmal and some 500,000 of their brightest and best have fled the country and their debt/GDP is in the region of 130%.

So Dr Scahuble has triumphed! Not only has that upstart Tsipras turned his coat completely (like a latter day Janissary of the Ottoman Empire), but the Portuguese have realised that they simply cannot defy him and have bent their knee accordingly. And no doubt something of the same will happen in Spain too.

And what has made Dr Schauble’s triumph even greater is that nobody doubts (and how could they?) that this vicious austerity imposed by fiat has failed abominably. The figures show this blatantly. Never mind the murmurs from within the IMF that whoops! Seems likes we effed up!

And yet… Coehlo’s party may have come in first but he lost enough votes to deprive him of an outright majority. The new Greek Parliament may have an overwhelming majority of Austerity True believer parties from the Tsipras band to the scraped through piddly little parties of Democratic Union and Potami, but every single major party lost voters this time around.

Abstention was high in both Greece and Portugal. So Dr Schauble has been heeded. If voting makes no difference, then why bother voting? Which is one interpretation. The obvious one. But that does not necessarily mean surrender. It merely means that an important section of the electorate has finally realised the dice are loaded against them.

Choosing to abstain from voting is not the same as accepting you are powerless. Quite the contrary. For a start it means declining to take part in the charade. It means heightened awareness of the crimes being perpetuated against you. It means a beginning in the turning of the tide.

Like King Canute Dr Schauble with equal arrogance has ordered the tide not to wet his feet. And he can smirk that he has succeeded, triumphantly so, in that no one dares challenge his obviously failed policies any more. However, like King Canute, he has not realised that he has not in fact stopped the tide, but just that at the moment it is at low ebb. Soon enough it will come rushing in again and swamp him and his foolish, arrogant policies.

62% of Greeks daring to vote NO! despite all the terrible threats they were showered with, Jeremy Corbyn winning the Labour Party leadership despite all the hysteria against him, even the alarming rise of Donald Trump in the US but also the totally unexpected results for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party all attest to this.

The tide is turning, the tide will turn because no one can stop it. The only question is how violent will things become? The more one tries to stop the flow of nature, the more violent the explosion when the dam bursts.

When Dr Schauble’s puny little dam smashes from the accumulated pressure against it, as it surely will, the violence will depend on just how much water, dissent, he has managed to bottle up before it all comes cascading violently down over him, possibly uprooting the whole EU edifice with it.

If that is what Dr Schauble ultimately wants, he ought to be very pleased with himself. As most short sighted and complacent mediocre rulers usually are. Till it is too late.

 

 

 

 

 

Letter To A Friend in the USA

Things climaxing. Vote on Sunday. What is going on here is appalling. All the privately owned Media have gone on a panic stricken campaign of propaganda even Goebbels would have blanched at!

The bad thing is that they control all the media (being owned by the various vested interests who in their turn own the systemic politicians) and ALL the systemic politicians, the ones directly responsible for ruining the Greek economy, have come out in unison to beseech us to vote Yes or else!!!! And as if all that were not enough, it has also come out that people are being threatened with being laid off if they don?t vote Yes.

Now the good thing is, perhaps, that such a state of panic does show fear on their side that they might not win the vote. Now, another good thing is that, as the saying is, the masks have dropped & even if the Yes vote does prevail they have exposed themselves irreparably.

But it is obscene & so totally removed for what are called ?European Values? that used to be. There is no doubt any more that this is an attempt at a direct coup d ?etat by the European directorate to oust an elected government because they are not subservient and because they are of the Left (Mind you an extremely light left but they cannot even stomach that!!)

I?m not sure how Tsipras will handle a Yes vote if it turns out that way. But I?m pretty sure he will not resign and keep the pressure up. No passeran!!!

It is a battle, but the war is on regardless of the outcome. This matters for the whole of Europe, not just Greece. And the left had better win or else Europe will turn Fascist once more.

Unfortunately the European directorate is so arrogant and complacent they either don?t see this, as a latter day collective Marie Antoinette OR, as happened in the thirties in Europe, they consider Fascism a welcome outcome.

It?s hard living in interesting times!! Adrenalin is peaking, impossible to concentrate on anything else, glued to the internet for information, Greek TV shut permanently off and only one radio station one can listen to! Called ?in the red? whose signature tunes is various versions of the Internationale with a metronome in the background!!

And I?ve given up whisky!!!

Older posts

© 2018 Parina

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑