Euroblown: heading for the last round-up

The triumph of bollocks over expectation

This afternoon, Mario Draghi spoke his mind, but his mind complained that it wasn’t ready. Thus most observers were left baffled as to what it was that would be doing Whatever It Takes, or indeed by when and for whom. However, Berlin would veto whatever was suggested, but all their differences would be ironed out in the end. Earlier, Wolfgang Schäuble had ironed Francois Hollande thoroughly, and the eurozone leaders will be enjoying him later as a pancake with maple syrup. Signor Draghi said “Believe me” on a number of occasions, but it’s hard to believe what you can’t fathom. The ECB Chairman ended by saying that, “If the europhiles should last for a thousand years, people will say this was their Final Hour”.

Zero Hedge, meanwhile, reckons that Germany’s real debt to gdp ratio is 300%, or perhaps it was the jet to DDT ratio, I’m not entirely sure. All the numbers just seem to run into each other now, in a stream of dissonance. The best example of this is the scores given by Standard & Poors, who would give a credit rating to two flies crawling up a window if you asked them to. Three days ago S&P forecast that local government borrowing in Europe would surge, roughly akin to putting your neck on the line about Greece defaulting one day. But having said that, the ratings agency confirmed a ‘AA+/A-1+’ score for the French Unemployment Benefit budget: not so much a hostage to fortune as a homage to prestidigitation.

The same day, two Italian regions were given BBB+ ratings based on ‘sound budgeting’ – a fiscal event that clearly passed the rest of us by – and then the following morning the Italian town of Florence was briefly given a BBB+, which was hastily withdrawn because of ‘a negative outlook on the sovereign’. I understand that Florence Nightingale will get a C-B+ (-) D at some stage because of her negative outlook for survival. I myself will be happy with DDD—E (+) on the grounds of a generally negative outlook on life.

The outlook in Greece, meanwhile, is for a short fall. If you’re Evangelo Venizelos, it’s a short fall to the ground from any part of your body, as most parts of this man are horizontally aligned in a manner guaranteed to break a fall rather than a limb. But more seriously, the Troika is coming round to the view that the Athens Coalition is miles off target in its repayment reform and rentrenchment schedules…the ‘Three Rs’. My problem is that, much as I love the Greek people who have been so good to me for forty or more years, I can’t take any of this seriously any more. How can one take a bunch of Brussels clowns seriously when they eschew any form of debt forgiveness, and thus wind up costing the european taxpayer five times as much to achieve ten times less?

Anyway, I leave you with this gobble-dy-gook: “The euro is irreversible,” Mario Draghi said at one point oday, and ‘therefore’  his ECB will “undertake outright open market operations of a size adequate to reach its objective.” It is very rare for any Italian to be happy with a vehicle that has no reverse gear at all. But to use such a vehicle in an adequately outright way to reach an objective, well – what can I say? This really does represent somebody doing whatever it takes.