Despite another media snowjob from Berlin, it is clear that without massive debt relief there will be no IMF participation in Bailout 3. But do Christine Lagarde’s doubts go even deeper?
Some of you may have noticed this, most of you won’t….which is, I suppose, The Slog’s raison d’être – if one is still deemed to exist – viz? the spotting of bollocks zipping under the radar.
Here are my three verifiable observations on the latest Greek Marathon:
- The vast majority of ‘mainstream’ Western media seem convinced that a deal has been signed and ratified to produce Greek bailout 3 – which isn’t a bailout, just further punishment, but park that for a minute. In fact, they are quite wrong: although the final, final, final Bundestag vote will probably approve it next Wednesday, THE IMF WILL NOT BE INVOLVED.
- For the last (roughly) ten days, the completely unofficial and unconstitutional eurogrope has been putting its spinners to work on – you have to admit it – an amazing job of introducing yet more tweaks, problems and sticking points to keep the emphasis 100% on Greek compliance. At times, when the huge IMF mammoth in the room has been raised by someone, releases go out saying that Christine Lagarde has been mollified by pushing back the time period of the debt. Yesterday, Lagarde scotched that once and for all. THE IMF IS NOT INVOLVED IN BAILOUT 3.
- Every time I have posted or tweeted this reality, swarms of know-alls have arrived to tell me I have alles falsch gegotten, and why don’t I keep abreast of events, Gott in Himmel. It’s official: THE IMF PLANS TO REVIEW FURTHER INVOLVEMENT IN OCTOBER, BUT IT IS NOT TAKING PART IN BAILOUT 3.
The vastly improved Guardian newspaper (do enjoy your retirement, Alan) pointed this out in an excellent piece at 20.37 CET yesterday; and at 20:40 pm – three minutes behind but infinitely more definitive and outspoken – the indefatigable Frances Coppola did the same in a contribution at Forbes.
So as the eurogrope Greek protection racket swings the baseball bat once more for luck, I can confirm yet again that this is NOT an official Troika extortion. By all means call it something else – a duodenal ulcer? a duet? Tryannosaurus Duopolous? – but be in no doubt: this time, only two prongs are poking the Athenian buttock.
In reality, there are I suspect two factors inside Mme Lagarde’s head. First, she doesn’t believe either Berlin or its invented creature eurogrope want debt relief, they want Greek assets and sovereignty on a plate, so they can carpetbag the former, and toss the latter out of the eurozone when it suits them: it took Frufru a long time to get there, but better late than never. (To be fair to Chrissie, it took Syriza a long time to grasp this too).
Second however – and perhaps infinitely more disturbing, but predictable – through her still extant connections, Lagarde is party to where most of the bodies are in the EU. She knows how dire things are. And she’s not in the business of throwing even worse money after bad. She may well feel (perhaps she has been told) that IMF money could be put to better use elsewhere. She is probably also aware that Alexis Tsipras has already told the Greek Parliament’s speaker that he wants to book a Confidence Motion at the earliest opportunity.
In the meantime, I remain dejected and angry at the average Anglo-Brit’s willingness to insist on continuing to see this blatantly corrupt heist as something the crooked, lazy Greeks had coming. “Lassen-Sie nach Athens gehen” is what I tend to suggest. Well, that and “f**k off until you’ve read rather more about the timelines, players and medium-term history of all this, you morons”.