I’m sure the French Socialists must be breathing a sigh of relief, although that sigh will be bitter-sweet. DSK, as we bloggers like to call him to give the impression we know what we are talking about, was one of the better chances they had for getting their man or woman into the Elysee Palace (and sorry to write so inelegantly, but ‘getting their person into the Elysee Palace’ sounds vaguely daft), so that is an opportunity missed. On the other hand it would have been a racing certainty the DSK would have carried on living his raucous sex life once elected and it would have looked very bad for the Left. Although Mitterrand got away with murder, even to the extent of having two parallel families, there is no record that he organised orgies and was regularly picked up by the police trawling for whores in the rougher corners of Paris. For whatever reason, the Daily Telegraph has gathered a round-up of stories detailing DSK’s shenanigans, and you can find it here.
As it is, they are reduced to fielding as their candidate one Francois Hollande, who (I am assured by my brother, who
The French presidential election next April and May, which can be regarded as ‘imminent’ in political terms, will be largely why Sarkozy was so fucked off with David Cameron’s ‘heroic stand at the recent EU summit/laughably naive tactics at the recent EU summit’ (delete as applicably and according your prejudices). I assume that although the new, but still very silly, plan he and Angela Merkel proposed for ‘saving the euro’ (everyone in all 27 member states is to be urged to look down the back of their sofas to see what small change they can find and, who knows, it might all yet add up to build a trillion-euro escape tunnel) would have done rather less about solving the crisis than sacrificing a goat in the Hebrides it would, at least, have given the impression of resolute action.
As it stands our very own Eton toff has screwed all that and Sarkozy now faces pleading his case for re-election facing the charge that not only did he fail to solve the euro crisis, but he failed to solve the euro crisis while holding hands with the Boche bitch Angela Merkel. And that might well cook his goose. That is probably the only reason David Cameron is off Sarkozy’s Christmas card list, but it is a very good one. Whether or not it is still Sarkozy bossing everyone about at the palace or whether the minions there get Hollande, who can at least be expected to say ‘please’ when he bosses them about remains to be seen.
Either way it is still my view that the euro is totally fucked and the sooner the assortment of politicians which run the eurozone countries acknowledged the fact and set about salvaging what they might, the better. On one of the newspaper messages boards I recently read the proud boast from some British expat living in Germany that it was all stuff and nonsense about the euro being on its last legs as ‘business here is booming’. I don’t doubt it, but one does wonder just how much it cheers up the old and poor in Greece, Ireland and Portugal who are seeing their benefits and pensions cut as part of the Brussels-ordered austerity measures that German business is ‘booming’.
. . .
The whole euro cock-up saga rumbles on and gets less convincing by the day. It’s rather like listening to a down-at-heel semi-alcoholic uncle explaining how he could have been a kingpin in the city if it hadn’t been for a few strokes of bad luck which is why he is now selling investment advice to anyone stupid enough to pay attention to his worn-out schtick. David Cameron’s ill-considered flounce out of last week’s summit / heroic stand for the principles which made Britain great (delete as applicable according to your prejudices) is nothing but a transient sideshow, but one which both sides of this tedious argument are grateful for.
It allows both sides to distract attention from the issue which is most dangerous: Merkel, Sarkozy and assorted political has-beens who now earn their daily crust parading as EU/EC bigwigs can concentrate on how Britain is destroying the EU and, in time, once the euro has gone the way of the groat, insist that all would have been saved had Cameron not walked out and sabotaged the currency.
Cameron is happier because he is now flavour of the month with the kind of British idiots who wear Union Jack underpants and whistle Land Of Hope And Glory while shagging the wife and is politically more secure. He also knows that however much the Lib Dems hate him – actually they already hate him so much, they couldn’t possibly hate him any more – they know that Coalition with the Tories is for them now the only game in town and without it they are as relevant to the voter as last week’s Radio Times, so there is little chance they will leave the Coalition. Meanwhile, of course, the euro continues its ever-so-slow slide into abject oblivion. At best the rumpus at the summit has bought time for those hoping to arrange their affairs in such a way that when the collapse comes, they can salvage at least some of their furniture.
The grand solution, the solution to end all solutions, the mother of all solutions was this: a fiscal union of all euro countries or, even better, all 27 EU countries at some point in the future. But put aside, for a moment, the sheer idiocy of what is being proposed. The people who need to be convinced that ‘a solution has been found’ – the money people – remain stubbornly unconvinced. Try here and here.
And what of the Mekozy solution, the plan to solve it all and go fishing. Well, it boils down to this: once everyone has agreed, all countries in the euro (or even all EU countries) would be obliged to submit their budget plans to the EU for approval. And if they spent more than they were allowed to spend (i.e. borrowed more), they would be automatically fined. This arrangement, if all goes well, would be in place by next March. Simple, really. That it has as much chance of succeeding as making ice cream in Hell depends on your prejudices. Mine will, by now, be well known to you, and you will not be surprised that I regard the ‘plan’ as possibly the the worst idea ever considered by mankind. Supporters of ‘the project’, on the other hand, now believe the Promised Land is finally in sight.
It does not seem to have occurred to Merkel and Sarkozy that as the EU’s own accounts have not once been signed off by its own accountants and that several billions of EU money have long since disappeard into the pockets of any number of Euro crims, the idea that they should scrutinise the budgets of others and give it a yea or nay is faintly ludicrous. Then there is the small matter of how they would deal with complaints from some countries that other countries are getting an easier ride. Then there is the danger that if – if - all euro countries agree to the arrangement, a future government might well decide it no longer wants to play ball. What would the EU then do? As for agreeing to the arrangement, at least Ireland must, by law, put any the matter to its people in a referendum. And for those Irish, whose pips are being squeezed as never before on the orders of the EU, feel rather less goodwill to Brussels than your average Orange Order in Northern Ireland does for the Pope.
But even that is a long way down the line. First of course, there is the slight problem that however clever the fiscal union wheeze is, any fiscal wheeze, it is still only a wheeze and does absolutely nothing to solve the crisis now. It was supposed to do so by ‘inspiring confidence’ in the money markets. Well, has it? See above.
Never mind. When it all does go tits up, at least they will have someone to blame: Cameron. Economic lesson No 1: never trust an Old Etonian, however charming he might be.