Friday, June 8, 2012

‘Germany abandons euro and re-introduces DM’ - that, I think, is a headline we will read at some point in the next two months. And Euro 2012 kicks off with my bets already going awry

For what it’s worth, my guess in the whole Germany v Everyone else in the euro crisis will be that Germany blinks first, but they won’t do what we expect. To bring you up to speed, Germany and its people are industrious, conscientious, don’t throw money around like confetti, like to pay their way, are good savers, make quality goods the world wants and, as a result of all that, are doing rather well, thank you very much, while the rest of the eurozone is slowly - painfully slowly, to be sure, but nevertheless surely - going to the dogs.

Well, that is my view, and there are others. One, for example, which I can’t quite get my head around (though blame my Dick and Dora grasp of economics) is that when the euro was set up, it was set up to benefit the Germans. That, at least, is what some are claiming. But whatever is true, the solution to the crisis now universally put forward is ‘eurobonds and fiscal union’. Eurobonds mean that in theory all eurozone members would be responsible for paying of the debts of every other eurozone member, and fiscal union means that tax rates would be centrally established for the whole eurozone.

Given that Greece is largely in the trouble its in because it borrowed money, spent it grandly and now can’t pay off its debts because it lived beyond its means (and no self-respecting Greek pays a cent in tax), Germany is ineffably reluctant to agree to pay of Greece’s debts or anyone else’s for that matter. My view is ‘can you blame them’, although I am honour-bound to admit there are other views. As for fiscal union, it would work in theory, but would take years of detailed negotiation and preparation to set up, whereas the eurozone has got about another month to go before it goes the way of the dodo. And that brings me to my point that Germany blinks first.

For several weeks now, I have believed that the most likely outcome of the crisis is not that Greece, or Spain, or any of the other eurozone members will be forced out, but that Germany will pay its respects, kisses all round, tell everyone what a smashing time it had, and then head for the exit to a far safer and far saner world of a re-established Deutschmark. That would, naturally, precipitate a collapse of the euro and eurozone and all such a collapse would entail, but Germany and its hard-earned wealth would avoid all the fallout. It would most certainly be reviled from here to Timbuktu for a year or two, but as is the way of these things, in time it would be forgiven. And that is what I am now certain is going to happen, although I admittedly do not have shred of evidence. The great thing is that if I am right, folk will say ‘well, he’s a bright cookie, and make no mistake’. And if I am wrong - well, people have exceptionally short memories.

. . .

I’m not any good at football, despite 143 of watching the game on TV man and boy, but I can think of no reason why I shouldn’t add my two ha’porth worth on games I’ve seen on TV. Tonight was the opener, Poland against previous Euro champions Greece, after Greece’s performance tonight it is worth asking just how did they clinch that championship.

 It ended even-stevens 1-1, although I thought Poland had the edge, showing more flair - just - and being the more disciplined players. Their first goal was a good one, and when Greece had a player sent off for his second yellow card, I thought that was that. And as I have two bets riding on the result - a double and a Yankee or something - I was rather pissed off. But then Greece equalised, with a goal which once again wasn’t at all bad, although Poland’s defence was pretty bad, and when they were awarded a penalty after Poland’s defender fouled a Greece striker and got a straight red, I thought I was quids in. Was I hell.

The new goalie guessed the right way and dived the right way and save what was not a bad strike but not a good one, either. Things did look up when Greece seemed to score again, but had the goal disallowed for offside. So that was that. My first bet, the double, is now out of the window, and although my second could still return if I get the other three results right, my winnings, because of the nature of the bet, will be very much reduced. On to the next game in  20 minutes, Russia agains the Czech Republic. I’m backing the Czechs so it looks as though Russia will be a shoo in.

Euro 2012 Part II: the Russia v Czech Republic game made Poland’s spat with Greece look like Sunday league. OK, so Russia won and played some great football (and I have already lost money on bets), but the Czechs also played well. Where Poland v Greece was kick and rush at it worst, sometimes, Russia v Czech Republic was like watching to Champions League sides playing at their best. Anyone disagree?

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