Some things come in pairs

The Great Recession and other horror stories

A perfect pairA perfect pair
This is the time of year traditionally known as the silly season and it's hard going for people who can't relax and have no sense of humour. I like this time of year, it's a test and passing with flying colours is Edmund Conway. He brings us, in the Telegraph, but with no online version, one of the funniest stories in a while. It has an inauspicious start in that its central character is Mervyn King. But stay with me for that man is more than just an authority on moral hazard. Conway says that King likes to tell of the moment he realised that what he calls the, Great Recession, will be harder to get out of than you might think. King was at a posh conference on the world circuit with the great and the good, the politicians who lead us, and was both amused and horrified to hear them all declare they would get out of the mess by exporting. Clearly for this to work buyers and sellers must come in pairs. But at the conference in question all the world leaders were sellers. King gives the impression that only he spotted the problem, at the conference maybe.

However, the man atop the Clapham omnibus has known this for years.

Even the Germans are worried!

They've been here before.

German privacy video looks at retention of communications data

German film maker Alexander Lehmann has released a video on YouTube entitled 'You are a terrorist' which highlights the controversial issue of communications data retention across Europe. The video states: "there are more than 82 million terrorists hiding in Germany. You are one of them! For the last 6 months all of your activities have been monitored, for instance: who you call and when, when you use your mobile and where, when and where you access the internet and what sites you are visiting". In the UK the retention of communications data such as emails was snuck through as secondary legislation (The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009) in April.
See also NO2ID

Scrapping reality

Wheels of fortune?

I'm happy with the old one I'm happy with the old one
Ten good reasons to like Alistair Darling anyone? Five then? Two? OK, there's one good reason and it's that Darling is saying no to Lord Peter Mandelson's car scrapping scheme. Following slavishly in the footsteps of his old EU chums the Germans, who do this, Mandy is keen to see such a scheme included in the upcoming budget. The Times has its version of these events HERE

The story is credited to both Suzy Jagger, Politics and Business Correspondent, and Francis Elliott, Deputy Political Editor. This is reasonable as the basic policy behind it is neither wholly politics nor business. It is a mishmash of 'me-too', following our EU partners and hence political in nature, while also giving, or trying to give, the nod to business. This lack of clarity is very Nulabour and more than just another internal spat; this one between Darling and Mandy, the Treasury and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Cynics will immediately spot that Mandy's fiefdom has the longer title. So it, one assumes, (he assumes?) appears sassier, more vital, urgent and modern; while Darling has just one word to describe his day job, how dull and boring, staid, conservative even.

Bring back the DM?

The paymaster says no

Angela Merkel Angela Merkel
Why do they do it? This was asked by a friend of Germany; we had been talking about the contributions countries make to the EU coffers and the fact that the Germans always appear to pay more than anyone else. this would be a good question to ask Angela Merkel and, without her reply, the reasons can only be guessed. Perhaps the plan is to pay so much to the EU that they end up de facto owners of it all. As the financial crisis takes another turn we learn that Greece is set to follow Ireland and offer full security to bank deposits. It will soon be time to make a list of EU member countries who do and don't offer this service; because the way things are going soon Germany may stand alone with the UK.

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