There is a point after which, having been exposed to variously conflicting and contradictory data for too long, one gets a sort of snow-blindness.
Jean-Claude Trichet today said the EU economy is on an increasingly sound footing, so there will be no more rate rises. This flatly contradicts his dire warnings of rate explosion from March this year. In turn, it also doesn’t entirely mesh with top euro-zone policy maker Jean-Claude Juncker, who suggested this afternoon that the IMF may withhold its payment next month on Greece’s €110 billion bailout, because its own lending rules would forbid chucking good money after bad. If that’s a sound footing, I’d hate to hear Trichet’s definition of a sprained ankle.
Also today (it was a very full day) G8 leaders saw a global turnaround, and were thus working on an ambitious aid programme for “Arab Spring” countries. This was in stark contrast to a distinct cooling in US consumption and UK output, and the poor US unemployment and foreclosure data in turn provided an equally black background to exponential rises in US corporate profits. Having been baffled and vaguely amused by the idea of a jobless recovery, I now find myself flabbergasted by the prospect of a highly profitable dust-bowl era ahead. My only way out of this is to suggest that the Bourbon elite is on course to produce global wealth inequities to vastly exceed anything that ancien regime France could offer. This is not as fanciful as it sounds.
Meanwhile, William Hague thinks Gadaffi should be treated as a war criminal, whereas Nicolas Sarkozy says all options are open if the old madman steps down quickly. David Cameron said Britain was in for the Afghanistan long haul in February, but now demands a faster withdrawal programme from the military in May. He wants cuts, cuts and more cuts, plus the freedom to bomb Libya and send in helicopters to support rebel ground-forces. Just like the jobless recovery, the Prime Minister may become the first Leader in history to launch the squaddieless invasion.
What does it all mean? Poor communications leading to several possible interpretations? Profound stupidity? Delusional denial? The answer is probably a mixture of all of these factors.
But it is an irony, is it not, that with more news coverage than at any time in history, and a plethora of round-the-clock news stations available via more apertures than even our parents might have imagined, there is so much confusion….and we are further away from accurate, objective truth than ever.
I have a niece in San Francisco, and every time I write something vaguely off the wall, she writes to ask if I have been at the 12 year-old meths again. So it was with the comment threaders after last night’s At the End of the Day was posted.
I’m afraid that all Sloggers must accept my mind as one that is intrinsically altered, and requires no injection of alcohol or other substances in order to shoot off at unpredictable tangents. My abiding belief is that The Slog at his maddest is infinitely more sane than those who regard themselves as ‘in charge’ of our world.