Germany: beware of being the pomp in Pompeii
The German population found itself last night in ignorance of the Madrid anti-austerity violence during the day. Neither of the public service TV broadcasters ARD & ZDF reported any riots in Spain during their evening news bulletins. We have no choice, in this specific context, but to rephrase ‘public service’ as ‘State’. Lest anyone might think I’m blowing that blatant censorship out of proportion, ARD is the second biggest television broadcaster in the world after the BBC.
I think we are entitled to ask today what the Hell is going on in the eurozone. For one thing is becoming horribly obvious: outcomes one thought suitable for satirical parody in the morning become fact before the day is done. I refer, of course, to the rapidly approaching socio-economic anarchy in Spain.
In a bid to appease his wacky wannabe masters, Spanish economy minister Luis de Guindos claimed this morning that his fiscal reform plans exceeded the recommendations of the EU. The site Seeking Alpha opined that the boast ‘is an important one as it means Spain can submit to a bailout without having to go through the politically difficult route of accepting EU conditions’.
Sure enough, the de Guindos Spanish austerity plan got a massive thumbs-up from Brussels. EU economic chief and Shark’s Finn Olli Rehn called it “concrete, ambitious, and well-focused,” proudly noting that it followed the recommendations made by the European Commission earlier this year to the letter. Seeking Alpha again suggested that ‘his words suggest Spain can submit to a bailout without needing to agree to any more reforms than it’s already imposed on itself’. This morning, I had posted this in jest:
‘But the Spaniards remain ahead of the curve when it comes to cunning economic planning. Their idea is to create their own bailout, by skinning the populace down to the bone, before they need to ask for an EU version.’
What can I say to the many Spanish Sloggers who come here regularly, beyond, “When Olli Rehn approves your economic strategy, be very, very afraid indeed”? Not a lot, I fancy.
If only Rajoy and the other folks in Madrid could avoid Greece’s mistake, and realise one irrefutable fact: they are giving in to a self-styled Herrenvolk internally divided to a degree that goes far beyond a joke.
A leadership elite in Germany united behind the goal of lifting the eurozone out of its image as a blundering Brussels bollocks bunion would be – whatever the rest of us think about the prospect – unstoppable as a force. But the reality posted over and over ad nauseam at The Slog is that the eurozone impasse is insoluble as long as three deep divisions continue: that between Germany and France, that between Berlin and the Bankfurters, and that between the Bundesbank and the ECB.
Yet there is something about ClubMed politicians – an odd combination of deep-seated cultural insecurity and gravy-train greed – that blinds them to their real power to do good for genuine liberty and democracy.
On a more global basis, dissent continues to sour relations between Brussels, Frankfurt and Washington about the sustainability of the Greek debt, and within the Troika itself about which of them should bear the most weight of the elephant in the negotiating room: the European Central Bank, the eurozone member States, or the International Monetary Fund. These three brass monkeys in turn are as blind to the concept of debt forgiveness as Clubmedders are deaf to the roar of power galloping their way as a result of mineral and energy wealth discovered in their territorial waters.
I confess to being baffled by the wooden analyses of the southern Europeans. And equally, I admit to having my suspicions about exactly what grubby bribery might be going on between predator hawks and depraved rats behind the scenes. But as to the result, I have no doubts at all: any smart-arsed conspirators north of Alsace who think they can control this bubbling magma are tragically deluded. Divide And Rule may be a sound policy on paper, but volcanic explosions overwhelm a million smug Pompeians.