GREEK AUSTERITY LATEST: Austerity vote will be carried, but doubts grow about details, asset sales

Hysterical Domesday propaganda masks the real tragedy

While there seemed to be general media agreement this morning that Greece’s austerity package will not be voted down by Deputies in Athens, sources both in Greece and among credit suppliers are of the view that some of the detail will be rejected. There are also growing signs among lenders that cutting losses now would be preferable to what the EU is attempting to achieve.

“I’ve been told that the ruling Party will nick it,” said one late yesterday, “but there are some bits of it that will fail, without a doubt. There is a long, long way to go on this yet”.

“Part of me would like the package to be voted down,” said another, “this is a stay of execution, not a pardon”. Sources close to a major Swiss creditor also told the Slog that there was little faith among professionals that Greece could survive.

Meanwhile, the scare-mongering media assault has gone into hysterical overdrive. ‘Greece faces suicide vote on austerity’ warned the FT’s main front page headline; the ‘suicide’ bollocks was extracted from Greece’s central bank governor, George Provopoulos, who has been quoted as saying “For parliament to vote against this package would be a crime. The country would be voting for its suicide.” Suicide is obviously still a crime in Greece. And voting against what the EU wants is about to be.

Ollie Rehn was also turning the screw from Brussels: “The only way to avoid immediate default is for parliament to endorse the revised economic programme … must be approved if the next tranche of financial assistance is to be released,” he said in a statement, “there is no Plan B to avoid default”. Are we all clear on this one now? The Conservative Opposition in Athens, however, takes an entirely different view – which happens to coincide with mine. Antonis Samaras reiterated his objections:

“This policy is wrong, it has exhausted the Greek people and Greek society,” he told parliament. “If we perpetuate this mistaken policy we will only make things worse, both for Greece and for Europe.”

However, it’s time to welcome Queen Christine back into the melee, albeit at three seconds to midnight. The new IMF boss – you read it here first – said she hoped the Greek people would unite on the austerity issue. I think quite a lot of us wish for that Mme. Lagarde, except perhaps not in the way you mean. As we have seen here many times before, Christine Lagarde is an idiot. And Richard Blackden airs her lack of experience with unconscious humour in the Telegraph this morning (my italics):

‘The first and least troublesome [issue] is some inevitable concern within the IMF that she’s not an economist.’

Blackden has a point: compared to the factory-fitted idiocy, Christine’s inexperience probably doesn’t count. You really could not make this up.

Following The Slog’s analysis of Greek assets last week, several mainstream media have repeated my point: it’s a fire sale, and so the prices will reflect that; and there is little appetite out there at the moment for buying assets, let alone Greek assets.

I stick with what I’ve asserted all along about this madness: Greece will not get the assets away, and will not be able to keep up with the new restructuring. Further, once it becomes clear to the Greek people that they have sold their sovereignty in order to prop up three French and two German banks – and Wall Street CDO insurers – there will be hell to pay. And finally, we have at least another four of these collapses to go through yet.

We are about to find out just how gluttonous the EU’s citizens are for this kind of obscene punishment.