smokesigsNext stop, Portugal. Senior employees of JP Morgan are piling into Lisbon bigtime. Their job? Helping expats and the other Portuguese who really need to make advance plans about getting their savings and occasionally ill-gotten gains out of Portobanks and offshore.

The Great Portuguese bailin, they think, is imminent.

Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva rejected the plan to heal a government rift yesterday, igniting what critics called a “time bomb” by calling for early elections next year. The Lisbon Stock market fell 1.7%, and 10-year bond yields climbed eight basis points to 6.97%.

The false confidence of crowds. Word reaches me that the Conservatives are now so confident UK construction growth and property prices can be their Get out of Jail Free card  in 2015, more manipulations and elector bribes are planned to give voters a strong feelgood emotion. The cynical relaxing of building regs (and secretly ignoring every planning rule in the book) has created falling unemployment in the building industry – a story Cameron never tires of talking about at the Despatch Box.

Then last year, up popped George Osborne – in the midst of ‘austerity’ – and spent taxpayer money on giving young people Help to Buy houses. Young people should get that help bigtime and without using our money by this ridiculously overbought market being adjusted downwards by market forces….you know, those things the Tories say must always be obeyed – except when it disturbs their reelection chances. But a proper 30% drop in house prices would make the Coalition hugely unpopular…so the Draper opts instead for an inflationary policy that will leave these aspirant kids in negative equity once the Tsunami hits…..and then rates rise.

Either way, a loose task force has been assembled for more ‘bright ideas’, because so far the results are indeed very good in the polls: 52% of people now expect house prices to rise over the next year, with just 12% predicting a fall, a Halifax survey said today. It’s the last thing the economy needs of course, but let’s not concern ourselves with that.

Merkel’s barmy anti-nuclear stance begins to unstick. You’ll be unsurprised to learn we’re back in the world of Wind bollocks.

Germany plans to build 60,000 new wind turbines — in forests, in the foothills of the Alps and even in protected environmental areas. As willing as  British Greens to ignore the practicalities of a modern economy and the hopeless inefficiency of these post-modern windmills, with Teutonic drive Merkel is ploughing ahead with her ploy to drag in idealistic young voters. However – surprise, surprise – the German media are beginning to run stories like the Slogpost of earlier this week about skyrocketing replacement and maintenance costs. And as ever, conservationism plus the Nimby Syndrome look set to chuck a spanner into Geli’s Blitzkrieg.

Spiegel reports today that ‘Germany’s determination to phase out nuclear power is in danger’. Just a couple of nasty slips in the Great European Project now – with support for AfD growing – and bingo: former Stasi admirer and fridge magnet Angela Merkel could find herself in a degree of trouble come September’s election.

Last night at The Slog: Why I’ve got the Reds v Blues