The French have a plan. What’s more, even Trichet has approved the plan. It is called, “Nous kickons la boite down le road”. But it is still a plan that will ‘change the game’, and that much is true: it will change the date of Greece’s default, but not its inevitability. It’s also illegal under EU Law…but Blind Eyes are the order of the day, it seems.
An hour ago, the New York Times said world stocks were already rising ‘on hopes of a resolution of the Greek debt problem’. Sloppy reporting is so common these days, you wonder about the average hack’s ability to think. My New Year’s resolution was never to believe politicians who have resolutions to problems: so lacking are they in resolve, they never resolve anything.
As if to prove the point, within 30 minutes another NYT lady said no, hang on a minute, it’s now looking bad again…the vote may not pass, as some of Papandreou’s socialist comrades fear being ripped to shreds by the mob. This reporter’s mind-boggling assertion two paragraphs further down was ‘failure to pass the new law will engulf the world banking system in a spiralling crisis’. Yes, hmm. Well if you believe what the banks say about the danger, it will. And if you believe what the French banks say about their ability to withstand Greek default, it won’t. And if it won’t do the French can-kickers any harm, why the plan to (effectively) write off half the debt and delay Domesday?
This remains the fundamental problem at the core of so much media coverage these days: lazy, naive, ill-informed, and lacking in any attempt to read past, through or around the numbers in the press pack. The FT’s oped today, for example, is headed ‘Give Greece time to prove it can do the job’. But nothing below the headline suggested how it could do that job – or indeed, what the exact job might be. At the BBCNews website, Bobby Peston’s piece – ‘Is the French plan flawed?’ - showed no awareness of Der Spiegel’s piece from the day before saying the flaw was its illegality. (One of his comment threaders was left to point this out.)
The Wall Street Journal writes about how ‘the European Union warns that failure by the Greek government to pass into law and implement its newest austerity package would disqualify it from another bailout’. It still beats me exactly why the Greeks see this as a threat, but then I’m not there and staring oblivion in the face. However, I don’t make the point lightly: the EU’s diktat lacks any real ability to back it up. As so often in international affairs, the leader who just ignores the threats gets away with it. Hitler built a career and a Reich doing it. Not that I’m suggesting Greece should demand an Anschluss with Troy (although that would certainly be more entertaining) but rather that Papandreou could say “Stick your rotten, hypocritical rules up your Rompuy” or something similar.
The whole charade – the bailout, the deals, the threats and the dire predictions – is bollocks. Wholesale debt forgiveness or disaster: the choice really is that simple. For myself, I’m hoping there will be what the Fascists in Bankfurt quaintly call ‘an accident’. That is, the People or their representatives saying ‘No’. Usually, that sort of thing makes no difference to the EU at all. This time it would. If the Greek Deputies vote down the deal today, they will be doing all of us a favour in the long term.
If you liked this, you should have a look at Crash 2: Situation Normal, all….