CRASH 2: “We are 100% certain that it just doesn’t matter”.

Truth, Lies and Tickertape in America and Europe

It’s a desperate politician that ever uses the term ‘one hundred per cent’, but yesterday Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said he was that certain 2013 will be Greece’s last year of recession. Whether it’s a forever thing or just until 2014 we can’t be sure, but speaking to the BBC’s Mark Lowen, Yannis said the Greeks had reason to be optimistic.

Missing from his statement was why they should feel optimistic, but just to back himself still further into a newly-painted corner, Stournaras added, “Towards the last quarter of 2013, we are going to have recovery. The probability of Greece leaving the euro – Grexit – is now very small.”

I would imagine this is what passes for being ‘on message’ in the Eurozone at the moment, and if nothing else it offers an example to French ministers about how they’re expected to behave. In a desperate attempt to disarm a self-inflicted torpedo yesterday, colleagues in the Socialist administration said Labour Minister Michel Sapin was only highlighting faults of the previous government of Nicolas Sarkozy when he said France was ‘totally bankrupt’.

‘Totally’ is another of those ‘one hundred per cent’ statements. Not that you can be slightly bankrupt, but either way retreating from such an observation represents a toughie. His boss Pierre Moscovici said: “What he meant was that the fiscal situation was worrying”, but nobody in history ever rang up the administrators to say the situation was totally worrying. As if to prove the point, a poll yesterday by Le Figaro had 80% of readers agreeing that France was bankrupt. You ain’t outta the woods yet, Pierre baby.

But if things seem anything from rosey to awful on the mainland, things are catastrophic on Cyprus. You know there’s a big issue at stake when they drag in the clerics, and last week the island’s orthodox leader Archbishop Chrysostomos II requested financial assistance for the rapidly sinking island nobody wants to sink. However, Chrysostomos turned towards Russia, asking his counterpart in Moscow to try to persuade President Rasputin to grant another emergency loan….on top of the 2.5 billion euros Cyprus got from Russia just 13 short months ago.

According to Fitch, in fact, the total Cyprus now needs is 17 billion euros, which represents seventeen eighteenths of the gdp there. I’d call that ‘worrying’ even on a good day and 25 mgs of Valium; but then, I’m getting hazy on what ‘bankrupt’ means. I’m also unclear as to when Archbishops began to have numbers like monarchs: does this suggest delusions of grandeur, we ask. Or is he the follow up to the last movie, Archbishop Chrysostomos I, in which the Bish looked West but saw only a Belgian skull writing kamikaze poetry?

We may never know, but it’s good to see that the Phantom Finn Olli Rehn has joined the certainty club. “It’s essential that everybody realises that a disorderly default of Cyprus could lead to an exit of Cyprus from the Eurozone,” he said, adding pointedly and yet pointlessly, “It would be extremely stupid to take any risk of that nature.”

That’s another fine mess you got us into, Olli: but as the irrepressible Mark J Grant pointed out yesterday, a big slice of the formula for Europe is that ‘no country will leave the Euro under any circumstances so not only is money thrown about, but deficit goals are relaxed, relaxed and ignored as demonstrated quite clearly in Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and Cyprus. The actual financials in these European countries have gone from bad to worse but it is irrelevant, as there has been a change in the mindset of the Europeans which is being reflected in the minds of investors – which is that “it just does not matter”’. He is of course right on the money, reflected by the fact that Catalonia has just requested another 9 billion euros in aid from Mariano Rajoy’s Madrid Government.

Grant’s brilliant piece was marred only by the growing inability of folks under forty to get the compose/comprise verb right. Something is either composed of, or it comprises. You can’t comprise of something any more than you can compose of music. English is full of comprises, but it does no harm to know the rules.

Knowing the rules has never held the Italians back, and the smell surrounding Monte dei  Paschi di Siena Bank (MPS) is getting more pervasively gaggo by the hour. Siena prosecutors have been looking at the MPS accounts, and found suspicious bank transfers for €17bn in 11 months from May 2008 to April 2009 to various other institutions. That’s a figure I’d rank beyond suspicious and heading towards smoking gun held in bright-red cordite-stained hand. I mean, €17bn is a lot. The money went to ABN Amro, Santander and Abbey National, and has an air of f**king enormous bribe about it.

Talking of bribes, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanka’s latest round of bond buying will reach $1.14 trillion before he ends the programme in the first quarter of 2014, according to estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Despite the US being in complete, obvious and unstoppable recovery, Benny the Banke will press on with purchases of $40 billion a month of mortgage bonds, and $45 billion a month of Treasuries – although more than a few Fed officials warn his unprecedented balance-sheet expansion will “impair efforts to tighten policy when necessary” as one mole put it.

I am very happy to be quoted as offering the view that this is a one hundred per cent certainty. But as they say in Brussels, “it just doesn’t matter”. Thank God for that: we are saved.

96 thoughts on “CRASH 2: “We are 100% certain that it just doesn’t matter”.

  1. They do like it ‘up-‘em’!
    I am hearing the call of a Black swan (around April), it sounds something like; Downgrade-Bond Market crash-Sterling collapse. You may want to get your Forex now!

    http://www.moneyweek.com/investments/currencies/will-the-pound-slump-against-the-dollar-62430

    Oh yeah. You will need one of these:

    http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/7205499.htm

    Please keep calm, it is all part of the plan. Incremental, Global Totalitarianism! Looking for someone to blame? Start with those who brought into the illegal Privatisations that began in 1979. ‘Awe, what’s up, bathroom mirror a bit misty’! Also, the banks are cornering the commodities markets. So, expect food shortages and rising prices.
    That’ll be all.

  2. Like that’s totally utterly literally amazing that we are realistically 100% skint and yet am reading on news that 600 million quids worth of yet unbuilt properties on the battersea power station site have already been sold each around 400 grand apeice ..that’s totally amazing bollocks

  3. “….. found suspicious bank transfers for €17bn in 11 months from May 2008 to April 2009 to various other institutions.” Rather like the £40bn that vanished out from RBS in the months before it crashed which the government and accountants said was perfectly above board and, no, it couldn’t be reclaimed. Never did hear a satisfactory explanation of that one did we?

  4. It appears that they really can “kick the can down the road” indefinitely. It reminds me of the ingenious MeFo bonds, created by the genius of Dr. Hjalmar Schacht which kept the pre war German economy booming in spite of lunatic policies. That was almost the economic mirror image of today. Germany then was reducing exports as resources went into armaments. Now they want to keep the exports going by continuing bail outs to customer countries which are already bankrupt and, at one time, Mr. Cameron was rushing in to help them with our money (which we hadn’t and haven’t got). It is a mad, mad world, my masters!

    I do recall a programme in which one of Dr Schacht’s bright young men at the Reichsbank commented in his old age “We were very surprised how long it was possible to keep things going by political means”. He was talking of the period circa 1936-39. Something’s got to go pop. It won’t be tanks through Poland this time but whatever it is, it will be astonishing and certainly nasty.

  5. John, Totally agree on comprise/comprise of. One of the main reasons I visit this website daily is to enjoy your excellent use of the English language. I’ve been meaning to ask your opinion regarding the term “dumbed- down”. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I feel sure that in days of yore it was expressed as dunned-down. No-one seems to agree with me.

    • @ S. Whippet

      Many many moons ago, over 300 of ‘em, back in the days when the Kaiserslautern/Ramstein area accommodated the biggest US military base outside the States (it might still be!), I had occasion to visit the local gas/electricity supplier head office.

      On one of the office doors was a sign that said, ‘Dunning Office’ – that was it, no German translation! So, being a true blue inquisitive Brit I queried it. To be informed that it was the office where the GIs came to pay off the arrears on their gas/elec bills – and if they visited regularly, the guy with the pliers/spanner would not be paying them a home visit!

      According to my Babylon-Pro dictionary, dun = verb. demand payment.

      From WordWeb (download of their free dictionary here : http://wordweb.info/ ) we learn:

      Persistently ask for overdue payment // “The grocer dunned his customers every day by telephone”

    • I’ve lost count of the number of grammatical errors one encounters on a daily basis by journalists, commenters and even business chief honchos. “Loose” instead of “lose” is one that appears to have become pervasive, no doubt through constant repetition. But hey! what’s a few misspelled words in our current civilisational shipwreck …………..

      • Don’t these people have a word processing program with spell-checker? “Loose/lose” is by far the worst in terms of unnecessary stupidity, but “hung/hanged” is a another favourite, with “less/fewer” another. As Spike Milligan famously wrote “Ireland is being torn in two by Traters” rather destroys the point one is trying to make…

  6. Pingback: John Ward – Crash 2 : “We Are 100% Certain That It Just Doesn’t Matter” – 30 January 2013 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  7. S.Whippet

    In my young days – and I am nearly up to my allotted threescore years and ten – being “dunned” was what happened when the bailiffs got hold of you. They were sometimes called duns. I should add that I have never so far been pursued by these gentlemen but occasionally and very reluctantly instructed them.

  8. Quoting from Millenium Elephant blog here, “Money does NOT grow on trees. Unless you are the survivors of the Golgafrinchian “B Ark” that crash-landed on prehistoric Earth in Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy”. They adopted the leaves on the trees as their currency and all became instant millionaires. Although there was a small problem with inflation.”

    • “Although there was a small problem with inflation.”

      That sorted itself out the next Autumn, didn’t it? Although I hear the Golgafrinchians soon tired of an annual boom and bust cycle.

  9. I see the US had negative growth last quarter, just like the UK. Just shows how useful QE and deficit spending really are.

      • every one for himself.. if you’re sitting pretty, I say good for you, if not, you need access to OTC derivative bets on interest rates, and fast.

      • I used to think that I was sitting pretty… now my instincts – the ones that haven’t been anaesthetised with palliative propaganda – tell me I’m a sitting duck; negative interest rates (inflation) are all that is left. Waddle happen next in this long march to oblivion is still opaque, but mallard in the merde looks all too likely.

      • @HieronymousB

        Central Banks EU, Japan, UK and US are all doing QE now, but the context has changed a bit from the earlier “what else can we do, and it’s for the good of the financial system?”. No, there is now real concern for ‘growth.’ There is a large aspect to it now that is thus a currency war, and despite all the other noise thus a simplification arises which aids in understanding and uses an old-fashioned simple-minded enough sort of evaluation, to wit: If currencies A, B, C, D, … are fighting it out then they need associated higher returns on their paper to attract purchasers. Yes, if the money is devalued, then at the very least a punter needs a tangible rate of return for taking any of it on ship. Yes, this leads to the mental troubles of contemplating increasing national debt payments due to the already colossal national debts and subsequent higher rates on such paper ensuing on devaluations and currency war, versus the contrary desire to keeps rates low for the aforesaid reasons of being able to afford your budget payments: Yes, if one accepts that reasoning, but argue against it one can. Because it’s becoming to appear as though the thinkers have come to the conclusion that growing their economies will not only be politically necessary to deal with unemployment and related serious ills, but it is frankly their ‘last shot.’ So in the very brave new world commencing, an investor will have to deal with some heretofore clear logical disconnects such as competitive currency devaluations leading to increasing rates on sovereign paper in some of the QE countries who can’t seem to grow their economies without thereby adding to their nominal yearly interest payments on their debts. — But don’t let it make less sense than necessary — the higher debt payments are made with the same funny money anyway — get it now? And meanwhile all sorts of slack will be added to the derivatives casino enabling the sharks to hedge more confusingly than ever and generally make a bigger fortunes more rapidly than previously.

        It is like a consultant called in to evaluate a wholesale scheme of fraud written up and presented to him as 19 or twenty pages of the crispiest highly annotated and legally footnoted bollocks yet sighted by sentry or patent department. If he’s any good he’ll say “I think I see what y’all are about here mateys. Now my only question is why you haven’t added these 15 supplementary pages of bollocks I just handily happen to have with me here in my valise?”

      • @Geo: Thank you for your well planned and executed explanation I think. Rest assured that I will give it full consideration over the coming hours and days.

        All I need now is some sound advice about my browser app; the buffer overflow is now so voluminous – almost a tidal wave – that I have damp in the basement.. I may be a (dead) duck but there are limits. Please help.

        Daffy ;)

  10. Poor old Michel Sapin, he was only repeating what François Fillon said a couple of years ago on TV. “I am the Prime Minister of a bankrupt country”.
    I don’t think anyone believed it then, however with unemployment going up daily (job losses today….), & Peugeot workers voting to work longer for less, perhaps they do now.
    Just saw on the news that they are rioting again in Greece, & the council in Milan has no money to buy petrol so there are no buses. Great, the Eurozone, innit?
    As for our mad shower, well, they’re away with the fairies, aren’t they?

  11. Anthony Barber,monetary growth,London house prices through the roof,inflation,banks out of control,1974,the market halved ,and then halved again.2013 has the same smell.

  12. And it would appear that all our workforce and our burgers have come from Poland…….And now our favourite man, who, has been ‘rewarded’ for his ‘efforts’ in respect of the Polish contingent, the one we despise the most, is going to ‘mobilise’ all the Europhiles…..after all, where is the ‘King of Scumbags’ going to stick his snout, what other trough is there, should the Brussels gravy train become derailed?
    The most astounding issue being, do he really not know just how despised he is?

    • Does he really know how irrelevant he is?
      I do not think D.C. is really despised myself. It would be like hating your local Party Chairman because of the Welfare State or the invasion of Iraq of whatever.
      They don’t matter.
      Some have commented in the MSM that UKIP’s poll numbers have ‘surprisingly’ not moved since that speech the other week.
      It’s because no one is listening to any of the Party Politicians any more.
      That’s my view.

      • ‘It’s because no one is listening to any of the Party Politicians any more.’
        Or, a case of the MSM not wanting to pour more fuel on a fire that isn’t going to go out.
        I think, and so does John Redwood funnily enough, that a surprising amount of people are waking up the bollocks that the two main parties are pushing out, and are turning to alternatives, i.e. UKIP but, they are not going to admit that in the MSM.

      • kfc1404
        January 30, 2013 at 8:49 pm
        Yep.
        There is some truth in that however I say we are in totally new territory.
        People know that ‘the party political game’ is owned by their enemies.
        Therefore now amount of voting for anyone will make any difference
        ie I recall Paul Boetang declaring that white would definatly be allowed to adopt black children in 1997. The Social Workers just ignored him. It remains a massive problem (for black children in Homes that is) today. The social workers are following their own illegal policies and are our of control.
        The Bankers are following their own policies and are out of control.The Police are following their own policies and are out of control.The Courts are following their own policies and are out of control (Islamic child rape).The military are following their own policies and are out of control(DU bombs).

        No amount of voting will change this.

      • Yes, Labour and Tories are both failing parties. Miliband can’t even reliably make double figures over Cameron in mid-term polls. I don’t see any enthusiasm for Labour at all. A friend who couldn’t get enough of Blair at one time now shrugs and says Cameron is doing what he probably has to do under the circumstances. My guess is, Tories and Labour will be more or less tied in 2015, as last time, but on a lower percentage, with Ukip and others not far off.

    • Our favourite man, hero of the Polish flesh export trade (living and dead), will be sticking his capacious snout into the Europhile ‘Stay in EU’ trough because he knows that, just like in the 1975 Referendum, there will be millions of CIA dollars heading into that kitty to engineer the same outcome. Obama’s already implied as much.
      ‘Pres’ Tony and Madam Slot-Gob just want their cut of the cake – nothing new there.

      • They do indeed. What I cannot find though, is, in my mind, an acceptable reason for the US determination to keep us ‘in’, other than in my mind to destroy us along with the rest of Europe. I don’t go along with all this ‘negotiating table’ bollocks, the US doesn’t seem to have any trouble ‘negotiating’ anywhere else in the world without us…

      • The USA wants first-bite at all the trade in the developing world, you know, that huge bit that’s expanding in demand, not the shrinking, anal, terminally-depressed Europe bit.
        If the USA can hobble Britain, to stop us using our long-established benefits of links, culture and language for our head-start, it gives the Yanks a free run at it. And what better way to slow us down than by maintaining the millstone of the EU around our trading necks ?
        In 1973 and 1975 it was all about them having a Cold War ‘agent’ on the inside of the left-leaning Europe – now it’s about trade – the reason changes but the tactics underhand remain the same.

  13. Somewhat echoing
    Edward Spalton
    @January 30, 2013 at 5:41 pm above;

    We seem to be in a period of post ’39 phoney war.
    Every thinking person knows that the old post war world is dead and gone. Some accept the reality of a NWO and some are unsure what our/the future will look like.
    I think the real split in opinion is between those who see current developments as part of a large scale plan; a succesful execution of international power. On the other hand; others think political and economic failures are responsible.
    I think it depends upon one’s personal intellectual and imaginative psychological architecture. This is what emboldens The Agenda; they know most people simply cannot see the wood for the trees.

    • The don’t want to see the wood, they are scared it might be a petrified forest. Easier to pretend everything is fine.Then, they can scream, ‘What the F*uck went wrong’? with impunity….After all, it was fine the last time they looked, wasn’t it?

      • Sadly you are correct.
        Shame.
        Further, by ignoring the forest growing all around they are preparing to blame ‘someone else’ when reality bites.

  14. ‘Adolf Hitler’s memory is a ‘constant warning’, Merkel says on 80th anniversary
    Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that Adolf Hitler’s rise to power 80 years ago should go on reminding Germans that democracy and freedom cannot be taken for granted. ‘
    And the award this year for the most outrageous and outstanding hyprocrisy goes to…………..ANGELA MERKEL….

  15. Its all a bit like Eschers Ascending and Descending Stairs with the banker as artist painting whatever unreality he wants for us to view!

    • At least the Belgians had a parlementary debate. I loved the revelation that the Belgian Army cannot sack Jihadists in their ranks for employment law reasons.

  16. Hush now everyone, ignorance is, apparently, bliss. Drink some more grog and watch the soaps. I hear that actor who plays that b***ard I hate is going to get his commupance from some actress who is great it not good enough for proper tv.

    It’ll be great and it’ll keep us all calm….and distracted…and sleepy…and drunk. Just the way we should be. Questions are for silly folks. Shhhhh…..

  17. @John Richardson: I have to agree with you on the issue that the so called ‘authorities’ are out of control, and unfortunately I have to admit that, yes, no amount of voting will change anything, the lunatics have control of the asylum and the aren’t about to give that up lightly, I have said it before and I’ll say it again, blood will flow before anything will change.

  18. It is fairly typical socialist that if you think something enough or make enough speeches, you’ll get the outcome you want. If anything, the global economy is deteriorating further, so I don’t know where the eurozone leaders think growth is going to come from.

      • Oh, just realised an area of growth, immigration, We are just about to let in another bunch of dependents, possibly 10%, that of course could be 2.9 MILLION, to add to our already overstretched resources. Nothing to worry about there then?

  19. And I see that Cameron is in Algeria offering our ‘support’, does that meant another bunch of immigrants are coming suck us more dry?
    What was it someone said the other day? Oh, I remember, Snow, the only thing that settles in the UK and doesn’t claim benefits.

  20. kfc,

    I usually enjoy your comments but you can be a really vile little man sometimes. Benefit dependency was brought to you by neoliberalism. Mass immigration was brought to you by the same.

    So quit with the lazy generalisations these people come to the UK to work and build a better life for themselves, they want to be the best they can just like you do.

    Do you think your darlings UKIP will change anything? Globalisation is responsible which is what we are supposed be fighting. unoriginal, though mildly amusing, jokes against people don’t help.

      • I salute you for your good manners in offering an apology kfc, but in this instance I don’t think it was at all necessary. YOU were right in what you said

    • “….these people come to the UK to work”

      Depends where the immigrants come from. A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), found that “fewer than half of Britain’s 650,000 Somalis, Bangladeshis, Turks and Pakistanis, have jobs and the four communities have the highest levels of benefit dependency.”

      Here’s a list of the “top” ten most welfare dependant immigrant groups in Germany (printed in a mainstream German newspaper): Lebanese (90%), Iraqi (65%) Afghan (53%) Pakistani (48%) Ghanaian (44%) Syrian (42%) Iranian (41%), Sri Lankan (41%) Algerian (38%) Moroccan (34%).

      Note the high preponderance of Muslims. It may be that they want work but can’t find it, but is could just as easily be that many of them consider that welfare is a form of tax for non-believers.

      Regardless of the reason, kfc’s assertion that immigrants claim benefits is irrefutable. Calling someone a ” vile little man” for pointing out facts is way out of order, if you ask me.

    • bill40
      I think it was the phrase `vile little man` that evoked memories of watching a re-run of the old sit com `To The Manner Born`. It`s exactly the sort of language that Audrey Forbes-Hamilton would have used.You sound like a silly woman to be honest.
      We all make jokes on this site from time to time and most people are tolerant enough to take them with a pinch of salt. If you were offended by THAT joke then I suggest that you really need to get out more.

  21. kfc and above,

    Of course immigrants claim some part of welfare why shouldn’t they? Far from being offended by kfcs’ joke I said I fiound it mildly amusing when I first heard it. As john does not like foul and abusive language on his blog, I moderate my words.

    My main point still stands insulting immigrants is counter productive and plays the man not the ball. They didn’t make the rules, crash the banks or anything else we fulminate about on here.

    I will repeat I usually like what kfc has to say I just think that one remark he made was beyond the pale. There are plenty of sites available that will cater for such speech.

    • For which I have unreservedly apologised. It was never my intention to offend anybody really, I found it amusing when I heard it and just wanted to share it, and as ADB rightly pointed out, it wasn’t a lie…..
      I would point out though, calling me a ‘Vile little man’ could be construed as abusive surely?

      • On reflection you are right and I apologise for calling you a vile little man. Your original comment just plays into the divide and rule bo**ocks that we are supposed to fighting here.

        Free thinking is hardly enhanced by keneejerk Mail type comments.

      • I thought the joke was funny even if it was rather politically incorrect (and would definitely upset Harriet Harmen). The subsequent rebuke using the term “vile little man” came across as very haughty arrogant and sneering.
        Intended as an insult and put down to a person of lower class.

        Maybe a second apology is in order then we can all move on.

    • @bill40: your 2nd comment makes more sense. The initial one suffers from the very generalisation you accuse others of, like “…every immigrant wants to be the best they can…” There are also plenty of sites available offering that caramel…

    • “As john does not like foul and abusive language on his blog, I moderate my words.”

      Gee, thanks for holding back and keeping it at “vile little man”, internet tough guy. Don’t know what we’d have done if you’d really let rip. Seems to me the wrong person is apologising here.

    • All I can add is that over the last 15 yrs or so my experience of immigrant workers in Ireland, mainly Eastern European & Portuguese working in manufacturing is that they are all very hard working & preferred by their employers to the natives for that very reason. Also they often took work that nobody else wanted to do, especially during the boom years.

      It reminds me of the Irish & Pakistani workers in the UK during the 70’s in a similar situation. The Irish on road construction & the Pakistani’s, at least in Stoke, where they mostly did the really heavy work in what used to be called the ` Clay End ` in the potteries.

      Obviously these jobs they now take up would be handy for the natives but so could the thousands of jobs lost to outsourcing, which in my experience were sometimes lost in order to benefit a few individuals & in other cases because of top heavy bad management & in the case of the pottery industry complacent lazy male workers.

      Blame should not be attached to those who take up an offer to better themselves, including the thousands of young Irish who are now being forced to emigrate to Australia easing the unemployment figures for the kind of people who made this mess.

  22. (SINK THE BISMARCK!!!)

    « Cause the world depends on us >>

    Now many true Slogger tryo to watch the whole shameful thing. Please I ask it you all?”

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