Pigs, troughs, bankers and other related stories.

The financial crisis and the EU, will it ever, 'go away'?

The future of the euro?The future of the euro?
Well the Greek financial crisis is back in the news again. Mind you there's been some stiff competition of late, the royal wedding and the death of Bin Laden for example. But what we read about Greece is different, less dramatic, stale even, as it's about a year since the Greek bailout was announced. Also the root of the problem goes back such a long way it seems boring. It's not only Greece too, since their problems became newsworthy Ireland and Portugal have taken a turn. All the way through this saga there have been suggestions that the euro was, as a grand project, ill conceived and has been poorly managed since its introduction. The past behaviour of euro-stalwart Angela Merkel, taken as an example, shows that nerves are frayed. In real business, as opposed to the make-believe of the EU, there's a point when a failing venture is closed down. It goes into bankruptcy to avoid 'pouring good money after bad'. The point to remember with the EU is those doing the pouring are using other people's money. It's not for them to face up to reality.

Davos, all is well?

Davos and the Klondike theory

Davos 2011Davos 2011
Let's put on a brave face. This seems to be the mood of the moment and we have been here before. Prior to the financial collapse of Greece there was only a little local difficulty to deal with; and then there was Ireland. Our Lords and Masters, fresh from their exertions in Davos, tell us all is well. On behalf of France, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said -

Let's not short Europe and let's not short the eurozone, - she said to applause from the business and political leaders attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in this Swiss ski resort.

Portugal and the bond market

Trouble postponed but the problem remains and still may spread

Help for Portugal?Help for Portugal?
So is this a victory or just a breathing space? There's much in the news beyond the financial woes of Portugal in particular and the euro in general. The bond sale has gone ahead and some might assume that marks the end of the story. Well perhaps these were the people who were caught out by the financial collapse of Greece and Ireland. To the average person economic and financial news is always dull, except for banker-bashing which is in full spate, again.

Confused? We all are!

Ireland, who's telling the truth?

The gombeen man The gombeen man
There's still so much to learn about the financial crisis in Ireland. Just days ago some people were saying that Ireland was doing well and did not need a loan. All this while others would have you believe that it was all over for Ireland and there were only tears and shame ahead. The crisis has brought us words like 'gombeen' and 'jackeen'. And this before most of us have had the chance to work out which is what in Irish political parties. This is made awkward as most of the lookers-on, the non-Irish, don't know their Fáil from their Gael. But take heart as most of the British resident Irish are also confused though not entirely surprised the sky has fallen in on the land of their birth.

Mrs Duffy and the Greek crisis

Northern widow obscures real world drama!

Mrs Duffy and PM on the streetMrs Duffy and PM on the street
This morning the Guardian, not noted for its coverage of financial matters, had the Greek financial crisis as its lead article. Also on the front page, but below, was the analysis of the Metropolitan Police report on the death of Blair Peach. As far as defending civil liberties goes the Guardian has an established track record, we are not being critical. So what do we make of it? The Blair Peach story is an example of how the authorities must not do things, the years of lying and cover up etc. However, the Greek financial crisis is an example of how the EU has failed.

The Guardian has a long standing reputation as being a staunch supporter of all things related to the EU. The crisis that has engulfed Greece is not a simple national one. The Guardian, devoted to the concept of a supra-national Europe, must now be thinking of the greater effect of the financial crisis. Even the most devoted EU supporters can see that the comments by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, that the Greek debt crisis is now spreading "like Ebola" , is not a snappy headline from a newspaper sub-editor but the truth.

And while this is going on we are being treated to pages of newsprint about Gordon Brown and his run in with Mrs Duffy. With due respect to her, I would suggest this is not the big story of the week.

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