The Greek economy and the UK elections

Bad news buried by election, but for how long?

Do not bury bad news Do not bury bad news
It was clear that once Gordon Brown had gone to Buckingham Palace to initiate the process that starts the final run to a general election, news reporting would change. From now on only the discovery of Elvis Presley, alive and well, will knock the general election off its perch. Events that a month ago were 'big' and are still going on now languish. The Nulabour spin machine, its powers and performance always oversold by the MSM, got itself into trouble for coming up with the concept "a good day to bury bad news"

Remember the PIGS? Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, reckoned to be the EU members in the most serious financial trouble and a wonderful acronym for the copy writer. Some analysts suggested that Italy should be in there too. Well you will have to dig deep now to find out the latest on these countries in the UK MSM. The story is effectively buried for the near future.

The funny thing about the EU is it sells itself on the notion of 'an ever closer union' but the nonsense of one size fits all is obvious when you look at the MSM on a Europe-wide basis. The German MSM, ever conscious of the fact that what ever happens in the EU its citizens seem to end up paying for it, took a home based approach to reporting the financial crisis. Hurrah, nationalism lives! For the Germans the handy PIGS acronym was no use at all. So why not include the second 'I' for Italy? And while they were at it some Germans even made pointed remarks about the financial state of the UK! Luckily for us, not being in the single currency zone, including the UK in any analysis muddied the waters. And anyway PIIGSUK looks like a problem only the contestants on 'Countdown' could deal with! But debt is debt, the real problems in the EU, as a whole, remain.

Now back to the UK election; from now on no UK politician can have a day off, they must tramp through shopping centres followed by a mixed gang of local party officials, hacks and TV crews looking for ordinary people to annoy. Shoppers are not fools, years spent avoiding hoodies means they are fleet of foot and can easily outmanoeuvre the gang of zombies, the shoppers are gone in a flash. Perhaps they only nipped out to buy a newspaper wondering, "how is Greece getting on", good question, for which the answer is "still not very well". But how to find out for sure?

In the EU old friends that once got on well have now fallen out too. Back in mid-March the Times had the headline - 'Germany and France clash over Greek rescue package'. There was a public spat -

Wolfgang Schäuble said: "We need stricter rules. That means, in an extreme emergency, having the possibility of removing from the euro area a country that does not get its finances in order”

While Christine Lagarde took a different view and called on Berlin to increase domestic demand to stimulate economic growth in the eurozone. In an interview yesterday she criticised Germany’s huge trade surplus with other eurozone states, suggesting that it was not sustainable, and called for more convergence of eurozone economies.

There's no need to look up the names to see that it's the Germans that want the stricter rules and to keep their trade imbalance, as spotted by the French! No wonder the Greeks are angry. All EU members play the same game but only they, so far, have been caught out. Just days ago the Times was singing the praises of Angela Merkel, their headline said - 'Merkel has saved Greece – but not the euro'. Has saved? That's a bit premature. The article also says -

Germany has argued since the creation of the currency bloc on January 1, 1999, that disintegration was unthinkable — no, more than that, actually impossible. Yet the Greek drama has exposed the contradictions built into the currency from the start and, how much these suit Germany itself — but how they cannot continue.

That comment sounds like another nuanced swipe at the German trade imbalance. The Times also points out that Merkel was, before politics, a theoretical chemist, which we should remember is not the same as an alchemist. The former is a precise science, strict rules and all that; while the latter was more of a belief system living on hope. But perhaps if you stick by 'the rules' the Greek problem is insoluble? The very pro-EU Guardian seems both bedazzled and bemused by the crisis. Always infatuated by 'an ever closer union' it reports the facts but fails to face them, living on hope again? In an article titled 'Investors rush to sell Greek bonds' we read -

'The Greek debt crisis deepened today, despite reassurances from European Union officials that the country was not on the brink of default': 'Investors want more details about a potential bailout package, something that the EU has so far failed to provide, dragging the crisis into its fourth month'.

Now the fact is the crisis deepened because (not despite) EU officials are in charge when it should be the Greek government, that's why - and, after four months of waiting investor patience had run out, hence the rush to sell Greek bonds; can you blame them? This is the problem with the EU and its sycophants, reality is always for other people never themselves. The website 'Business Insider' was not dazzled their headline - The Greece Bailout Is Bunk, There's A Loophole That Lets Countries Back Out' Their opinion was -

'The statement issued by euro group leaders at an EU summit a week ago conveys the impression that all single currency members would participate in any rescue.

However a high-level source in Brussels, with knowledge of how the statement was written, said the language was purposely nuanced to give countries the option of not taking part without breaching the letter of the pledge.

The statement from euro group leaders said: “As part of a package involving substantial International Monetary Fund financing and a majority of European financing, euro area member states are ready to contribute to co-ordinated bilateral loans.” So basically there's no commitment'.

No dreaming there and no attempt to bury unpleasant facts under a pile of election babble either. The EU financial crisis can't stay out of sight till the UK election is over. It will be interesting to see if, in the proposed TV debates, this subject is given the space it deserves and the answers from the politicians. However, the 'great' TV debate involving Nick Griffin was as good as a theatrical farce, strong on emotion and showmanship but not much else. It that sorry occasion is used as the model it will be a pity.