Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The incredible story of how the euro crisis was foretold in code in the Old Testament or the runes or by aliens or something like that (I haven’t quite understood the details). But whatever – man, it’s frightening what they are doing! Horrific!

All else being equal, I am far more of a cock-up theorist than a conspiracy theorist. For one thing, you are less likely to be written off as a nutter (never very pleasant, I’m sure) and for another, most conspiracy theories are usually so off-the-wall that it would easier to believe the Moon is made of cheddar cheese than swallow what many of them claim. (For a while, and, I imagine, having to fill in the space between the ads it was carrying with something, the Mail carried three-part series which were as whacky as anything you would find anywhere: an ‘ancient Bible code’ which foretold ‘with astounding accuracy’ Frankel’s win at Royal Ascot last week, and ‘authoritative’ and ‘compelling’ accounts of underwater UFOs, that kind of thing. To be fair no one here believed a single word of any of it but they did what they were intended to do: they helped to sell papers.)

Some conspiracy theories are, admittedly, not quite as whacky, and if you want them accepted and swallowed, the secret is to keep them as plausible as possible. (I use the same principle when telling lies: stick as close to the truth as possible and only change – lie about – essential details. Oh, and never volunteer further information. The accepted wisdom is ‘be wary of those who answer unasked questions’.) For example, only yesterday morning I heard an account of

Take me to your euro
how an alleged plot in the Sixties by the then communist Czechoslovak secret service to get the former Conservative Prime Minister to Prague, involve him in a homosexual honeypot, then run him as an agent was apparently dreamed up by right-wingers in Britain (who, it is believed have good contacts with our security services) to discredit Heath. Our Ted was, still is, I should imagine, widely assumed to have been gay, so there was an element of plausibility. And when you know that at one point the CIA were planning to assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro with an exploding cigar, more or less anything is possible.

Today I came across another, contemporary conspiracy theory, which, if nothing else – that is whether it is true, half-true or just a load of old cack, and I’m never going to know anyhow – is entertaining enough. It involves the Americans, the Germans, the Greeks, that old roué Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his shenanigans in New York, the exposure of German and French banks to Greek sovereign debt and U.S. fears after the 2009 banking crisis that Europe had come out of it all rather too well and that the U.S. had come out of it rather less well. So when Greece went tits up in 2010, the U.S. thought it was rather good news, as a bankrupt country in Europe which had just been turfed out of the euro – as it thought was likely to happen – would prove to be a useful ally, a bridgehead into Europe. Also, being a grateful ally, it might also prove to be a willing customer for many of the military goods the U.S. likes to sell to keep its coffers full.

The trouble was that quite apart from looking silly if Greece were forced out of the euro, it seems far too many German and French banks were in it up to their necks, having previously hovered up Greek government bonds. So as far as Germany and France were concerned, that is Merkel and at the time Sarkozy, a Greek default must be stopped. The trouble was that although the Greek deficit was bad, it might not appear bad enough to persuade fellow Eurozone lackeys to dip into their pockets to bail out the Greeks. So – the conspiracy theory goes – Germany and France persuaded their friends in Greece to exaggerate the bad news so that the rest of the Eurozone would shit themselves and any resistance to stomping up the readies to bail out Greece would be minimal. (When employees in the Greek statistics office objected to the exaggeration of the deficit figure, they were apparently forced to resign.) What should be remembered is that the money handed over to the Greeks as ‘bailout’ cash might well go some way to paying the canteen staff in its parliament, but overwhelmingly it is being used to pay of those who bought up Greek bonds – the French and German banks. Seen in that light, the whole ‘bailout’ is nothing but an operation to get the banks off the hook (and, it has to be said, avoid a domestic banking crisis).

The Americans didn’t like the way things were going – according to the conspiracy theory – and were especially put out that Strauss-Kahn, at the time the head of the IMF and at the time the most likely chap to take on Sarkozy in the upcoming French presidential election was very close – so the theory goes – the Greek prime minister at the time, Papandreou. So, knowing that Strauss-Kahn was a dodgy, dodgy guy as far as the women were concerned, he was framed for attempted rape in the New York hotel. That the charge came to nothing is neither here nor there – he had to resign and was out of the picture. One up for the Yanks. Next, they got their man, or rather their woman, into the spot to replaced Strauss-Kahn: according to the conspiracy theorists Christine Lagarde is firmly sympathetic to the U.S.

So chaps, what do you think. Nutty enough for you? Not nutty enough. Swivel-eyed crap and poppycock? Dark, dark, dark? I don’t know, but whether true or not, it is highly enteraining.

I'll have two Cokes and fries to go. Do you take euros?

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