Sarkozy is an ill-mannered idiot, but then, a good mind is hard to find in today’s EU climate.
Lots of people took offence in Brussels on Wednesday. Sarko took offence at Cameron’s interfering in the Franco-German club, Cameron and most of the British press took offence at Sarko’s childish look-away handshake for the PM, and Berlusconi took offence at everyone giggling as the Italian Parliament took part in some unscheduled all-in wrestling. Ah yes, this happy breed of puffed-up peacocks and hare-brained spenders.
Draper Osborne has retrurned to assure the UK media that substantial progress has been made, when it clearly hasn’t. In that context, I have a very simple conundrum to put to those who unswervingly support bourse-financed globalism: given my last post of yesterday, and its presentation of seven reasons why the EZ ‘deal’ is a con, what do the positive reactions of the media and markets tell us? Is it (a) they’re all stupid; (b) they represent interests who want the gravity of the situation played down; and/or (c) the markets are simply directionalised for the benefit of the usual gannets?
I present this choice rhetorically, because I think the answer is a combo of (a) and (c); and that leaves anyone with an open mind having to think seriously about who is running and reporting upon this system to which there is, allegedly, no alternative.
So what’s the evidence is favour of my assertion?
As to the media, the stupidity has a track record stretching right back to 2004. With some very honourable exceptions like Evans-Pritchard at the Torygraph and Wolfgang Munchau at the FT, even the quality press has b0ught the bollocks without much discernment. Only the Daily Mail among the tabloids has questioned the fiscal madness, but the problem with the Wail is that 90% of its stories don’t check out – and they seem unable to escape the conviction that all economic failure is the direct result of foreigners.
Traders in front of their screens and merchant/investment bankers over lunch are, in my disappointingly long experience, people almost completely devoid of logic, common sense, foresight or ethics. I once met a very bright bloke at 3i, from whom I borrowed £100K to start a business. I once had lunch with a chap from Cazenove whom I thought both smart and personable. And I know one person at Goldman who seems both clever and decent. That’s it. So the naively lazy response to every bit of risible spin put out by the US Fed or the EU donkeys doesn’t surprise me at all.
Above these drones (in the banking/bourse/investment/credit axis) are, however, some very bright but horribly warped people. As every inquiry, revelation and court case since 2008 has demonstrated with alarming consistency, like most species of shark they will kill anything in order to eat – and each other if necessary. They must keep moving – or die in the glare of anyone daring to suggest that a sizeable proportion of them are simply Elmer Gantrys, oozing righteousness while engaging in every manner of scheme they can dream up to empty the pockets of the 93% of folks not in their club.
In short, every stock market in the world is bent, directionalised, and inherently unstable. But it is the media failure that, somehow, I find most disturbing. Take this extract from today’s FT:
‘China is very likely to contribute to the eurozone’s bail-out fund but….Any Chinese support would depend on contributions from other countries, and Beijing must be given strong guarantees on the safety of its investment.’
Two considerations immediately occur to the person with a functioning mind: the Chinese have said this many times in the past, but done nothing in the end; and given the shaky, woffly nature of yesterday’s EZ ‘deal’, there are unlikely to be enough guarantees to satisfy Beijing…the Chinese being pretty bright on the whole.
But no, the FT gushes on about how the signs are positive, and Sarkozy is already on the case.
Eurocrats and Europols are in turn unable to grasp commercial realities, because in almost every case they are academics, professional pols, pen-pushers or just low-life on the make. The idea that a gargoyle like Silvio Berlusconi is running the EU’s 3rd biggest economy tells you more about the eurozone than any credit rating ever could. Sarkozy left yesterday’s ‘triumph’ grinning from ear to ear, and was reported later to have assured an aide that “France is now safe once again”. If he truly thinks that (and I suspect he does) then frankly, I’d rather give Carla Bruni a crack at the problem.
As for the real ratings agencies, I find the criticism of them entirely predictable. I am trying to keep a tally of how many articles, politicians or Brussels Sprouts have declared that, once the crisis is ‘over’, the role of such organisations should be narrowed/controlled/restricted and so forth. Ja, ve vill not be allowink any of zese truth accidents in ze future, nicht wahr?
‘Markets bask in bailout glow’ leads the Guardian this morning. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. I remain in search of competent empiricism, but it is indeed a long Slog.