GREECE: Once bitten, twice shy?


Dog bites Scam

Last Friday most of Wall Street and the City were convinced that Greece would bite the hand that feeds it. But instead, Greek voters bit the bullet, and, having been given a second bite at the cherry, in a nail-biting finish New Democracy ‘won’.

Once again, Brussels and Berlin seemed to have the bit between their teeth. But the markets decided the EU had bitten off more than it could chew: they were once bitten, twice shy – and the bounce lasted all of three hours. This is a bite in the bum for Sprout & Kraut, Flower Arrangers, Rue de Remarques, Brussels, and it won’t be long before Greece realises that the mad dog’s bark is far worse than its bite.

Meanwhile, does anyone other than me wish David Cameron would bite his lip just this once, and leave the Greeks to do their own Coalition-forming…given he made such a balls of his two years ago?

61 thoughts on “GREECE: Once bitten, twice shy?

  1. John

    “does anyone other than me wish David Cameron would bite his lip just this once”

    I would prefer that he used super glue.


  2. It was a bite of the 44% to the 56% voting for a change.We here failed to send a strong message.I am sorry to say so.The terrorizing was too strong to fail in the older ages.They got too scared of the absurd possibility of a return to the drachma.. the younger ones- my generation-got scared of the uncertainty and a possible laid off from their companies.Unbelievable terrorizing! It must have been a world record.I still keep my hopes that one day this nation will wake up 100% before its really too late.Thank you.No nasty comments required.
    Last night’s voting was a cold blooded execution of our children .The only responsible ones are the 44% of the Greek voters themselves

  3. Greek Prime Minister to report to Berlin immediately to kneel and kiss his Fuhrers ring. Then strictly under the supervision of a German appointed Gauleiter his term of office may begin. He will be directed as to the correct and precise course of action and the total disembowelment of his country can begin in earnest. Germany will once again have her place in the sun having been stripped of her previous overseas territories by the treaty of Versailles in 1918.

  4. Fig syrup is laxative right? If so, i bet that ‘ll keep him out of the way…but I’m not so sure he will be…quiet.

  5. a) he isnt a PM yet and maybe he will never be
    b) his “victorious” speech was addressed not to the people but to the IMF & ECB
    All conclusions are yours.I am sure you watched the parade.

  6. I still find the whole con/lib coalition an anathema. Diametrically opposed ideals in power together. How would they ever agree on anything. I think just take away police outriders. Allowing the general public access to a passing prime minister would soon focus the mind on making sound judgements. Is that bloke with the nice haircut often seen standing near the prime minister doing anything these days? Whats his name? Kellog or something? You know the one. The bloke who thinks terrorists have the same rights as you and me. Whats his name? Pleb? Ahh yes, Clegg. Deputy PM my bum, I’d rather have Prescott, at least he was good for a laugh

  7. Meanwhile the G20 draft communique has been leaked, according to Reuters. It states that “Euro area countries agree to take all necessary measures to safeguard region’s integrity and stability. The eurozone is urged to find ways to break feedback loop between banks and sovereigns, and the eurozone to work closely with Greek government to ensure Greece remains on reform path and inside eurozone.” Wow! Inspirational! What a stunning plan!

  8. It is a very strange marriage of convenience only made possible by the dire economic position the UK has got itself into and the fact that David Cameron isn’t really a Conservative. Both parties are likely to pay a nasty price at the next election for this fraud on the voters. The likely defection of swathes of angry Tories to UKIP and of course the Liberal voters who feel completely betrayed by Clegg and his broken promises. Both the parties have opportunistic leaders of absolutely no conviction and no beliefs other then being in power for the sake of self enrichment. Hence its possible for them to work together for their own mutual benefit and gratification. They are both fully paid up members of Common Purpose which is probably the only thing they both truly believe in.

  9. @Sandy:
    You know it’s funny you should say that about the Police outriders because, there is a video on You Tube that shows Gaddafi (when alive) in Libya riding around the city hanging out of the sunroof of a 4×4 with no protection whatsoever. Clearly visible from the waist up.
    What other world leader can you think of that could do that in their own capital city with absolutely no protection?

  10. Of course Cameron can’t remember to keep his mouth shut, can he? He clearly demostrated his ‘poor’ memory when asked awkward questions at the Leveson of Lies fiasco.

  11. When our beloved Prince William married Kate they didn’t even have the confidence to drive their fathers vintage 7 litre Aston Martin open top sports car out of the palace, down the The Mall and into Clarence House without a Range Rover of heavies right behind. The journey cant be more then a few hundred yards and was lined with soldiers and policemen. Its not only the politicians who are shit scared of their own people.

  12. 1. L’ancien régime won the Greek elections.

    2. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will change there.

    3. The big “rich” countries are indebted far beyond the Maastricht limits.

    4. The credit markets will dry up for them as well as they run into more debt.

    5. The ESM is financed by – you may guess it – debt.

    6. Hence get out of European sovereign debt and get out of the euro; they are toxic.
    That is extremely interesting. What is to be a “European?” Having spent quite a few years in Greece, people there are culturally very similar to many others in European nations. They dress alike, desire the same sets of things (a peaceful, gentle life of dignity and prosperity). Crime and suicide rates are often lower in Greece than in many other countries. The banking system is modern and the economy is free. The democratic polity is so stable than not even this crisis could shake it. In religion, art, family size, life expectancy and healthcare, Greeks follow the European mean. Yes, there is de-industrialization and corruption, but most European countries feature similar stories. The only thing that is vastly different is the speed in which, to a traditionally poor country, money and wealth poured in.
    Well, I am beginning to think the price of any ‘economy’ is disaster in the long run.

    Human nature, which is stuck in primitive emotion and greed, does not cope well with power.

    Who gets run over in disasters?

    Those who are at the bottom and to some extent those who are in the middle.

    I’m glad there are those who want to ‘figure out’ solutions, corrections and fix the blame. But honestly, it all seems like spitting into the wind.

    When economies were based on agriculture, crops were bad every three years and failed completely every seven years, and all of the time the powerful went to war and wrecked havoc on the countryside.
    Greece is a victim of its own hubris. The Greek government thought that it could join the Euro-Zone without meeting the formal membership requirements and hired Goldman&Sachs to cook their books.

    Of course, the Euro-Zone in its current form is poorly constructed. But it is unfair to blame its architects. They clearly understood that the Euro-Zone had to politically unite for the project to work. As a matter of fact, they mainly saw the Euro as a political tool for forcing political unification on Europe. That this did not work is the fault of Chirac, Merkel and Sarkozy (and of course perpetual British resistance to the European project).

  13. So what will happen next? There are now some serious attempts at political union but they come too late and may not be far-reaching enough.

    So, yes, while your analysis is correct, your attempt to exculpate the Greeks is just another moralizing attempt to shift the blame. Everyone in Europe is a victim of bad decisions that were made in the past. And by this token everyone is also to blame.
    EEM, but as a financial translator in Paris for the past two decades, I have been following this story daily ever since the eurozone was formally announced.
    European leaders were warned time and time again of the inadequacy of monetary structures, usually by their American peers, but those concernrs were simply brushed off with clichés, which all boiled down to, “everything in good time”.
    But once European nations created the eurozone, time was no longer on the side of Europe: it had to act soon, otherwise it would be exposed to the next serious crisis. We’ve got that crisis now, and in spades.
    Krugman is spot on, and unless the Germans and its northern bloc partnes reject their Austrian School ideology and the southern countries make true reforms of their economies (starting with cutting the salaries of their many elected officials: 300 Greek MPs, each making €8,500 per month!!), the eurozone will die. I am currently in Spain, where German imposed austerity measures meant to pay down the national debt and boost the economy are only boosting unemployment, reducing GDP (-6% in last quarter of 2011) and reducing tax intake to pay debt. That is part of the reason for market demands for 7% yields on long-term Spanish bonds!
    As the vagrants say in New York City, it is time to wake up and smell … the concrete!
    international monetary specialist who had severe doubts about the monetary union and so he is obsessed with attributing Europe’s problems to the adoption of the euro. But the main problem, as in the U.S., was the deregulation of banking and finance, bubble formation and consequent collapse. Strangely this is not mentioned here, though Krugman is well aware of the problem. Any group of countries would be put into severe difficulties by such a collapse, whatever the monetary regime; and this has frequently happened in the past before the euro. The weakest countries, like Greece, and those with the biggest bubbles, like Spain, have the most difficulties. Reversion to separate currencies and central banks would solve some problems but others would arise – and had done so before the adoption of the euro. Fiscal and monetary reforms will be of little use if the financial system is allowed to run wild – another crash may be just around the corner no matter how many central banks there are in Europe.

  14. I wonder too…
    This comes at a specific point in time, where even the rabbits in Brussels outskirts are aware that Greek parties need just a little bit of breathing space.

  15. “(and of course perpetual British resistance to the European project).”
    You say that as if it’s a bad thing!

  16. I’ve come to the conclusion that the real issue with David Cameron is he’s inherently lazy. His education and excellent degree demostrate that he has an excellent brain, but rather than get down to the nitty gritty of planning, administration and the actual hardwork of leadership he prefers to retain ‘blue sky thinkers in shorts or mates from the city to do his thinking for him and then off loads on to ministers whilst he focusses on photo opportunities and sound bites. The embarrassing tosh advice he keeps spouting off to other countries is just another example. Its breaks my heart to be honest.

  17. I think David Cameron is a coward, just like Tony Blair et al. They had an opportunity to make a radical change for the good of the general public but chose to take the 30 pieces of silver instead.

  18. @mark. ” Its not only the politicians who are shit scared of their own people.”. The trouble is that our own people have been infiltrated by others who wish us only harm.
    I agree though that wall to wall police and soldiery should have been enough. I’ve noticed that even the lovely old Oxford Cambridge Boat Race is preceded these days by two rafts of SWAT team heavies poncing up the river at full throttle in riot gear. What’s that all about?

  19. If Greece is broke, where is all the money coming from to buy all those flags?

    There’ll never be a hard landing in China at this rate just as I predicted!

  20. +1

    Though I must confess to having at least 30 pieces of silver within arms length of me now. ;-}

  21. Actually, I can’t help wondering if there’s a briefing folder on the desk in Number 10 when a new chap takes over, with a Post-It note on the front; “Read this! All of it! Then go off for a strong drink and a bit of a cry. Once you get it out of your system, Mr. Prime Minister, we’ll let you know what we want you to do first!”

  22. @ laurence Please may I suggest just a little more patience !! Lets wait until France and Germany and the Sprouts attempt to impose an EU wide Financial Transaction Tax against the UK’s express vetos…..Now Hollande has his socialist parliament and Merkel needs to get the Fiskal Pact and Bale Out deals through a 2/3 majority(Socialists and Greens) in her German parliament by the end of this month, I’d guess that a FTT could become a major issue quite shortly. (Unless, of course, Greece goes for Election Mk3 and Spainish bonds hit 9-10%+). A move like that would be a loss of our Sovereignty and right to choose how we regulate the City of London and should be enough to trigger a Referendum.

    Waiting for the report back on Spanish Bank Black Holes by the end of this month might also be handy to help the Euro Skeptical camp’s case. So while I think that the time is near… (this Autumn mebbe?) to make DC stick to his word on a UK EU membership Referendum……(even if the Lib Dems totally throw their rattle out of the pram)….I’d give it a few more weeks before we get a real groundswell of UK opinion starting to realse that what happens in Europe and the EZ will seriously affect all of us in the UK too! There still seems to be a common opinion here that (as 70 years ago) the English Channel will ‘save us’ from the evils in Europe …Personally I’m not convinced !

  23. How would he know? He has had no experience of real life, never had to make a payroll, never had to worry about a mortgage payment. Most European politicians these days are the same: a cossetted class of people not good enough to work as lawyers in a firm so they write laws and make work for themselves and their mates. Priviledged without accountability.

  24. Well said Rita, a girl/man/person after my own heart, especially when clicking on your name takes me to a non existent website ;-)

    Not that that should detract from either of your posts.

  25. @sandysview

    “Diametrically opposed ideals in power together.” Where on Earth do you get that idea from? There is not a fag paper between the New Social Democratic Conservative Party, LibDems or even Labour. They all have much the same policies, only differing in how to implement them. They ALL stand for big government, high tax, big spending, big welfare, ever growing regulation, social engineering and redistribution of wealth from us to them. You only have to watch what they do and never make the mistake of listening to what they say if you are interested in reality.

  26. “As a matter of fact, they mainly saw the Euro as a political tool for forcing political unification on Europe.”

    And therein lies the fundamental problem, political union has to be “forced” onto Europe.
    The euro can only work if there is complete economical centralisation …
    that will only happen with political unification ….
    if that has to be forced…..

    “But it is unfair to blame its architects…..”
    No, it is perfectly fair to blame them for proposing and implementing a structure that relied, for its ultimate success, on “forcing” something. To me that shows a lack of imagination, hubris and arrogance.

    The only thing they should be credited with is at least they had a vision –
    flawed as it was/is – which is ten times more than today`s leaders have.

  27. I really do not understand the coverage on the media carring on about how New Democracy won the Greek elections. Just looking at the numbers shows that New Democracy needs Pasok and the super boost to get a majority ( whether it is workable or not is another question). Then they need to get Golden Dawn onboard to bolster the numbers or really, to convince Syriza to join.Even then it needs to be pointed out that 52% of the votes went to parties opposing the bail-out package.
    Syriza has confirmed that it is going into opposition and PASOK’s position appears to be that it will not join a coalition unless Syriza is a part of it. Looks loke a ‘Mexican Standoff’ to me. Maybe PASOK can be bribed enough to join the coalition though this will probably mean its demise.
    In all probability it looks like another election in six weeks time, though I am probably missing something fundamental here as I have just heard a reporter announce that a coalition will be announced within 24 hrs.

    As the iconoic Bill Lawry was wont to say “It’s all happening here….!!!!!

  28. Did I mention before this would all end in tears? I’m sure JW did, but if memory fails me, apologies to all. The venal one has told Samaris that he must call a meeting of party leaders under President Karolos Papoulias tomorrow to form a coalition. I think we have been here once before.

  29. Just spotted a report in Athens News (live blog) about a ND woman trying to switch voting papers at a polling station.
    Should give those of a `conspiracy theory` mentality something to chew on.

  30. @laurence. I share your frustration but we both know, because history shows us, that any referendum on EU membership would be repeated until they got the vote they wanted.
    And the campaign of fear they engaged in to get the Greek voter onside would be repeated here.
    While so few of us take an active interest, and bloody revolution is not an option, the EU is here to stay – until the markets chop the legs from under it.

  31. It’s the Ministry of Culture & Sports. Poldo (Venizeloz) was the minister. There is a vice-minister responsible for the Sports section.

  32. Spain is also inherently weak, notwithstanding the endless comments by its government to the contrary. Just look at the facts.

  33. Oldasia – You have just hit the nail roundly on the head with that post. Modern politics has evolved a ghastly professional remote and out of touch political class. Public school, University, Political Advisor or some sort of political lobby role, then Member of Parliament followed by a seat in the Cabinet. That seems to be the career path of about 95% of them. Whatever happens in a General Election the political class (all Common purpose to a man) always wins.

  34. @Morvan

    Indeed they are, and in all truth have been since the WW2 post war social democratic consensus. All governments since then, including Margaret Thatcher’s, have produced bigger government (de-nationalisation doesn’t really count as Industry was not truly a part of government), bigger welfare, greater regulation and positively revelled in social engineering and redistribution of wealth. Admittedly that redistribution was to us as well as ‘them’, the political class and banks, for part of that time, the sixties and seventies in the main, ‘we’ had an increase in disposable income (wealth). The 90s saw us fall out of the redistribution flow, while retaining what gains we had made in the past much of the new ‘disposable national profit’ went to feed the welfare machine with the rest going to the political elite and the banks while we now see our accumulated wealth being redistributed from us. Our disposable income shrinks to maintain ‘their’ growth.

  35. Exactly, and as an (un)civil servant, I and some of my colleagues, whatever people on here may think, do try and inject some common sense into this….

    However these days Ministers are a law unto themselves…

    I fully agree with Oldasiahand, that so many at the top, have no real idea of what happens, and this applies to all parts of the political spectrum, and I’d fully agree with his comments.

    I’ve been to a meeting today, which confirmed all of these points…

  36. @sandysview

    “I get it from what I know to be true. I did a thing on who is in charge. An examination of what people think the leaders think and/or believe and why that matters not a jot”

    Sorry, but from my point of view your analysis pertained to the situation pre 1950. Since then we have had three social democrat political parties that ALL stand for big government, high tax, big spending, big welfare, big regulation, authoritarianism (‘a little bit of a police state is a good thing’ attitude), social engineering and redistribution of wealth, in essence the same policies. They differ in emphasis and in how to achieve those policies, but ultimately they are the same.

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