Homage to Catatonia

It’s only a matter of time before the German tabloid press runs a story showing that the Troika has discovered a hitherto hidden €730bn debt owed by Greece to the Martian Tourist Board. Oh those wicked, obese greasy Greeks with the fat bellies under string vests, doing their exhibitionist Zorba dancing when they should be working 13 days an hour – what are we to do with them?

The Troikanauts snuck out a release at the weekend claiming the real 2012/13 budget shortfall was likely to be be €20bn, not 12.7bn. Bild then raised Spiegel another €10bn. “Greece faces a financing gap that won’t be solved by budget measures being discussed because a weak economy and delayed privatisations have worsened its fiscal situation,” International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde helpfully observed. Actually, Greece faces a financing gap that could not be solved even by an economy growing at 6% per annum duckie, because Greece is dead: it’s just that being a thick French tart, you hadn’t noticed. Also you created the debt rollovers by blanking out default from the Lexicon of choices, Chrissie. Also your austere growth strategy created the weak economy, my little former lawyer who knows less than a licked stamp about economics.

News reaches me here in Sloggers’ Roost that Berlin has been secretly feeding Monsanto NK630 to Spanish bonds, in a bid to get their yield levels lower. But this is a vain ploy: although Madrid 10-yrs now have the highest resistance to Roundup on the planet, they’re still the stuff Mario Draghi uses when responding to a call of nature.

But the Spaniards remain ahead of the curve when it comes to cunning economic planning. Their idea is to create their own bailout, by skinning the populace down to the bone, before they need to ask for an EU version. This is a great scheme, because it means they can old off Brussels almost indefinitely, using the time to find their own debt holes, create their own fall-off in tax receipts, and their own austerity until they have to turn round and ask for the EU model. By then, of course, the requests will be emanating from several independent Iberian States. The negotiations will also, I’d imagine, be hampered by the existence of a full-scale civil war in the region.

Meanwhile, back in the cradle of nursery economic thinking, new figures from Greece do actually show a hitherto unspotted debt of €200bn. But this time, it’s owed by the small business sector to the State…and it has nothing to do with tax evasion: every cent of it has been acquired since the Milton Keynes economic strategy was introduced by the Troika, in association with surviving geriatric centagenarians in Berlin still able to remember the 1923 Weimar hyperinflation, but not who they are.

“We have looked very closely at the figures involved here,” Mme Lafarge did not say – but give her a few days, and she will, “and our conclusion is as certain as I was two years ago that French banks are impregnable. It is this: Greece’s small businessmen are deliberately refusing to become German like all good eurozone citizens must except we French because they are small-minded and that is why they only have small businesses and sub-atomic sized willies. Big businessmen are being far more sensible, and fleeing the country to buy expensive condos in Paris instead, because they know that Parisiens are the most sophisticated and civilised people in the Universe. I can see the nurse approaching, and so I must now sign off and take my daily dose of Monsanto NK630.”

Here on planet Earth, the dramatic drop in SME turnover, the extraordinarily high business taxes, and reduced access to bank loans are the genuine culprits in Greece. Add to this is the small matter of most SMEs being flat broke, and you wind up with an unpaid bill of €200bn. Once upon a time, well within living memory, the entire Greek debt was just €20bn more than that. But then the masterminds from Berlin-am-Brussels got involved, and the rest is mystery.

“We are ruled by clocks, liars and fools,” remarked GK Chesterton almost a century ago. He must be giggling in his grave.

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