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Thursday 27 October 2011

Len Freeman | 12:14 UK time, Thursday, 27 October 2011

So European leaders have reached a three-pronged agreement described as vital to solve the region's huge debt crisis.

They said banks holding Greek debt accepted a 50% loss, the eurozone bailout fund will be boosted and banks will have to raise more capital.

But is it enough? Is it the end of the crisis? Or have they just bought time?

Our economics editor Paul Mason examines the deal in detail tonight and Tim Whewell will be in Italy looking at Berlusconi's precarious position.

And as the world faces a food shortage, Justin Rowlatt asks whether the answer is to eat insects. He tries eating a few himself including a scorpion and a locust.

Do join us at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    PLUS CA CHANGE

    In the Age of Perversity, the damaged and/or aberrant psyche rises to a position of power out of sheer drive, or mass apathy. (In the case of Westminster, the stitch-up called British democracy plays a large part.

    It follows that MECHANISMS WILL SOLVE NOTHING.

    If we cannot devise a society whose stewards are 'the best of the best' (not mercenary killers) we shall just get more of the same. No sign that Westminster is addressing (wishes to address?) this obvious truth. Why would they - the Turkeys.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 2.

    THE ASA APPROACH TO LYING POLITICIANS IS TO RUN AWAY

    In the excerpt below (from the ASA website) for 'democratic process' read 'calculated lying'.

    http://spoilpartygames.blogspot.com/

    "Any ad whose purpose is to persuade voters in a local, national or international election or referendum is not covered by the Advertising Code. Such ads are exempt from the Code because under the 1998 Human Rights Act’s provisions on freedom of speech, an ASA ruling could be considered to be interfering unduly with the DEMOCRATIC PROCESS. This means that non-broadcast political ads, such as those appearing on posters, newspapers, cinemas and leaflets, do not have to comply with the same strict rules that all other ads have to adhere to."

    I smell Westminster interference.

  • Comment number 3.

    food shortage

    haha

    why do we pay millionaire slipper farmers 4 billion a year to grow nothing?

    making mr bean eat insects has something of daytime tv about it?

  • Comment number 4.

    secret pakistan

    if we accept the premise that pakistan is at war with the uk then pakistanis in the uk should be seen as enemy aliens who may provide support for terrorism in the uk?

    pakistan preventing reconstruction in afghanistan through their support for taliban is a wicked act.

  • Comment number 5.

    Eat insects? I shall not let a banker, lawyer or politician pass my lips! ;-D

  • Comment number 6.

    A NATION OF SHOP-KEEPERS AND "DEFENCE" EQUIPMENT SUPPLIERS (#4)

    Oh jaunty! Now that all the wars are won - all thanks to Destiny Dave - defence weapons (oops) will be less required. The corner shops must now constitute major part of our industry; closing them could collapse the UK economy.

    The correct course is to send Balls to Pakistan. That should ensure a spike in war-weapons procurement.

    Sorted.

  • Comment number 7.

    And once Britain's different population has gone up to around one hundred million, we'll all be as callous as this.....

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8658959/Anger-in-China-as-bodies-fall-from-carriages-during-train-crash-clean-up.html

    .....not to mention killing each other for food and water.

  • Comment number 8.

    #4 "if we accept the premise that pakistan is at war with the uk then pakistanis in the uk should be seen as enemy aliens who may provide support for terrorism in the uk?"

    Yes I thought the same JC, so how many interrement camps will that be as in the last world war?!

  • Comment number 9.

    Mods please make the correction for me at #8

    You know I meant internment not interrement! I don't wish anyone dead.

  • Comment number 10.

    'And as the world faces a food shortage, Justin Rowlatt asks whether the answer is to eat insects. He tries eating a few himself including a scorpion and a locust.'

    As with many macro, inter-related issues, many things 'could' be of value as mitigating factors to deteriorating numbers games.

    However, even if 'we' start firing up the barbie for the wood lice in our rotten loft timbers, with finite supplies and increasing demands, I doubt they will be 'the answer'.

    I'm a licence fee payer, get me some actual serious reporting.

  • Comment number 11.

    AH YES JUNKK - BUT PERHAPS YOUR LICENSE FEE ONLY BUYS ACCESS? (#10)

    Protocols abound in The Age of Perversity. e.g. When an MP smiles at you during the election, and says: 'can I rely on your vote' it is not the same as: 'you can rely on my representation'. MPs have another protocol that says they should not get involved with the constituent of another, as I reported recently; they use it to run away from facing serious truths.

    Just had a poke round on the web. Unable to ascertain if the TV licence is a contract. Can't tell if it is simply for ACCESS and not content.
    The licence itself, says you are paying to 'watch'. I thought you were liable just by having a working - even if unwatched - TV in your home.

    Whatever.

  • Comment number 12.

    we all new this would happen, very late in the night they manage to cobble out a deal, emerge into the new dawn, blinking, and saying into the assembled microphones of the press, 'we have managed to secure a new deal that will' blah, blah and we know the rest and ten days from now when the small print has been assessed the footsie will plummmet three hundred points, the Dow four hundred, Berlesconni will run away and we are back to sq one, please tell me it won't happen when we know it will, the one fact remains...you cannot borrow more new money to pay back old....t'was ever thus...

  • Comment number 13.

    Lizzy @8 @9

    "As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
    I've got a little list, I've got a little list
    Of society offenders who might well be underground,
    And who never would be missed...........

    The Mikado, WS Gilbert

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlOb0XMxt84

    ;-D

  • Comment number 14.

    Ecolizzy - I replied to you in yesterday's blog, but it was judged to contravene the House Rules, and so was removed.

    The sad irony is that nothing much CAN get better, and matters will only get worse, if possible solutions are removed simply because they go against the conventions which account for the problem in the first place..

  • Comment number 15.

    More apocalyptic visions of the future from Paul Mason and "We're all going to die" from Justin Rowlatt. I feel these excitable daily forecasts of doom lost their impact a long time ago - at about the time when the promised double dip recession never materialised and just after we didn't all die of bird flu as predicted.

  • Comment number 16.

    climate fools day tomorrow

    guess the bbc won't cover it because they have been among the biggest propagandist for it?

    from last year Climate Fools Day 2010

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nokAvMrfa3w&feature=feedf

  • Comment number 17.

    oo it could have been on 24th

  • Comment number 18.

    "There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner"

    ".....With a scowl and a frown
    We'll keep our peckers down
    And prepare for depression and doom and dread,
    We're going to unpack our troubles from our old kit bag
    And wait until we drop down dead.!.........."

    It's time there was a modern tribute to Noel Coward's song:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCZCv98XKFs

  • Comment number 19.

    #13 Do you know the sad thing is Sasha I can even sing the tune to your words! ; ) And come to that even your second one at 18

    I had an aunt and uncle as a child that were in all the local G&S productions, guess who got to sell the programmes!

    I was replying to JCs comment "if we accept the premise that pakistan is at war with the uk then pakistanis in the uk should be seen as enemy aliens who may provide support for terrorism in the uk?"

    Along the lines of what we did in the last war with our enemies, wonder if that's safe enough.

  • Comment number 20.

    cds [insurance that are too big to pay out without crashing the financial system should end. its just another way to go long the taxpayer and privatise the profit and socialise the loss.

  • Comment number 21.

    This three-pronged trident will probably be just enough to ward off the evil spirits aka the markets for a while.

    Over time it will have to be made clear that the ECB will act as the lender-of-last-resort, with an infinite supply of euros, whilst the eurozone struggles to climb out of the debt hole (which is somewhat paradoxical).

    It is probable that the EU will split now, over time, clearly delineating into those members who are within the eurozone and those who are outside e.g. in EFTA etc, which will have all sorts of economic and political ramifications.

    The EU, with respect to the eurozone, clearly went too far, too fast and too casually, and has nearly come unstuck as a result.

    This Englishman hopes it all turns out well in the end because after all, we are all Europeans, are'nt we?

  • Comment number 22.

  • Comment number 23.

  • Comment number 24.

    DAVE UNWRAPPED! HIS COVER IS BLOWN BY MAX KEISER

    Watch first few minutes Report 202.

    http://maxkeiser.com/

    Cathartic!

  • Comment number 25.

    Note that the commentariat are already saying well, we don't know if the size of the eurozone bail-out fund will be enough.

    Which is why there should be a implicit understanding transmitted to the markets that the bailout fund is effectively infinite, whether via the ECB or more indirectly via the IMF.

    There is something more powerful than the bond market and that is the power to create infinite amounts of electronic money and (the threat of it being) used wisely should be enough.

    Amoral markets need to be faced down by amoral policymakers.

  • Comment number 26.

    25

    its not about money. its about credibility. if you have no credibility doesn't matter what you say i ain't lending you my money.

    this is about politicians saving their jobs for a year by bankrupting everyone not about doing the right thing for the public .

    the childish political eu rationale is without the eu there will be european wars. if everyone is unemployed and bankrupt it will be as if there has been a war anyway.

  • Comment number 27.

    @4 Jaunty: I don't accept that Pakistan is at war with us. There are no Pakistani troops near our borders, nor any approaching.

    We are involved in a futile war in Afghanistan which is helping destabilise Pakistan - a nuclear power. It's sobering to read Pepe Escobar's ten year old article.

    http://www.atimes.com/ind-pak/CH30Df01.html

    PS To quote from Wiki "A careful reading of the article makes it obvious that he was referring to the network of Arab combatants in Taliban-held Afghanistan (who were former US allies in the Anti-Soviet Jihad), and not the allegedly affiliated organization based in Hamburg, Germany, which is considered to have planned and executed the 9/11 attacks."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepe_Escobar

  • Comment number 28.

    @25. @21 JC

    I agree with your sentiments: unfortunately the ECB is unable and unwilling to fulfil the proper role of a central bank.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/wild-eyed-theorists-in-pinstripes/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/opinion/the-hole-in-europes-bucket.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

  • Comment number 29.

    IS IT ME?

    I keep hearing that the world is facing commercial/monetary disaster, yet the synthetic adversarial PARTY POLITICKING CONTINUES. In times of war (real war, with homeland threatened and reluctant conscripts dying in the protection of hearth and home) the party charade would b suspended.

    It seems that in THE AGE OF PERVERSITY party politics is too precious to be given up by the cipher-ninnies of Westminster governance.

    What a prospect.

  • Comment number 30.

    jauntycyclist wrote: "if we accept the premise that pakistan is at war with the uk then pakistanis in the uk should be seen as enemy aliens who may provide support for terrorism in the uk?"

    British Pakistanis were invited here to make up for our falling numbers.
    They are not our enemies. If you look at the geopolitics of where Pakistan is, and you look at the Western economies, is it at all surprising that Pakistan is interested in joining the Shanghai Cooperative Organisation?

    So is India in fact - which is already part of the BRICSA. The world is changing. We risk being left behind. But think again - who are WE? Who was eager to paint Commonwealth Muslim Asians as "terrorists" - and why?

    Who gains by our ever treating a British Commonwealth nation as an enemy?

  • Comment number 31.

    an insight into american politcs

    U.S. Troops In Afghanistan Burning Bill O'Reilly's Books He Is Sending Them!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxDP9NpgLVQ

  • Comment number 32.

    who the grass roots americans think is behind occupy

    http://www.youtube.com/user/MOXNEWSd0tCOM#p/u/24/l3KkPXzZypM

  • Comment number 33.

    30

    we are now spending billions on internal security which is defacto civil war. terrorists cannot exist in the uk without local support. apparently we have 1000s of them. so many we can't watch them all.

    pretending pakistan is not at war with us will be a bit hard when remembrance sunday comes around and people look at the IED list.

  • Comment number 34.

    Tonight's programme was going so well until you got Ed Balls on - is he a good chum of the Newsnight staff as he appears on NN so often now some might think he is a presenter.

    With such important financial matters to discuss surely you should have stuck to experienced people with proven track records in finance and in the markets?

  • Comment number 35.

    you poor people at the bbc,,, you still are ignoring the truth of the worlds current monetary based economy, how about getting somebody who knows what hes talking about onto your newsnight show, a name that springs to mind is 'max keiser'?????

    then again the last time somebody said anything close to what max would say live on the bbc, a trader by the name off 'Alessio Rastani' it was highly ammusing to see the collective jaw of the bbc hit the floor in shock! possibly at the fact that you allowed this person on air in the first place.

    either way, mainstream media is missing the point. hopefully not because of all those zionist fingures in them pies. peace! :) its time for a change,,,, time for a resorce based economy.

  • Comment number 36.

    Someone stop Kirsty gulping down those big-bottomed ants or she will end up with a big bottom!

    If only NN had done the item some time ago then Kirsty may have won Masterchef!

  • Comment number 37.

    jauntycyclist wrote:"pretending pakistan is not at war with us will be a bit hard when remembrance sunday comes around and people look at the IED list."

    All I'm suggesting is that WE should be mindful as to who is recruiting whom. I'm not saying I have a clear view of this, but it is a view.

    WE should be mindful of who the people are which comprises the reference class, i.e. the quantifier US. Who do YOU have in mind?

    Who is recruiting US?

    For whom was the "War on Terror"? Our imminent ageing/falling populations? CDOs are long term debts....25-30 years.

    Why were Sunni Saudi Arabians involved? Why is The Arab Spring Islamism, Sunni? Why have our banks been going Sunni?

    In whose interests was all this? An attack on riba?

    Where does the asset-stripped money (via IMF/ECB/EU bank leveraged loans collateralised against EU nation state's like Greece's, Italy's and Spain's Public Sector austerity measures), ultimately go, if not to Wall Street, and thus the US(A) Treasury?

  • Comment number 38.

    Yeah good luck Euro Land.
    Keep living that dream , we're all depending on you !

    Swiftly moving on from EU hyperbole.

    Has anyone published the values of these EZ states publicly held assets yet ?

    Spin that !

  • Comment number 39.

    ...perhaps the years have affected my memory but I clearly recall back in 1955/56 feasting, on a couple of occasions, on tinned ants...they were salty, crunchy and, quite surprisingly, tasty and more-ish as I recall...I was living in the Adam and Eve Public House in Peckham at the time, please, no comments like, 'Would you Adam and Eve it...?' either...!?#

  • Comment number 40.

    It would appear that the eco-fascist leaning BBC apparently can't report on anything without implicating the Climate Scam, a perfectly good feature on novel food turned into a propaganda exercise. I suppose that the eco-fascists could allow the consumption of insects on " No Meat Monday's ", personally I don't fancy them but the guy was right when he said insect protein could take off in some form of imitation meat, of course it would have to be significantly cheaper than the real thing.

    ( Jaunty, Climate Fools Day was Wednesday the 26th of October this year )

  • Comment number 41.

    40 Climate Fools Day

    must of been susan's day off.

  • Comment number 42.

    Sasha Clarkson @ 28

    When the details of this three-pronged plan are consumed, the markets will probably decide that it is not enough and that will be the real crunch point where the ECB is finally made able and willing to fulfil the proper role of a central bank by the Euro politicians.

    A central bank must behave as a central bank, otherwise it is a sham institution.

    Is it just me or do other viewers find Warks 'style' of interviewing extremely irritating?

    She gives the impression that the most important thing is to screech through a preset list of questions.

    Definately not worth £1M per annum of license payers money but then again who is?

    Nevertheless, despite Wark, the contributions of Balls, Prodi and Brittain were interesting. It is rare to see somebody demonstrating strategic intelligence on TV, as displayed by Leon Britain, that is usually the preserve of radio.

  • Comment number 43.

    #5

    Sasha, your post is an insult to insects.

    No self respecting ant colony would allow a politician or banker or lawyer to emerge amongst them and become powerful or the colony would collapse, no longer able to function and feed itself in an environment of limited resources.....

    The eating of insects on live TV in the context of assumed moral superiority as a solution (ha!!) to over-population and a resource crisis it is a truely obsurd act... we should be trying to learn from them and (more importantly) enacting what we learn not eating them!!!

    The section on NN would be comedy genius if it were not for the fact that they were taking it seriously and earnestly.. kept on waiting for Terry Gilliam to appear, it was one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life..

    It must be just me.

    Lock me up someone, I am clearly insane.

  • Comment number 44.

    '34. At 22:46 27th Oct 2011, tawse57 wrote:
    Tonight's programme was going so well until you got Ed Balls on


    Even more regular sage John Prescott maybe was again unavailable... for some reason?

    Maybe Ant & Dec are being lined up to host the next Newsynighty from the political jungle?

  • Comment number 45.

    The dynamic behind the headlines today on the Euro bailout with substantial contributions being asked for from China is that it marks the official passing of economic world superiority from the USA to China. China had it in the bag a while ago actually but this surely marks official recognition of this.

    Through China's help leverage is gained over europe and the USA suddenly looks dangerously isolated in the world politically and economically.

    If the Euro is, effectively, saved / backed by China.. who is going to save the dollar?...or sterling .... the only reason we are not percieved as a 'PIGS' nation is because of 'off balance sheet' liability such as PFI plus bank liabilities.

    I can not see the USA going quietly and the rhetoric (often religious based) coming out of the States does not bode well for global stability and peace.

  • Comment number 46.

    CLIMATE FOOL'S DAY OFF (#41)

    Nice!

  • Comment number 47.

    HOW TO LOSE VIEWERS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE (#42)

    Not nice! (But justified.)

  • Comment number 48.

    EDGY TV (#43)

    Slime Mould Smoothies are coming. No packaging, no transport costs - net Carbon sequestration.

    I'm totally sane!

  • Comment number 49.

    so to get the pop out on iplayer you now have to click twice. one to start it then click again to get the pop out. so twice the click count. how vain. i will be looking for a bbc report in 6months saying crowing about how iplayer has 'increased usage'.

  • Comment number 50.

    AS MONEY IS NOW VIRTUAL (#45)

    And hacking is a state-function, surely China can create all that is asked, and conjure it into existence anywhere on the globe?

    Back to Cowry shells - and all washed up?

    I'll get me Abacus.

  • Comment number 51.

    51

    the big winners are china. not only are they part the problem [by stopping growth] but they now will profit by it and end up owning most of the european banks for a bargain price and their risks be guaranteed by the eu taxpayer.

  • Comment number 52.

    iPLAYER COHORT, IN AND OF ITSELF, INCREASES APPTAKE, IN THE MEDIA SPACE, GOING FORWARD (#49)

    You KNOW it makes sense!

  • Comment number 53.

    Why would'nt China bail out the Eurozone?

    China in currently in a position where it has a huge pile of dollars and has probably decided that the most sensible thing to do with this is to go out around the world, exploiting the fact that the dollar is the de facto world currency at present, and buy up what ever it can.

    So, chunks of Africa, Australia (via mining companies), South America (ditto) get purchased with dollars, which, going forward, are probably only going to shrink in value.

    Yes, China might as well exchange some its dollar for a collar on Europe, whilst the US dollar still has some value.

  • Comment number 54.

    53

    the price of chinese involvement is they want political obedience on tibet, taiwan and their colonial expansionism.

    better to be poor and free rather than a rich and a slave.

    our growth can only coming by smashing the chinese stranglehold of the artificial exchange rate 10 yuan =£1

  • Comment number 55.

    Cooking

    NN conversion to Daytime tv is now complete. Was this Blue Peter role gaming? where is the elephant [in the room] lol. Down Shep.

    now we can pay millionaire farmers for not producing insects as well. trebles all round.

  • Comment number 56.

    co2 isn't hot

    another nail in the coffin for the co2 climate changers as piers gets it right again weeks before the met. twitpic.com/76wzid

    notice the claim cold weather news was related to a winter tyre promotion?

  • Comment number 57.

    Furthermore, Cameron and Osborne are attempting to punch way, way above their weight, with respect to the eurozone crisis.

    That much is painfully obvious.

    This land ain't no Norway, which has enjoyed prudent politicians, who over the decades, have squirreled away North Sea oil revenues, such that they now have a significant sovereign fund and can ride out the current economic crisis relatively unscathed.

    Our 'British' politicians at Westminster have squandered these revenues over the decades, understandably much to the chagrin of the Scots and so, whilst "we are with Europe but not of it", we will surely eventually pay a very heavy price, in every sense of the word, for our lack of solidarity with our fellow Europeans in their hour of need.

    PS. Which obliquely reminds this blogger of the enormous debt we owe to the fearless pilots of RAF 303 Squadron, who were the highest scoring squadron in the Battle of Britain, and according to Dowding, made the difference between success or defeat. They were a Polish squadron.

  • Comment number 58.

    Justin Rowlatt "There's a growing movement that says we should eat more .... insects". Is there? I googled and can't find the British Insectivore Society, or equivalent. I suspect that this is largely wind - a recurring non-story invented by the chatterati, necromanced as a prelude to Halloween, and promoted by a few who see a business opportunity.

    And yes, Jericoa, (@43) if insects were sentient I would apologise for the slur of my unjustified comparison!

  • Comment number 59.

    #57

    I suspect the eurozone nations may just 'pull this off' with the help of China making the UK a fulcrum between Chinese and American power.

    Which way will we tip?

    Will we try to preserve the City / Wall street axis (which will prove ultimately futile unless there is a war to re-set debt and leverage)

    or will we be active positive moderating participants in an emerging new world order.

    It does not get any bigger than this.

    Not so much punching above thier weight as being out of their depth and carried by currents they do not understand or have the skills to deal with even if they did understand them.

    It is a sorry state of affairs for this nation to have such leadership at this time.

  • Comment number 60.

    #58

    What makes you think we are sentient?

    Lots of evidence to the contrary I would suggest :)

  • Comment number 61.

    Steve-London wrote: "Swiftly moving on from EU hyperbole.Has anyone published the values of these EZ states publicly held assets yet ? Spin that !"

    It is very hard to see what the EuroStat class/categories really comprise, i.e how reliable is the allocation of observations to categories? How much creative accounting is being done? Remember ENRON?.

    In the British Blue Book (and BoE statements about lending to different
    sectors) it is not clear what Non Profit Institutions Serving Households
    (NPISH) actually are, or even what "households" are for that matter. The definitions are common throughout Eurostat and the OECD but are the practices?.

    The categories have technical definitions for class inclusion for financial accounting purposes, but given that the NPISH class is the massively expanded Third Sector ("charities"), and given that it is lumped in with "Households" in the British Blue Book, I find it very hard to tell what is public, what is private and what is Third Sector etc, let alone the Private sector categories.

    For example, it is (conveniently?) very difficult for anyone to find out which assets were used as collateral when so many borrowers across Europe got into such trouble in the last decade. Who were these borrowers? How many were commercial property developers? We know these people caused a lot of trouble. Why do the ordinary people have to pay for these spivs' high risk behaviour just because they are much less familiar with how "creative accountants" operate?

    There are not, for instance, it seems to me (looking at 14 million homes in the UK), enough private dwellings (averaging £200K each), to account for the massive Mortgage Backed Security figures, i.e all the debt - much of which being mortgages double the home value but set to be repaid over 25 years. I'm a bit concerned that we are being misled because we don't know what terms refer to. Some appear to be talking about one type of national debt when they should just be talking of PUBLIC SECTOR debt, i.e the money borrowed by Government to meet the shortfall between revenue (like income tax etc) for the provision of Public Sector services, much of which is surely the salaries and pensions of the 6 million Britons in this sector).

    Perhaps this is a muddle which Paul Mason's research team might look into and try to clarify? As it is, I don't believe much of what I hear because I don't know what they are talking ABOUT, and I suspect most others don't either, and that is what con men play upon.

  • Comment number 62.

    @60 There's a difference between sentient and sane Jericoa! ;-D

    I can't believe that for the sake of a crazy monetary ideology, the ECB and Germans are prepared to give the Chinese such power in Europe. If the positions were reversed......

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,794575,00.html

  • Comment number 63.

    Jericoa @ 59

    You suspect the Eurozone nations may just 'pull this off' with the help of China making the UK a fulcrum between Chinese and American power.

    It highly unlikely for the UK to be any sort of fulcrum as you describe and is more likely to be cast to the outer economic and political margins, as the EU eurozone, the BRICS, and the USA/Japan shape the next decade or so.

    This is the price that has to be paid for being semi-detached - only Clegg seems to understand this amongst the current political cohort in Government.

    This is what I mean when I say that Cameron and Osborne are attempting to punch way, way above their weight - it is really just a bluff because in reality, debtor nations such as the UK have very little political leverage at all.

    For example, it is now entirely possible that within the next decade, that the centre of EU political gravity may become Berlin and the financial center -Frankfurt.

    Tip - buff up your German.

  • Comment number 64.

    For example, it is now entirely possible that within the next decade, that the centre of EU political gravity may become Berlin and the financial center -Frankfurt, as befits the EU's primary creditor nation.

    Who'd have believed it eh?

    Certainly not Dad and his mates in RAF Bomber Command as they reduced German cities to rubble all those decades ago.

    To the victor, the spoils?

    It seems to have turned out that we have been demolished ourselves by well-intentioned Westminster politicians, the Civil Service bureaucracy and specifically for us English, a deadly lack of interest in politics.

  • Comment number 65.

    '58. At 11:27 28th Oct 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:
    Justin Rowlatt "There's a growing movement that says we should eat more .... insects". Is there? '


    We are now firmly in an era of 'news' via press release, with editorial pre-production merely there to prioritise what the public gets served by agenda or ratings.

    And the first victim of such journalism seems to be fact checking.

    Nowadays anyone can get on the BBC by offering an approved message, with little chance of pre-checking or context being added.

    'Mums' that turn out to be Guardian royalty, protesting squaddies who seem confused on which regiment they belonged to. All valid spokesperson for the public.

    Or 'experts' whose expertise is less often clarified, along with provenance.

    And speaking of editorial by omission, one wonders what the exclusion zone around Lord Prescott as guest favourite will be, given his tweeting and credit card travails.

  • Comment number 66.

    JohnConstable wrote: "Certainly not Dad and his mates in RAF Bomber Command as they reduced German cities to rubble all those decades ago.

    To the victor, the spoils?"

    The victor in Europe was the USA (which was fighting off statism, first Germany which was trying to limit the forces of naked capitalism across Europe, and then the USSR which was doing much the same as Germany - hence their alliance).. Europeans, especially Germans, have been paying Wall Street and Washington ever since, as has Japan and South Korea.
    Germany like Japan is a USA puppet state.

  • Comment number 67.

    Germany like Japan was a USA puppet state because the USA bankrolled these two countries post-WWII, mainly it would seem to avoid them falling into the Communist camp.

    I do not believe that that these two countries, particularly Germany, can now be described as US puppets, although I would concede that the USA runs, in every sense of the word, the mightiest empire that the world has ever seen.

  • Comment number 68.

    JohnConstable wrote: ""I do not believe that that these two countries, particularly Germany, can now be described as US puppets"

    Clearly. That's why I made an effort to correct you, but one can believe what one likes. Why do people mistakenly always think their beliefs are all true?

    http://www.oecd.org/document/63/0,3746,en_2649_201185_1876671_1_1_1_1,00.html

    The first US plan for Germany after WWII was to reduce Germany to a market garden economy via the austere Morgenthau Plan. That was after denazification in aid of promoting Libertarianism. When the Americans saw that The Morgenthau Plan was what Dexter-White and friends were contriving to drive West Germany (and Europe in general) towards the Soviet Planned Economy, they implemented the Marshall Plan instead. That is the OECD/EU Project. Germany is still effectively an occupied nation.

    Questioning anything which sustains the post war denazification PsyOps programme will get Germans and many other Europeans locked up as it threatens Libertarian hegemony. The USA runs NATO, abusing its poodles whenever it can. It just got a warning over Libya.

    The Russian Government knows this, as do the Chinese, as does Iran and the CIS/SCO. It helps for most Europeans NOT to see what's going on, and to believe the Cold War is over even though there is plenty of evidence to the contrary (just bear in mind that China is more Stalinist today than the USSR was in the 60s). The French stepped out of NATO command until Sarkozy precisely because they didn't want to be the USA's poodle using Europe as the battlefield. The Cold War went political-economic.

    We appear to be losing..

  • Comment number 69.

    I heard on radio today that hedge funds since July have been buying greek euro bonds to make a profit. ECB and IMF using public funds are lending to Greece but looks liike hedgfunds will be main beneficiaries. Please Paul can you comment and look into this.
    Thanks
    Farida

  • Comment number 70.

    Gaming the system (or bending the rules, playing the system, milking the system or abusing the system) can be defined as "[using] the rules and procedures meant to protect a system in order, instead, to manipulate the system for [a] desired outcome".

    So, for example, In the very early days of football, towards the end of match, a player deliberately kicked the football completely out of the stadium ... and the clock continued to run down ... until the referee blew the whistle signaling the end of the game, whilst the opposition frantically searched for the ball.

    In more recent times, the mainstream political parties in England have managed to game the democratic system such that only around 30,000 or so floating voters across a handful of marginal constituencies effectively decide the outcome of a General Election.

    Quite how they have managed to achieve this remarkable outcome is a mystery to this blogger but in mitigation, we are dealing with extremely cunning people.

    The financial system seems to be being 'gamed' for much of the time and certainly does not appear to be for the benefit of ordinary people.

    Is gaming the system a moral hazard?

 

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