Number 9 is Portugal. I love Portugal, but it has a debt that stands at 360% of gdp. So it really isn’t a viable eurozone member. I watched and listened – my jaw heading towards the carpet – three months ago as Fiskalunion FinMin Wannabe Führer Wolfgang Schäuble talked about the “tremendous revival” of Portugal’s economic fortunes: by which (I assume) he meant that it was costing the ECB a fortune to keep it upright by buying debt bonds.

Bu if we take even a cursory look at the smaller of the two Iberian States, it’s not hard to see the country is on the ropes: Portugal’s biggest lender Banco Espirito Santo cost €5bn to rescue, and so far non-performing loans are up by a worrying 13% – that’s one in eight. All the pots where the pensions and welfare used to be were emptied years ago, and the IMF (increasingly Devil’s Advocate these days) has profound doubts about any Lisbon Goverment being able to pass the programme of cuts Troikanauts are already demanding. Indeed, the Left anti-austerity Parties look almost certain win a parliamentary majority in October. Party leader Antonio Costa says he will reverse creditor-imposed reforms wipe away forever “this obsession with austerity”.

Looking at this chart, one can see Costa’s point:

clubmedgdpsIf you were setting out to prove what a load of old cock the austerity ‘policy’ is, then this one does the job in one go. Note how the country that has received the most ‘help’ from our austere friends in Brussels-am-Berlin has seen 40% wiped off its gdp in six years. But even Portugal (over that same period) has seen a net loss of 10% – only improving after it left ‘the programme’ – with its debt getting bigger and bigger.

Of course, the technical term ‘old cock’ is based upon the presupposition that the idea of austerity in the first place was to get ClubMed out of trouble – whereas we now know that eurogrope doesn’t GAF about the economies of ClubMed, it wants control over the members of it. Germany in particular doesn’t care because its trade with countries outside the EU has grown exponentially in the last few years….thanks to a cheap euro, kept that way by permanent crisis in ClubMed. It’s not a situation designed to make the victors want to “help”, is it?

Well, we’ve been here before, but the Portuguese are forewarned in the light of eurogrope’s strangulation of Syriza in Greece. And at roughly the same time later this year, the gropers will have Spain to deal with. Wolfie himself, meanwhile, is getting tumescent at the thought of taking on France.

Britain is not in the euro. Given the mess it’s in, only Blair and Mandelson still want to be in it.

Now imagine Britain had never joined the EU. Do you think we’d want to join it today? Of course we wouldn’t. Something worth remembering, I think, as we get closer to June 2016.

€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€

As I’ve posted before about eurogrope, it is an informal gathering within the EU; it answers to nobody (no change there) and has no legal right to exist as a decision-making body whatsoever. Yet the very presence of Herr Doktor Wolfgang Stranglelove in its midst is enough to confer power upon it……..and power is all that counts in the European Bunion.

Now it transpires that this Troika2 gathering in turn has the power to hire consultants using EU taxpayers’ money, but without any permission as such. These consultants in turn use taxpayers’ money to employ sub-contractors…again, with no budgetary control at all.

At the first level, Alvarez and Marsal, BlackRock, Oliver Wyman, and Pimco constructed all the eurozone bailouts. The invoices received and paid by the EU to date exceed €80 million. Public tenders are rarely if ever involved in the award of these contracts; often there are potential conflicts of interest involving links to investment funds and other financial service providers. And the subcontractors they hire in turn almost always include one or more of the “Big Four” accountancy companies – Deloitte, Ernst&Young, KPMG and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

So what we have here is just eight suppliers with their fingers in an enormous pie: paid for by us, but accountable to nobody….having themselves been hired by organisations with no legal status inside the EU.

Small wonder, therefore, that none of these companies has been prepared to audit the EU’s accounts for the last twenty years. One simply can’t imagine why.

€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€

Send these posts – and others collected at the Dedicated 100 Reasons to leave the EU page – to your local MPs. Demand an answer as to how they feel about these self-styled, hugely expensive centres of illegally acquired power. See if they can give you a straight answer about why staying in the EU would be a good idea.

Earlier at The Slog: Why this issue is far too important to leave to Nigel Farage