Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Are they mad or just insane? Surprise as the Greek nation agrees to come quietly - or rather incredulity, Dom Strauss Kahn is revealed as pimping Mr Big (allegedly – I’m not daft) and will the real Angela Merkel please stand up (according to yet another group of conspiracy theorists)

I’m sorry if I’m behaving like a dog with a bone, but the more I consider the ‘crisis in Greece’ and various ‘solutions’, the more I think that an awful lot of people have seriously taken leave of their senses. According to the Financial Times, which I don’t think anyone would regard as sensationalist, the list of EU demands of Greece in order to qualify for its bailout includes a change to its constitution to ensure paying off its debts the top priority of any government of whichever hue. The Greeks are also being asked to agree to a permanent team of ‘monitors’ based in Athens to ensure they – well, the only way it can realistically be described it to ‘do as they are told’. And they will not get one cent of bailout money until the austerity package agreed last week is actually seen to have been put into practice.
I know I am running the risk of being thought racist and could well find myself up before a magistrates court if a clever Crown Prosecution Service were dyspeptic enough to get me charged with something like ‘racism’, but for Christ’s sake, we are dealing with a proud nation of hotheads here, not a gang of dull Dutchmen or catatonic Scandanavians who could hardly be enthused to riot in a month of Sundays. It’s all very well for Greece’s politicians to agree to bend over and take it up the arse if that’s what’s necessary (an apt metaphor as it happens as I am writing about Greece), but that leaves the Greek people completely out of the equation. Does anyone reading this or anyone living high on the hog in Brussels honestly think that, fingers crossed, the EU might well see this one through? Does anyone seriously believe that either the extreme Left or the extreme Right in Greece whose ratings are soaring as high as those of the centre-left and centre-right are plummeting will feel in the slightest obliged to support and honour the austerity measures by agreeing to help form a coalition? And does anyone really believe that the election due in April will actually be conducted peacefully. Does anyone seriously believe that, y’know, with a bit of luck, God willing and all that, they might, just might . . .? Do they hell.
I wrote yesterday of The Slog’s conspiracy theory – that a Greek default will be formerly announced just after 6pm EST on Friday, March 23, and that everything else is simply a masquerade to avoid a run on the banks in the meantime – and although I am usually not a great supporter of conspiracy theories, judging by the incredible behaviour of many protagonists and the utterly naïve assumptions one has to adhere to if you swallow the whole bailout story, his theory tends to make a damn sight more sense than anything else at the moment.

. . .

When I look at the stats to see what people happening on this blog like to read, two names are always prominent: Mandy Rice-Davies and Dominique Strauss Kahn. And Dom is back in the news again and it involves sex, again. Now there’s a surprise. Lord, the Left in France must be thanking their lucky stars that the whole, extremely murky, business in New York happened before Dom, as expected by almost everyone, was put forward as their candidate for the presidency. It now seems that Dom wasn’t just the boss of the IMF. Oh, now, he was also moonlighting as a Marseille pimp, incredible as that might sound. Come again, I hear you ask. OK, it now seems that Dom – if that was even his
‘What can I say? Bang to rights?’

real name – was just swanning around with politicos worldwide as a cover for his real existence as the biggest of the Mr Bigs in Marseille. You can’t a couple of keys of coke? Dom, or more likely one of his minions, was your man. You wanted a couple of good-time girls for that party you were organising for a gang of visiting Red Chinese capitalists. Have a word with Dom. And he’s a card, too. Here’s a Dom quote I love (which isn’t actually from Mr Big himself, but from his lawyer Henri Leclerc, a name which could have come straight from the pen of an English novelist who has not once set foot in France). Responding to claims that Dom had been ‘romping’ with whores, M. Leclerc replied: ‘I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked women.’ On the face of it that sounds quite reasonable. The giveaway is, of course, that he the naked woman has either demanded money upfront or indicated that she will be demanding money after the act, then she’s a prostitute. Well, sort of.
Speaking of conspiracy theories, I have a vague recollection of there being one around the time Dom was up on sex charges in New York. I don’t remember the details (and can’t really be arsed trying to track them down), but the theory was that he was being stitched up in order to scupper his chances of being the Left’s presidential candidate and possibly even being elected Frances’ president. Like all conspiracy theories it makes sense, though that doesn’t mean it is true. And it might well have been either the left or the right stitching him up, if stitched up he was.

. . .

Yesterday I mentioned happening upon another blog called The Slog, which I read primarily for it’s claim that there is conspiracy afoot to kick Greece out of the euro towards the end of March and that the conspirators are biding their time in order to erect a firewall around the banks they wish to protect (or something like that). But another entry caught my eye: a profile of Germany chancellor Angela Merkel which is not complimentary. Reading that I followed another link and came across a German website in English which strikes me already tending into paranoia country, or if not paranoia country, a nearby neighbour. (Incidentally, can one ‘tend’ or have I just made up a word?) All that got me thinking along the lines of: is it ever really possible to get neutral information about anything which can help one make up one’s own mind. I rather think it isn’t.
I’ve long believed, and long claimed publicly, that our newspapers aren’t quite as powerful as some would have us believe, that, in fact, they tell us what they think we want to hear. Well, OK, it isn’t usually that straightforward, but the tend to do that. I suspect something similar goes on with arguments: most of us believe what we believe, however irrational it might be, and then cast about for ‘evidence’ and ‘proof’, discarding any ‘facts’ we encounter which rather argue against what we believe and highlighting those ‘facts’ which ‘prove’ we are right in our belief. Well, I don’t want any of that, and that is why increasingly I choose not to take part in any discussion which strikes me - it’s always pretty obvious from the outset - as being essentially just another exchange of prejudice. I want to take part in what I can only call ‘neutral’ discussion. For example, when there is discussion of the euro crisis, I’m not at all interested in hearing from those who loathe the EU and everything they think it stands for and, given half a chance, will bend your ear till dawn with ‘facts’ proving it is nothing by a dark conspiracy organised by murky bureaucrats. Conversely, I’m not in the slightest interested in being invited to cheer along the European project and how it will, in time, bring about peace on Earth and goodwill to all men.
The blog entry about Merkel’s past is interesting and the facts are, admittedly intriguing (more of which another time). But I am disinclined to go along quite yet, if ever, with the writer’s conclusions.

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