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Ireland fights to avoid bail-out

Gavin Hewitt | 08:40 UK time, Monday, 15 November 2010

DUBLIN The Irish economy is in desperate straits. No one disputes that. Its bank debt is the highest in the world. It amounts to something like £12,000 (14,000 euros) for every man, woman and child in the Republic of Ireland.

Last week the financial markets declared loudly that they regarded Ireland as a risky bet and forced up the cost of borrowing.

EU officials looked on with increasing anxiety. What they feared was a replay of the Greek crisis earlier in the year, when indecision threatened the entire eurozone. Once again the fear was of contagion - that Ireland's problems were forcing up borrowing costs elsewhere, particularly in Portugal.

There is a belief in Irish circles that some Brussels officials are trying to put the squeeze on Ireland to accept around £50bn in rescue aid.

But Ireland is resisting. Over the weekend Irish minister after minister insisted they had not asked for a bail-out and did not want one. One minister handed me a printed piece of paper which had at the bottom in bold type: "we can work through this ourselves".

The Irish position is that they don't need extra funding until the middle of next year. There will be a budget on 7 December, where further savings of £5bn will be made. The Irish government says that by December next year they will be two-thirds of the way to getting their budget down to 3% by 2014. That is the plan and they believe it is credible and workable.

The financial markets have doubts. They cannot see the growth or the tax receipts that will pare down Ireland's debt mountain. Many economists believe that sooner or later Ireland will have to appeal for help.

There is a political dimension to this of course. A bail-out would be a humiliation for a country that just a short while ago was the Celtic Tiger. Some see these days as critical for Irish fiscal independence. One politician said: "it's been a very hard-won sovereignty for this country and this government is not going to give over that sovereignty to anyone." The official line is that Ireland must show it can stand alone.


Discounted clothing with 'Ireland' logo in Dublin - file pic

Yesterday in Brussels there was a high-level meeting involving Commission President Barroso and the Economics Commissioner, Olli Rehn. Gathering on a Sunday afternoon in the Berlaymont building this was in all but name an emergency meeting. On the agenda was one key question: was action needed before markets opened today.

So everyone will be watching the financial markets. Ireland will continue insisting it has a credible plan. Tomorrow in Brussels there is a European finance ministers' meeting and that could prove a crucial moment for Ireland.

On Friday there was some relief in the bond markets after a clarification from Germany that its wish to see private investors rather than taxpayers carry the burden of any bail-out would not apply until after 2013. Some investors had been dumping Irish bonds fearing they could suffer losses.

There is a wider dimension to this crisis. An announcement is expected today revealing that Greece's deficit figure is higher than declared and that it won't reach its declared target for deficit reduction this year. Greece has robustly embraced austerity measures but its tax receipts are down. It raises questions as to whether the medicine is working. Since May last year observers have been asking two questions: how will countries like Greece reduce their debts, when growth is being slowed by cuts and what position will Greece be in when its bail-out funds expire in 2013? The answers are not yet in. But the Greek government is already starting to lobby for the bail-out period to be extended.

Here is the wider difficulty for the eurozone periphery countries. They cannot devalue their currency or cut interest rates. They have few other tools in the box than to cut spending and slash wages. Yesterday in Ireland I met a civil servant who is already getting 70 euros (£60) less a week - a 13% cut. How much more austerity will voters take?

Although they are not in the majority there are voices in Ireland questioning why Ireland simply shouldn't restructure its debt, regardless of the consequences for its EU partners. Others are asking: is the potential bail-out about saving Ireland or the euro?

Another sense of the wider crisis came yesterday from Portugal, when its foreign minister said that a failure to adopt a coalition government in Lisbon to tackle its debt crisis could force the country out of the euro.

So the immediate focus is on Ireland, but the longer-term question is whether the medicine being administered - spending cuts and structural reforms - can rescue the eurozone.

UPDATE Official EU figures released today show that Greece has a significantly higher budget deficit and debt than previously revealed. Greece's deficit last year stood at 15.4% of GDP - higher than the figure of 13.6% given in April. Greece's overall debt figure for 2009 was revised up to 126.8% of GDP, from 115.1% previously.

Comments

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  • 1. At 09:07am on 15 Nov 2010, Peter David Jones wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 09:26am on 15 Nov 2010, Dempster wrote:

    'DUBLIN The Irish economy is in desperate straits. No one disputes that. Its bank debt is the highest in the world. It amounts to something like £12,000 (14,000 euros) for every man, woman and child in the Republic of Ireland.'


    Then write it off, don't pass it on to the younger generation.
    Remember that phrase often quoted when it comes time to cash in the endowment policy or pension pot:

    "investments can go down as well as up"



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  • 3. At 09:30am on 15 Nov 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    The people of Iceland must feel very fortunate not to in the eurozone now. Exchange rate flexibility allowed Iceland to get out of its nanking crisis without going bankrupt whereas Ireland has no escape.

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  • 4. At 09:30am on 15 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "shares of banks, including Royal Bank of Scotland, which have exposure to Irish government debt have fallen in the past week." (BBC News)


    My condolences to all affected Scottish posters here.

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  • 5. At 09:33am on 15 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    GH: "There is a political dimension to this of course. A bail-out would be a humiliation for a country that just a short while ago was the Celtic Tiger."



    Perhaps, but what can you do when reality strikes and chicken come home to roost?

    Pretend they haven't?

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  • 6. At 09:36am on 15 Nov 2010, EuroSider wrote:

    It appears that the Eurozone debt crisis will not go away.

    Brussels city traffic is constantly being diverted because the EU finance ministers are having yet another crisis meeting.

    Even the usually calm Belgians are getting heartly sinkened at hosting the EU in their country.

    So what is the answer?

    The break up of the Euro and allow the individual countries to manage their own economies and currencies.

    or

    Federalisation and centralised fiscal control of the Euro and the Eurozone countries allowing the EU to finally act as a single currency and market.

    This constant 'half-way' house the EU ministers can barely agree on, is do nothing but damaging the whole concept of the European Union.

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  • 7. At 09:37am on 15 Nov 2010, Peter Steele wrote:

    Even though some(most?) of Irelands problems are of their own making, the figures just dont stack up if one tries to make Ireland solve its problems on its own. The Eurozone countries in surplus must understand that their surpluses are partly built on other countries deficits, otherwise the Eurozone just becomes a form of economic imperialism which is carefully designed to make the poor poorer and the rich richer. If some of the inhabitants of an empire dont benefit, they are going to leave.

    The ECB needs to recycle Irish bonds to manage the capital availability. At the same time, all those gamblers who have bought at 9% expecting to be bailed out need to accept that their profits have been too high and a minimal type of haircut is needed; the 100% guarantee of the Stability Fund is just a licence to speculate with zero risk. By restoring basic values and making speculation costly, long term deficit reduction funded by long term German surplus reduction will succeed.

    Its not going to be instantaneous!

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  • 8. At 09:43am on 15 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    GHG: "Others are asking: is the potential bail-out about saving Ireland or the euro?"

    My answer would be - no. But that's just me, a private investor who's never bought a single Irish bond.

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  • 9. At 09:50am on 15 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The people of Iceland must feel very fortunate not to in the eurozone now."




    But we've been told by a Finnish EUSRR ethusiast here (Jukka Rohila) that ESTONIA is still hell-bent on entering the 7th Ring (eurozone) as of January.


    There's a saying that a madman should be saved against his will.

    I, personally, have never subscribed to that view.

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  • 10. At 09:52am on 15 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    GH: "how will countries like Greece reduce their debts, when growth is being slowed by cuts and what position will Greece be in when its bail-out funds expire in 2013?"



    Should EU taxpayers wait till 2013 to find out?

    [Inquiring minds want to know]

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  • 11. At 09:55am on 15 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Yesterday in Ireland I met a civil servant who is already getting 70 euros (£60) less a week - a 13% cut. How much more austerity will voters take?"


    Perhaps a number of civil servants should be reduced not only in Ireland but in whole EUSSR?


    Starting with Spain?

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  • 12. At 09:55am on 15 Nov 2010, stonebird wrote:

    "DUBLIN The Irish economy is in desperate straits. No one disputes that. Its bank debt is the highest in the world."

    It is the BANK debt that is the problem. After giving a ridiculous guarantee of 100% for banking debts, it is now (again) the taxpayer and ordinary Irish who have to make up for those rotten assets. The Economy, without that, would be still OK:

    So? Nationalize. Do a "Northern Rock". Throw out the crooks and resell the assets to solvent investors (ones that do not have too much leveraged debt of their own), and incidentally raise the corporate tax rate up to the same as the rest of the EU. Or is it that the "leadership" has personal obligations to multinationals and corporations to allow the Irish part of the "Irish tax-avoidance" sandwich to continue? (Ie financial shenanigans where billions are circulated through Ireland and back to their original countries - simply to get a reduced tax rate. Doesn't do Ireland any lasting good).

    However, is the resistance of "Ireland" a heroic one for "independence" or is it because they do not want the "bailouters" to have a thorough look into the book-keeping? "oh-la-la Greece and Golden-Sacks insider deals" come to mind.
    Only asking.

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  • 13. At 09:57am on 15 Nov 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:

    Perhaps the Irish Republic should declare itself a tax haven for the mischievious global Bond Managers?

    Seriously though, perhaps the Euro is always 'on the books' for speculators especially with so much news lately at the G20 about several countries manipulating their own currency to improve their export viability and GDP figures?

    Currency wars will continue. The euro is no different - and RoI is the latest victim of speculators who will expect better returns if the IMF roll-up the debt and ensure cash flow payments on those debts?

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  • 14. At 10:01am on 15 Nov 2010, Mike Dixon Londoner in Spain wrote:

    For anyone interest in the Irish economy I suggest reading the article by Moran Kelly (Professor of Economics at University College Dublin), "If you thought the bank bailout was bad, wait until the mortgage defaults hit home". published in the 'The Irish Times' om the 10th of November.

    Note that the bank bailout was bad.. The past tense - it has already happened during September. "During that month, €55 billion of bank bonds (held mainly by UK, German, and French banks) matured and were repaid, mostly by borrowing from the European Central Bank." And,"During September, the Irish Republic quietly ceased to exist as an autonomous fiscal entity, and became a ward of the European Central Bank."

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  • 15. At 10:03am on 15 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #12


    Nobody likes outsiders looking into their books.

    Particularly when thy're cooked.

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  • 16. At 10:12am on 15 Nov 2010, Mike Dixon Londoner in Spain wrote:

    In my opinion, the answer to your last paragraph is a definite Yes. That is if you believe the Eurozone needs rescue, which I doubt. The economies if Ireland, Greece and Portugal are all to small the rock the boat significantly.

    The real worry in Europe is the British economy which is a real basket case, along with Japan and the United States of America. Fortunately for the Eurozone countries all three are outside it.

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  • 17. At 10:18am on 15 Nov 2010, Commodus wrote:

    In before MAII the prophet of doom spells the end of the euro for the umpfteen time!

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  • 18. At 10:19am on 15 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #4 - powermeerkat

    Your condolences are misplaced. The Royal Bank of Scotland, together with Halifax Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB (registered in Scotland) are all currently controlled by the State as part of the bail out. Scotland do not pick up the tab for this one.

    Significantly, neither Barclays nor HSBC needed to be bailed out. Maybe its a Scottish thing. Arc of prosperity anyone?

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  • 19. At 10:22am on 15 Nov 2010, starofthesouth wrote:

    USA wanted to devalue the $ by QE.

    Could it be, that this rumours about Ireland are used to keep the Euro down?

    We are in a currency war at the same time, as the privat banking sector wants to prevent, that the EU establishes bankrupcy rules for EU states, that forces depreciations for the banks in such a case.

    So, if Ireland busts, then, for the banks, better now, than later, when the banks could be forced to take their share.

    Otherwise: if the banks play this game, why not use it for some time, to fight against the USA dollar devaluating strategy?

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  • 20. At 10:23am on 15 Nov 2010, qmaqdk wrote:

    While reading the article I was surprised to find it rather objective. That is until the following paragraph:

    "Although they are not in the majority there are voices in Ireland questioning why Ireland simply shouldn't restructure its debt, regardless of the consequences for its EU partners. Others are asking: is the potential bail-out about saving Ireland or the euro?"

    Fox News uses the same method in "asking questions" to convey an opinion (e.g. is Obama a US citizen? A muslim?). Mr. Hewitt is not saying the bail-out is about saving the euro, but he is voicing the opinion. Case in point, is Mr. Hewitt ever going to write an objective article?

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  • 21. At 10:48am on 15 Nov 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    qmaqdk (20): Since this is a bailout by the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which is only used by eurozone countries, and which has only been used once before to bailout another PIGS country (Greece), it is self-evidently about saving the euro, or rather the egos of the political class that created the euro. This $500 billion fund is obviously entirely about saving the euro, but that is no more a sensible use of public funds than than the billions thrown away in 1992 to try to keep the pound in the ERM. When the politicians gave up buring that cashpile only the politicians egos were hurt. The UK began the longest period in economic expansion in 300 hundred years, which could be the expected result of Ireland leaving the euro too.

    The euro and EFSF is another political vanity project which a misguided political class have put ahead of the jobs and stable livelihoods of their constituents.

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  • 22. At 10:54am on 15 Nov 2010, cozzy121 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 10:59am on 15 Nov 2010, Ciaran Dearle wrote:

    There is no doubt that the real pressure on Ireland relates not to its own immediate needs but those of other peripheral eurozone members, and especially Portugal. One can guess the pressure that the Portuguese Commission President, Jose-Manuel Barroso, is under from Lisbon to get bond rates down. If that means strong-arming the Irish into accepting a € 50 billion bailout they don't want or immediately need, then so be it.

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  • 24. At 11:01am on 15 Nov 2010, qmaqdk wrote:

    Freeborn John (21): "...which could be the expected result of Ireland leaving the euro too."

    The problems of Ireland aren't suddenly going to magically disappear if they were to leave the euro. And apropos economic expansion, have you forgotten they were called the Celtic Tiger? And that they were part of the eurozone at the same time?

    "The euro and EFSF is another political vanity project which a misguided political class have put ahead of the jobs and stable livelihoods of their constituents."

    Citation, please. I could just as well claim that the pound and the BoE has cost jobs and stable livelihoods of the people of Wales.

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  • 25. At 11:13am on 15 Nov 2010, Lorentz wrote:

    > 2. At 09:26am on 15 Nov 2010, Dempster wrote:

    Unfortunately it is not that simple; this is sovereign debt, which is core to Bank liquidity and the ability of banks to lend. It is also at the core of Pension and Insurance funds. So a default will have a wider impact. One specific example is that of RBS which will be hit by anything up to 50B Euros and thus making it a UK Government problem.

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  • 26. At 11:16am on 15 Nov 2010, Lorentz wrote:

    > 6. At 09:36am on 15 Nov 2010, EuroSider wrote:

    There is no defined mechanism for a country to eave the Euro, and it is generally considered to be non-trivial.

    The Federalism in effect crept in by the back door in May when the EFSF was put in place - contrary to teh provisions of the existing treaties that bar EU member states from providing assistance to other members.

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  • 27. At 11:17am on 15 Nov 2010, starofthesouth wrote:

    Ireland takes great benefits by being a member of the EU and the Euro.

    They are much usefuller bridge for the english speaking world to the common european market, as the UK.

    Obviously, if you are an american, Australian, Canadian, NZ, Asian company with european aspirations, where would you find the ideal place for an european headquarter?

    It should be english speaking, to find employees you could communicate with easily, it should be part of the Euro, to make balancing, accounting and trading with the Eurozone easy, it should have low taxes.

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  • 28. At 11:18am on 15 Nov 2010, Ian_the_chopper wrote:

    Post 13, one of the problems is that Ireland is already a tax haven within the EU with current Corporation tax rates less than half what is paid in the UK, Germany and France.
    Much of the redevelopment of the Docks area in Dublin and the International Finance Centre in particular was based on hot money coming in from these tax tourists.
    If the boom wasn't funded by tax agreements and low tax deals for investment you could argue Ireland wouldn't be in the position it was now.

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  • 29. At 11:29am on 15 Nov 2010, Lorentz wrote:

    > 19. At 10:22am on 15 Nov 2010, starofthesouth wrote:
    USA wanted to devalue the $ by QE.

    "Could it be, that this rumours about Ireland are used to keep the Euro down?

    We are in a currency war at the same time, as the private banking sector wants to prevent, that the EU establishes bankrupcy rules for EU states, that forces depreciations for the banks in such a case."

    The immediate crisis affecting Irish Bonds came about due to the comments made at the end of October by Merkel, Lagarde and others at the heart of Europe, to the effect that Bond holders would take a haircut if a Eurozone nation defaulted.

    On Friday they backtracked, and this is reflected in today's drop in the yield on the Bonds as it is considered to have at least partially addressed concerns. However, the damage has been done, and there are still problems at the banks which mean Ireland will most likely need to go to the EFSF between now and April next year unless the economy turns around. The latter is less likely if the Euro continues to fall (most Irish exports are into the EU so it is more likely to be hit by rising commodity costs).



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  • 30. At 11:36am on 15 Nov 2010, JayPee wrote:

    Firstly, I would agree with Mike Dixon that Prof Kelly's opinion piece in the Irish Times is a must read for anyone wanting to know the true position in Ireland. Here is the link:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/1108/1224282865400.html

    Prof Kelly is usually portrayed by (government) politicians as being alarmist or overly-pessimistic. However, his estimates of the real likely cost of the Irish bank bailout have recently been confirmed. Government politicians here continue to live in their own little fantasy world. For those of you in the UK, traumatised by a less than 5% fall in GDP from peak to trough, keep in mind that Irish GDP has fallen 17%. Whilst UK GDP is now growing again (slowly), in Ireland the economy is flatlining.

    The ONLY way to encourage growth in Ireland is to restructure all debts: sovereign, bank, and household. Again, outsiders need to realise that house values here are down about 50% from their peak, and probably have another 30% or so to fall. There is no mortgage finance, primarily because the banks know they are already sitting on huge write-offs on the existing mortgage book. These losses need to be crystallised and recapitalised. That can only be achieved with ECB help. The ECB is already funding about EUR130 billion of the Irish banks' balance sheets. Without this support, the cash machines would have been turned off here months ago. ECB recapitalisation of Irish banks can only come as part of a wider EU fiscal support package. Without household debt restructuring, consumer spending in Ireland will continue to be hugely depressed, as will growth. Result? A downward spiral of fiscal deficits, requiring more cuts, leading to lower growth/tax revenues, requiring further cuts etc etc.

    There is an interesting article on Bloomberg today, discussing similar issues in Iceland. Here is the link:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-15/imf-says-more-time-needed-to-gauge-iceland-debt-relief-impact-on-finances.html

    The numbers, in terms of people in negative equity, repossessions etc, are not that far away from the Irish experience. Iceland is close to agreeing a debt forgiveness plan (overseen by the IMF), which looks likely to result in a roughly 15% write-off of mortgage debt. I would have a small wager that something similar emerges in Ireland in the next 6 months. I suspect the banks here would like to see something along these lines, in an attempt to put a floor under their potential losses. There are already anecdotal stories in respect of the cost to the banks of repossessions, for instance there is one story doing the rounds of a repossessed property being offered for sale and attracting only one bid of EUR1. Whilst this is excessive, there are plenty of examples in the commercial property sector of 80% falls in value over the last 3 years, and we know that the transfer of development loans from the banks to NAMA involved total write offs of over 50%.

    The only people in Ireland who think the EU will not be running the place in the New Year are the current inhabitants of Government Buildings. Basically, if Angela Merkel says Ireland needs to draw down on the EU support fund, then Ireland will draw down on it.

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  • 31. At 11:55am on 15 Nov 2010, frenchderek wrote:

    The cause of the Irish problems is both a banking (inc mortgages) and political expenditure (civil servants, local government, etc). P O Neill (http:fistfulofeuros) reckons that a culture of "pie-sharing" has taken hold - as the pie has got bigger, so everyone has wanted a bigger piece for themselves (no savings, no balanced budgets).

    How Ireland think they can get out of it alone is beyond me.

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  • 32. At 11:55am on 15 Nov 2010, ChrisRTD wrote:

    There are a good many reports about how Ireland wants to retain its independence and does not want the humiliation of accepting a financial bailout. It is not IRELAND but the existing government here that wants to avoid the humiliation and they are prepared to let the people suffer for their inadequacy.. The vast majority of the people of Ireland would welcome a General Election to get rid of the present government but they have to wait.
    Please do not make the listing of IRELAND in the news reports to include the people of Ireland as well, the problem stems from totally inept and totally aloof politicians.

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  • 33. At 11:58am on 15 Nov 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Qmaqdk (24): The ‘Celtic Tiger’ years were fueled by interest-rates that were too low for Ireland and which encouraged the borrowing binge and property and asset price bubble.

    Ireland’s main trade partner is the UK and its main source of foreign investment in the USA; but it is tied into a monetary policy designed for Germany with the resulting strains being borne by its citizens as deep structural 'boom and busts' of which this is only the first round unless Ireland leaves the eurozone. Ireland should not be in the euro because the one-size-fits-all eurozone monetary policy condemns it to being the most unstable economy on Earth.

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  • 34. At 12:02pm on 15 Nov 2010, ThoughtCrime wrote:

    #2 Dempster, it's all very well to simply write off the debt by defaulting on it. But if the nation subsequently needs to raise more money don't think they'll be able to issue bonds unless they have a positively huge interest rate on them.

    It's not as if countries have been caught short one month by an unexpected bill and need to borrow a few shekels to tide them over like the family faced with an unexpected boiler repair bill. When the entire budget runs at a steady deficit the requirement to borrow money is perpetual. If money can't be borrowed the books have to be balanced overnight, which means political pain and lots of economic pain. When the Greeks are up in arms about partial reductions how do we imagine any other nation to react to vastly more swingeing cuts, especially knowing they are permanent?

    Sadly it seems whatever is done from here is going to hurt. The only question is who it hurts and how badly.

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  • 35. At 12:25pm on 15 Nov 2010, Ian_the_chopper wrote:

    There are some people who might be surprised by the following link (but most of them still believe in the easter bunny and the tooth fairy).

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11755320

    This is part of the problem Ireland faces in that no one really believes anything any government tells them about the state of government finances.

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  • 36. At 12:28pm on 15 Nov 2010, stonebird wrote:

    21. At 10:48am on 15 Nov 2010, Freeborn John wrote: "The UK began the longest period in economic expansion in 300 hundred years, which could be the expected result of Ireland leaving the euro too."

    Damn, missed it.

    yours
    Rip Van wrinkel

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  • 37. At 12:54pm on 15 Nov 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Rip Van Wrinkel(36): The 16 years of UK growth from 1992 - 2008 began the day the UK left the ERM.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/business-news/uk-economy-grinds-to-a-halt-after-16-years-longest-period-of-growth-ends-13948261.html

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  • 38. At 1:11pm on 15 Nov 2010, The_Oncoming_Storm wrote:

    Ireland is an example of what happens when you let a bunch of corrupt politicians take over a successful economy and create a property bubble for the benefit of their developer paymasters while the rest of the country is too busy watching their net worth soaring to realize what's going on.

    Ireland was a genuine success story in the period 1990-2000 which was when the real Celtic Tiger happened. Over the last decade the Fianna Fail led government ignored the hi-tech sector to the benefit of construction and banking and believed that the answer to any problem was simply to throw money at it. Much of the last decade's "growth" was fuelled by highly dubious loans to "Golden Circles" of developers by the likes of Anglo-Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide. As someone said above they don't want outsiders looking too closely at the books or there would be lots of people heading for a spell inside. There was a report the other week that the Gardai investigating Anglo-Irish have asked for more time to complete their investigation as they have been unable to access a number of encrypted computer documents and the former bank employees who wrote them refuse to divulge the passwords. I wonder why???!!!!

    The other reason they don't want a bailout is because the French and Germans would insist that Ireland's corporation tax is hiked to the European average and that would kill off the hi-tech sector which is still doing very well. Ireland currently has a trade surplus and exports are booming, but if the corporation tax is hiked then the multi-nationals who dominate it will largely pull out.

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  • 39. At 1:33pm on 15 Nov 2010, MacTurk wrote:

    Could we please get real?

    a) The Irish government has made it quite clear that it does NOT need to go to the markets until June 2011. And if anyone knows what interest rate will be charged then, or what the discount rate on Irish bonds will be, they should be investing their cash now, not wasting time bloviating on this thread.

    b) The market in Irish bonds is very small(I believe the technical term is "thin"), so small changes in sentiment may cause huge jumps/slumps. The current drop in rates is evidence of this, as was the earlier jump, which was caused mainly by Ms Merkel speaking to her domestic audience.

    c) This is not about the EU, except in as much as it does offer a safety net, which may be needed. Nobody in the EU forced Ireland to pay the public service ridiculously high salaries. Nobody in the EU forced Ireland to blow its cash on a property bubble. There are historical reasons driving that one. Nobody forced us to elect, and re-elect, the current collection of economically illiterate, and economically incompetent, gombeen men, who make up the government of my sorry state.

    d) The fact is that the deficit is large(over 30%), but that can be reduced quite rapidly. Currently, average GNP is still over Euro32,000, down from a peak of euro41, 000 in 2007.

    d) Schadenfreude is all very well, but if you think an Irish default will leave Britain or the wider EU unscathed, you are living in a parallel universe. You will be affected, sterling or not. To quote Mr Osborne at the G20, "We should support the Irish government in the steps that it is taking". The world financial system, like any financial system, runs on confidence.

    e) The UK is NOT Ireland's main trading partner, it is number 3 for exports, slightly below Belgium. The first is the USA. In terms of imports the UK does come first, but for total imports and exports(, it comes in second after the EU. Belgium,Germany and France account for some 29% of Irish exports. The UK takes some 16.3(British Embassy figure). Historically, we were dependent on the UK. We went into the EEC because Britain was goinging in. At that time, 85% of our exports went to Britain. The trend since joining has been a steady decrease in UK-dependency for exports.

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  • 40. At 1:47pm on 15 Nov 2010, James wrote:


    I think we need to remind ourselves how this crisis came about. Why are ordinary families who have been prudent with their finances now having to accept tax rises, job cuts and a £12,000 debt on top of it all?

    The simple fact is that this crisis was not caused by the majority but by a minority of people willing to gamble huge sums on buying overpriced property in the expectation that prices would always rise. Of course, they were all encouraged by the idiotic banks who also believed in this fairy tale and were blinded by potential profit. Little were we to know then that when it didn't work out as they expected, WE would be bailing out the banks and their greedy investors. This is unprecedented! Think about it - taxpayers bailing out failed private companies. Crazy!

    Fast forward to 2010

    The bankers are still claiming their bonuses ("good value" at £7 billion apparently - and remember this is personal wealth, money going into the pockets of individuals, not companies) meanwhile ordinary folk are being made redundant, taking 20% cuts and about to be saddled with a huge amount of debt into the bargain which they will probably never pay off. (what is the interest on a £12k loan?)

    And for what? To who? Take a guess.

    Fast forward to 2013

    Either the people accept their fate and keep funding the already wealthy bankers, investors and shareholders in a crazy attempt to maintain the status quo OR the people simply say "No, I will not accept this. I did not cause this and I will not be held liable for it." Life will still go on. The only losers will be investors who should know that investments are risky and can go down as well as up.

    My Irish friends. Please wake up and stop this wholesale transfer of wealth from the general population into the hands of the already wealthy.

    Fast forward to 2020

    A debt laden Irish economy unable to drag itself out of the black hole, high unemployment, crime, underpaid and over taxed ordinary people trying to keep up payments on their enormous debts and attempting to service their overpriced mortgages while they see wealthy former bankers buying caribbean islands in the sun (with their money).

    OR

    Restructure. Tell the banks and the government to go take a hike. Let the big banks go bust. There are plenty of other smaller banks willing to provide a sensible, sustainable alternative whether it be co-operatives or savings banks. Even ASDA can do it. Let house prices take a hit. It will make mortgages much cheaper in the long run and will mean that your sons and daughters will not be saddled with more debt and in hock to the banks. OK, investors may lose but that's the risk they take when buying overpriced goods. Life will go on, farmers will still grow things, manufacturing will continue, the world will not end.

    Just think about it. Which kind of country do you want to live in?

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  • 41. At 1:54pm on 15 Nov 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:

    It constantly confounds most ordinary people of nations affected by Euro speculation, that so many African nation's debts were 'written off' during the last 6-7 years?

    Yet Government foreign aid has increased and still pours into those nation's corrupt governments. Just a thought.

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  • 42. At 1:55pm on 15 Nov 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    MacTurk (39): The UK is Ireland's main trading partner, far in excess of Germany whose interests have dictated Ireland's monteary policy.

    Exports - partners:

    US 20.52%, Belgium 17.78%, UK 16.31%, Germany 5.66%, France 5.56%, Spain 4.19% (2009)

    Imports - partners:

    UK 35.28%, US 16.87%, Germany 6.76%, Netherlands 5.86%, France 4.76% (2009)

    (source CIA World fact book)

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  • 43. At 1:56pm on 15 Nov 2010, david wrote:

    There is NO crisis in Euroland.
    Just look at the money they intend to spend on a new building in Luxembourg - just so that the eurocrats can shuffle endlessly between that state, Brussels and Strasbourg.
    Nope - no crisis. Business as usual. Spend the money. No-one's going to sign the accounts off anyway, for the seventeenth year in a row...

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  • 44. At 2:15pm on 15 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    threnodio_II wrote:
    #4 - powermeerkat

    Your condolences are misplaced. The Royal Bank of Scotland, together with Halifax Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB (registered in Scotland) are all currently controlled by the State as part of the bail out. Scotland do not pick up the tab for this one.




    Isn't it a shame? :(


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  • 45. At 2:19pm on 15 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mike Dixon Londoner in Spain

    Re #16

    British, Japan and USA Econmoies are the real 'basket-cases'.

    It is remarkable how even now after 12 months of the EUro-zone 15 holding an emergency session every other month, collapsing in on itself every 3 months, having to renegotiate a massive 'Bail-out' package 7 times in the space of 41 days back in the Spring, plus EUro-zone members Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France having to slash Public Spending & Increase Taxes there are still people on this Blog suggesting the real problems lay elsewhere in the World!?

    Do You ever actually read the local press or watch the news over there, Mike?

    Yes, the USA, G.B. & Japan are all in serious crisis too, but its the EUro-zone the 'Markets' have all realised is a flightless duck because the 'one-size-fits-all' strait-jacket of an ECB means the 15 cannot use Interest Rates, Devaluation etc.
    Mike, haven't You got it yet? It is the EUrozone that has 15 Nations all bound together, incapable of independent Fiscal action appropriate to each Nations' assets, debts & needs.

    Only in one respect would I agree with Your perspective: Thank goodness for USA, G.B. & Japan they are not in the 'zone' and as the 'Markets' reveal therefore in much better position to ride out and repair the Economic storm damage than if they had been inside!

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  • 46. At 3:36pm on 15 Nov 2010, phoenix wrote:


    External Debt as % of GDP Source: wiki/CIA factbook
    Italy 101%
    Germany 155%
    Spain 165%
    France 188%
    Portugal 223%
    UK 416%
    Ireland 1004%


    US 98%

    and just to drive home why china is doing so well:

    China 7%

    If the market wolf pack were to go for a major european country, and foreigner deabters decided to call in the Muulah back, top prize for which country will get it in the neck next:

    for clarification on why france is better off see the article

    "The true extent of Britains debt" on the specatator website.

    Somehow internal deficits do not seem quite as important as the external one...Question is...who exatly does Britain owe this money to?


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  • 47. At 4:15pm on 15 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #46

    600 billion extra U.S. dollars printed, 30% tariff imposed on Chinese junk and guess what: China's external debt is going to skyrocket.

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  • 48. At 4:45pm on 15 Nov 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    46. At 3:36pm on 15 Nov 2010, phoenix wrote:
    ...Ireland 1004%
    ...US 98%
    ...and just to drive home why china is doing so well:
    ...China 7%


    The whole Western economic situation makes me think of watching somebody that's dropped a plate and is trying desperately to catch it before it hits the floor. ALMOST grabs it two or three times on its way down...

    As to pheonix' stats: is the conclusion perhaps that debt-free states are the ones that exploit their working classes shamelessly, make them live in dormitories and tell them they're on their own when business gets bad, they get sick, or they get old?

    The asymmetry between China and the west is striking -- and can't last in the long run. Comedians in the U.S. are already referring to the United States as "New China."

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  • 49. At 5:13pm on 15 Nov 2010, ChrisRTD wrote:

    While I applaud all the comments being posted spouting facts and figures and the remedies offered over the fiscal crises in Ireland, the fact remains that the solution so far is completely out of the hands of the ordinary citizen.

    What action can they take?.

    Are they still to put their trust in the people that have led them and the country into this state. When will we get a General Election ?, only recently the courts have ordered a by-election to be held that has been delayed by the present government for the past 17 months.

    James (40) states--

    'My Irish friends, please wake up and stop this wholesale transfer of wealth from the general population into the the hands of the already wealthy'

    and later

    'Tell the banks and government to take a hike'

    How are we to do this?

    Surely the time has come for another uprising in Ireland or is it the fact that the country is governed by Irish people that prevents us from doing this?

    WHAT IF IRELAND WAS STILL UNDER BRITISH RULE? SURELY IT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED QUITE SOME TIME AGO.!!

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  • 50. At 5:29pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Another biased article !

    British banks are hoping to be saved by the Euro parachute for Ireland !

    This convenient omission about Britain´s exposure to Ireland´s mess is DISHONEST !

    -- But normal for UK standards of transparency of the mess it is really in !

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  • 51. At 5:36pm on 15 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re New China/Shanghai inferno: "All of my relatives and friends have been driving to different hospitals! As a family member, what can I do in this situation? How can I calm down?

    "I have only one thing to say - I ask the Communist Party to come and help quickly."




    That's the future superpower for ya, Carpenter.

    Not the U.S., where nobody prays for the Communist Party to come and help quickly. :-(

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  • 52. At 5:47pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #17 Commodus

    Marcus has not been heard off since 8th November on any BBC blog !

    -- extremely worrying !

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  • 53. At 6:04pm on 15 Nov 2010, one step beyond wrote:

    A succinct, balanced and well written article.
    Ireland does have issues but it wants to be given a chance to sort them out themselves. They are being pressured by the E.U. to accept help, one cannot help but think the price for that help will be too high. The Irish fought for their independence, they do not want to give it away now

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  • 54. At 6:19pm on 15 Nov 2010, Trotil wrote:

    Hi to all .
    The main problem about all of this crisis, is that we ( PIIGS and other two-legged animals) have been spending and buying in excess of what we produce. The banking system has always told us " buy now ( borrow from us - and from whoever lends to us ) pay later ". But since the money was wasted in consumption instead of production; there are now huge debts that can only be paid through further borrowing. So the interest rates are going up because the "market" knows how dependent for fresh money certain countries are. Unless the IMF or the EU imtervens and lends money again. Our fantasies are over . "No mon , no fun " i have always been told...

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  • 55. At 6:21pm on 15 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The Irish fought for their independence, they do not want to give it away now."


    Sure, better to become a all out notorious bankrupt.

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  • 56. At 6:22pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #53 One step beyond

    ´ -being pressured by the EU´

    --- NOT by Germany ---more likely Britain !

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  • 57. At 6:37pm on 15 Nov 2010, Joeblo wrote:

    Sounds like Ireland is gonna resist a "bailout" right up to and maybe even past the point of needing one (much like Greece did).

    I expect the ECB to "lie and buy (bonds)" an get an extension up to the next crisis.

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  • 58. At 6:37pm on 15 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 59. At 7:01pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #58 C_C

    Naughty! naughty !

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  • 60. At 7:23pm on 15 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    Well, well - the Oak Tree is back and, in just 4 posts and with no provocation from anyone else, so far we have:

    "Another biased article - but normal for UK standards of transparency of the mess it is really in - being pressured by the EU - NOT by Germany - more likely Britain".

    Nothing of substance, of course. No facts, no opinions really - simply prejudice.

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  • 61. At 7:24pm on 15 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #50

    No comment.

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  • 62. At 7:34pm on 15 Nov 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    I think that the Irish case highlights a one serious problem in the Euro -system that has to be fixed very soon. The problem are banks that are too big and too risky for an individual member state to either regulate or to bailout in a crisis situation.

    What we need to do is to create an European authority that oversees banks and has authority to draw unlimited funds from the ECB to be used to secure and stabilise banking and financial markets including Europeanising of troubled banks and financial institutions. This would be very beneficial to markets as..

    A) ..functioning of the banking system would be guaranteed in every member state in every situation, thus enabling private individuals and companies to operate with higher confidence even in times of bigger economic crisis.

    B) ..the complexity of the system would decrease, when the states and banks would be more separated: bankruptcy of a large bank wouldn't jeopardise finances of a host state, and bankruptcy of a host state wouldn't endanger the functioning of the financial market.

    Of course in the same time there should be strict measures to make sure that banks and financial institutions don't want to be in a too close relationship with the authority. Measures with troubled institutions should include braking off troubled organisations, either by selling them or dismantling them. Last but not least there should be heavy personal liability for both boards and upper management that continues 5 to 10 years after they have left the organisation.

    In my opinion we should create the European authority and fast with the described powers and use it to bail out any distressed banks in the Eurozone. While this basically puts us other Eurozone citizens to pay indirectly for the mistakes of others, it still probably would be more beneficial for us all, as it would stabilise the general economic situation by removing one big source of uncertainty away.

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  • 63. At 7:55pm on 15 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #56

    Ditto #61

    Re #60

    Exactly.

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  • 64. At 8:06pm on 15 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    Jukka.

    The ultimate sanction for any major financial institution that gets into trouble is nationalisation. Now there is absolutely no way that the EU can nationalise anything for the very simple reason that, whatever it may be, it is clearly not a nation. What you appear to want then is a supranational authority which will be able to dip more at less at will into unlimited amounts of the ECBs funds in order to keep afloat banks and other institutions with no guarantee that they can, should it become necessary, take control of the institution. Anyway, the resources of the ECB are not
    infinite.

    There would be huge opposition from non-Euro members so you probably would net get it by the Commission if you tried and in any case, it would require a treaty change which would almost certainly result in the second largest economy in the EU drawing another one of its lines in the sand. Sorry Jukka, nice idea but I think it is a non-starter.

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  • 65. At 8:38pm on 15 Nov 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    MacTurk wrote:
    "The world financial system, like any financial system, runs on confidence. "

    Seldom before have such empty words been written by so many.

    Financial systems run on PRODUCTIVITY.

    They always have, and always will. Any financial system which tries to run on the myth of sentiment, or pure confidence, is nothing more than a short term ponsai scheme.

    The thing is, a child could understand why every financial system MUST be based on productivity, in the medium and long term. If a number of people work hard and make things from raw materials, things get made. they get, in the parlance of human economic activity, "produced'. And when lots of things get produced, other folks can use those things to make more things. And grow more things. And make better things, to make even better and more things, and so on and so forth in a ecstasy of PRODUCTIVITY.

    And the happy bankers in such a society will inevitably hold the real estate and be earning rents from it, whether in the form of mortgages, business rent, or even the value of locally produced food. And so those bankers will estimate their asset values on the basis of what those assets will bring in the market. And the market will estimate the value of those assets based upon the rents or other earnings they bring. And so as the earnings rise, so must the underlying value of the assets in question. Which, inevitably, brings us back to the land upon which the happy society of productive folks reside.

    And when the value of the land upon which happy and productive folks reside increases, so to does the available cash reserves which responsible banks can lend out, to earn more rent via the institution of the mortgage.

    And so it becomes clear that ALL financial systems are based fundamentally upon the productivity of the happy folks who inhabit the land owned by the folks who own the very same financial system.

    Why else do you clowns think empires are built with armies and wars for lucrative and productive territory????

    Does anybody here think empires are built with SENTIMENT???? With mere confidence?????

    It is a ridiculous notion, fit for knaves, fools, economics graduates and party members of the lowest rank.

    And herein lies the great problem for the EU and its happy scheme to generate short term wealth through market fraud.

    The great fraud of the EU has been the value of the euro, and that fraud has been perpetuated by the belief that money created out of thin air is as good as money created by virtue of market forces paying more for real estate.

    Whilst China has been increasing the PRODUCTIVITY of its happy folks and thus the value of its considerable real estate resources, both at home and increasingly abroad, the land poor EU nations have been creating ponsai schemes based upon the value of home mortgages.

    Now if you want to know where this has to end up, that isn't difficult either.

    Consider, the current "plan" is to increase taxes AND, at the same time, collect MORE tax revenue from a GROWING economy. but taxes were already fiendishly high, and everyone knows that capital flees increasing taxes like a cat flees a bath.

    So we have this absurd situation in Europe just now where governments have created a bunch of phoney wealth, and have spent it, and now want it back so they can balance their books.

    Guess what?

    It is GONE. It went. It is in the past tense. It is NO MORE. It IS NOT THERE TO GRABATIZE.

    Governments are cutting spending and increasing taxes, and at the same time they are watching the remaining wealth flee for all it is worth. Because, haha!, business people are not as stupid as governments. they can see the writing on the wall. They know how scant the underlying value of the eurozone is.

    Germany will have no coal in a few short years. The north sea oil is running out, and that which is left belongs to Norway. Investment capital has been flooding into Switzerland so fast the Swiss are more than happy to give up the fools who are still resident in the EU states to their crazed tax authorities.

    All the money is leaving Europe, and the Euro, because the money knows that every financial system is based upon productivity, and everyone can see that Europe is gripped by a political economy that has no choice but to choke the remaining scant productivity to death as it claws desperately for enough taxes to pay the coming interest bills.

    Seriously, if you had money, would you stay in Ireland? Or the EU?

    You folks know all about all that stuff..... let me repeat that delightful phrase ..... ALL THAT STUFF... which y'all imported from china and paid for with magical Euro currency?

    Yeah, well, let me tell you, the folks who made that stuff were productive. Y'all just consumed it in a fantasy fit trying to increase the value of unproductive real estate inhabited by unproductive folks. And hence, China now has the productivity, and the means of production, and you all have assets that are crashing back down to a value that is in keeping with their ability to generate rents.

    Europe is a massive, massive fraud of an economy. And it is getting worse. Soon the crazies in the various parties will increase taxation to the point where you would have been paying less in the soviet union.

    Good luck with that. Don;t forget to vote!

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  • 66. At 8:57pm on 15 Nov 2010, phillipwest wrote:

    Gavin above states the overall debt figure for 2009 for Greece was revised up to 126.8%, while the Wiki source cited by Phoenix in post #46 above states the number is 167%. What am I missing here?

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

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  • 67. At 9:00pm on 15 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #49. At 5:13pm on 15 Nov 2010, ChrisRTD

    Quite so, having been friends with many Southern Irish in Lambeth, it is unbelievable what the Irish government is doing.

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  • 68. At 9:01pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #60 Threnodio

    The point was made by a member of Merkel´s CDU tonight on BBC´s Europe Today !

    This does not appear to be pressure on Ireland from Germany to ask for help.

    ---But possibly from Britain ! -- who unless you forgot, is also in the EU !

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  • 69. At 9:14pm on 15 Nov 2010, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    @52. We should all appreciate the well-earned respite from Macro. Perhaps he's helping Boeing work on the 787?

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  • 70. At 9:17pm on 15 Nov 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio_II (64):

    Why would the non-Eurozone member states reject having an European authority for the Eurozone banks and financial institutions financed and empowered by the Eurozone and the ECB? They don't loose anything, they only gain by having a more stable Eurozone that also helps their economies too recover and grow.

    My guess would be that some opposition would come from some of the Eurozone members that more or less reject the idea of having the ECB print money in a hour of need. Then again the political cost and cost of continuous instability in the markets may be too great for any opposition to last for very long. In any case, I don't see why there would be a need for a treaty change, European Union regulations should be enough to set up the authority.

    In case of financial institutions, nationalisation actually isn't the ultimate sanction. Ultimate sanction is to put people in charge to pay for what they did or caused. Our current recession was for many parts caused by people acting recklessly who to achieve their own short term goals risked the well-being and longevity of their own organisation. Lastly but not least, there is the organisational culture that is at least partly at fault on having the organisation to fail, thus in order to get the message straight, it needs to be killed by shutting or merging the organisation. Those are ultimate sanctions.

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  • 71. At 9:21pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    DT

    I see the soul of Marcus has slipped into the body of DT.

    From plagiarising some of my intelligent witticisims you appear to now be copying Marcus´s style ?

    You could have at least waited until his fate is known or his temperature drops !

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  • 72. At 9:25pm on 15 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #68. At 9:01pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree

    Rubbish, rubbish and more rubbish, this is a desperate attempt to save the Euro, you can call it what you want but that is fact. It is so sad that countries that should never in a million years should be allowed to join a currency for purely political reasons were allowed to, now the crap politicians are trying to save their stupid faces. There were few countries that ever met the convergence criteria for entry to the Euro, yet most fools here still defend the entry and existence of the Euro. You reap what you sow!

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  • 73. At 9:26pm on 15 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #68. At 9:01pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #60 Threnodio

    The point was made by a member of Merkel´s CDU tonight on BBC´s Europe Today !

    This does not appear to be pressure on Ireland from Germany to ask for help.

    ---But possibly from Britain ! -- who unless you forgot, is also in the EU !

    -------------

    Even more pathetic than usual for you

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  • 74. At 9:31pm on 15 Nov 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    Fret not, my Irish friends. Whether your government is good or bad or whater, it does not matter.

    Angie is at the ready, waving the chequebook.

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  • 75. At 9:47pm on 15 Nov 2010, Ian_the_chopper wrote:

    It would appear the Portuguese are hoping the Irish give up the ghost and ask for a bail out before them.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11755197

    It is as if they hope that the Irish will get a kicking economically from the EU and if they go cap in hand after the Irish they will get better terms to stop the domino effect.

    Yet they have the money with Spain to bid to hold the World Cup in 2018.

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  • 76. At 9:48pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    '72 Buzet 23

    Poddy Kasting is the new technology -- or do you live in Belgium ?

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  • 77. At 9:53pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Buzet 23

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/news/2009/03/000000_europe_today.shtml

    You too can Poddy Kast !

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  • 78. At 9:57pm on 15 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #68 - quietoaktree

    "But possibly from Britain ! -- who unless you forgot, is also in the EU"

    But not the Euro zone.

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  • 79. At 10:01pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Durstigerman

    ´Angie is at the ready, waving the checkbook ´

    --- also at Britain ???

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  • 80. At 10:26pm on 15 Nov 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    quietoaktree wrote:
    "From plagiarising some of my intelligent witticisims you appear to now be copying Marcus´s style ? "

    You flatter yourself shamelessly.

    Sit in the corner and count your sins.

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  • 81. At 10:27pm on 15 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #76. At 9:48pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree

    Just remind me where to find your tree.

    Tomorrow try engaging the brain, always assuming you have one.

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  • 82. At 10:38pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #78 Threnodio

    This mess is far from over. British banks bought Irish bonds and other oddities. Britain will have to do its share to again protect the British banks. The argument that Britain will get not involved in saving the Euro (Ireland) will not go down well -- and will be seen for what it is --parasitism .

    As Durstigerman said ´Angie is there with the checkbook´ ---also for British banks and the British taxpayer ?

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  • 83. At 10:41pm on 15 Nov 2010, IrishCommentary wrote:

    46. notes that External Debt as % of GDP Source: wiki/CIA factbook
    Italy 101%
    Germany 155%
    Spain 165%
    France 188%
    Portugal 223%
    UK 416%
    Ireland 1004%

    Consideration ought to be given to the different constituents of External Debt, of which government debt is only one component.

    Irish Government debt at 30 June 2010 was € 80,019 million or 30% of the total external debt of € 1,736,832 million, of which:
    * 671,564 is monetary financial institutions (many of which are currently under the Irish Govt credit guarantee, which was a considerable error by the Government).
    * direct investment at € 262,491 million,
    * other sectors at € 657,082 million,
    * monetary authority € 65,676 million
    (Source: Central Statistics Office, 30 September 2010 quarterly review).

    This is not all sovereign debt and much of this is offset by holdings of assets outside the state (albeit at a reduced value). Bank debt is the current crisis, something that in smaller proportions is a problem for the UK, the US and much of the OECD. For comparison, public debt in Singapore stood at 113.1% of GDP in 2009, although much of this is state firms (CIA World Facts book), Greece at 113.4% (though these figures have been revised upwards by recent EU/IMI accounting reviews), Portugal at 76.9% and by comparison Ireland's Public Debt was at 57.7% of 2009 GDP.

    Ireland is at considerable risk of entering an IMF/EU loan arrangement. Some of this is due to economic mis-management by the present government, principally breadth and depth of the Bank Credit Guarantee scheme and a narrow tax base (focused on property stamp duties), however there is much that is positive in Ireland. It remains a strong exporting nation, with exports of both Pharmaceuticals and ICT growing in 2009 and indigenous food exporters competing strongly in EU and external markets. Yes there are many problems in banking, construction and private debt levels, but as the former head of Intel said on a recent visit to Ireland if they continue to Invest in the future then the economy has a future (see: http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/1115/barrettc.html#video). That future is education of the people, investment in R&D and positive business environment.

    Any loan agreements that the Irish government enter into to manage the current crisis need to balance the problems of today with the need to invest in education and favourable business climate to create the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The success of the past was FDI, the failure of today was importing cheap money and a lust for property investment. The success of the future will be harnessing the entrepreneurial capabilities of an educated workforce building the services and products of tomorrow, such as in ICT, biopharmaceuticals, food and innovations to keep an ageing OECD population healthy and working for longer than today. The building blocks for this future exist in marrying private sector advantages in pharmaceuticals, food and ICT, with public sector investments in education, an exemplar of which is the recent innovation alliance between Ireland’s two top 100 World Ranked Universities University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin (THES 2010 World University Rankings http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2010-2011/top-200.html). This alliance is marrying university R&D and its international partners with both FDI and indigenous manufacturing and services firms specifically to improve the innovation productivity and financial performance of these firms. Investments like this and others are the future path for an Irish recovery. Initiatives like this, if combined with more realistic and modest aspirations of the Irish people from an economic perspective, could create a more balanced, export led economy.



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  • 84. At 10:48pm on 15 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #68

    "This does not appear to be pressure on Ireland from Germany to ask for help.

    ---But possibly from Britain ! --"

    Herr Brok was speculating, as are you. But if its true that the British government and/or banks are somehow pressurising the Irish to take a bail-out to save UK taxpayers money...GOOD! They are doing the job they should be doing.

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  • 85. At 10:52pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #80 DT

    --just remember, you were accorded the highest ´ Order of the Oak´ for distinguished service !

    --and that NOT 29 years ago !

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  • 86. At 11:25pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #84 C_C

    The rest of Europe should take their ´Bob Martins´?

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  • 87. At 11:29pm on 15 Nov 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    65. At 8:38pm on 15 Nov 2010, democracythreat wrote
    "Financial systems run on PRODUCTIVITY."

    I might accept the claim, since no one is defining terms anyway, that financial systems run on the anticipation of -future- productivity.
    But that's just a verbose way of saying: financial systems run on confidence -- or "trust" if you prefer.

    Best to leave pontification to the Pontiff, democracythreat. He has the proper costumes for the job.



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  • 88. At 11:30pm on 15 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #62 - Jukka Rohila

    "What we need to do is to create an European authority -" was what you wrote rather than Eurozone. However, I realise now that you clarified it. I apologise.

    #80 - democracythreat

    I would call him out if I were you. "Plagiarising (your) witticisims"? The cheek of the man! (Perhaps he meant witicisms?)

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  • 89. At 11:46pm on 15 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    65 Democracy writes:
    "You folks know all about all that stuff..... let me repeat that delightful phrase ..... ALL THAT STUFF... which y'all imported from china and paid for with magical Euro currency?
    Yeah, well, let me tell you, the folks who made that stuff were productive. Y'all just consumed it in a fantasy fit trying to increase the value of unproductive real estate inhabited by unproductive folks. And hence, China now has the productivity, and the means of production, and you all have assets that are crashing back down to a value that is in keeping with their ability to generate rents.
    Europe is a massive, massive fraud of an economy
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 2010:
    German data show that the country's exports to China rose by 7 percent. The Federal Statistical Office said Monday Germany exported goods worth euro36.5 billion ($49.4 billion) to China in 2009.
    Exports from Europe's biggest economy totaled euro808.2 billion - about $1.1 trillion. China has reported 2009 exports of more than $1.2 trillion.
    The statistical office said the most popular German export to China last year was machines - up 4.3 percent to euro11 billion.
    In second place were vehicles and vehicle parts - exports of which soared 18 percent to reach euro6.4 billion.
    Population:
    China 1.3 billion
    Germany 81 million

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  • 90. At 11:48pm on 15 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #88 Threnodio

    Man ?

    At least C_C sees the problem if Germany and other European countries takes Britain to task !

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  • 91. At 00:14am on 16 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    '- also at Britain ??? - parasitism?'

    Give it a rest Oak Tree.

    I will explain it once and once only. Are you sitting comfortably?

    When the Icelandic banking system collapsed, a number of major British investors were badly burned - especially local authorities and pension funds. Understandably, there was a great deal of anger in the UK that these investments were wildly oversold and there was very little in the way of redress. In contrast with Iceland, the Irish government made it absolutely clear that it would guarantee overseas banking deposits and they have been as good as their word taking steps similar to those taken in the UK when action was needed. You would do well to remember at this point that the Royal Bank of Scotland remains in public ownership and they will have been pursuing a far more conservative investment strategy than the one that nearly brought them down at the beginning of the crisis. One such strategy is to invest in government bonds, both UK and overseas. All the time that the Irish government was in a position to underwrite both its own and its banks investments, they would have appeared safe. What is more, while the credit rating agencies changing their ratings might signal cause for disquiet, it still has the effect of driving up the yield which can make them more attractive. However, if the Irish government is pushed to the point where it has to default on sovereign debt, that casts an altogether darker shadow over the situation. If the British government in its capacity as the major shareholder in RBS has continued to show confidence in the Irish by buying their bonds, they are entitled to expect that the Irish will take the necessary steps to protect these investments and if the perception is that the Irish economy is teetering on the brink and a lifeline is available, the British will understandably hope that they will take it. If this amounts to pressure, so be it although I sense that 'encouragement' would be a more appropriate turn of phrase. Where you get this absurd notion that this is in some way 'parasitic' is probably something you should take up with your analyst.

    Now, while we are on the subject, the Conservative party campaigned at the last election on a platform to reduce public expenditure, cut down the size of government and do something to reduce the size of the 'black hole' in public finances. As it turns out, they went into a coalition but seem to have convinced their Liberal partners of the wisdom of this policy. To read some of the comments on this blog, you would think that the measures currently being adopted were some kind panic measures. They are, in fact, an election pledge which is now being put into effect. Nothing more, nothing less.

    In the improbable event that the British economy was on the verge of collapse, they would in fact go to the IMF, not the ECB, for the very obvious reason that they are not in the Eurozone. That the UK continues to have a triple A rating with the credit agencies along with the fact that government bond continue to sell at auction strongly suggests that nobody who knows what they are talking about believes this is going to happen. However there will always be those who wouldn't know a gold ingot from a stick of rock and have all the time in the world to write cheap shots on blogs who think otherwise.

    Now go and have a lie down and think about it for once.

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  • 92. At 00:15am on 16 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #86

    "The rest of Europe should take their ´Bob Martins´?"

    I have no idea what that is.

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  • 93. At 00:20am on 16 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    """An announcement is expected today revealing that Greece's deficit figure is higher than declared and that it won't reach its declared target for deficit reduction this year. Greece has robustly embraced austerity measures but its tax receipts are down."""

    Ho ho ho, Merry Christmass! I had said some months back that Jeffrey will move the figure up as down the the basics the Greek debt and its incurrent deficit are so intricate implicit and complicated that can be shown to be of a deficit of anything from 5% up to 25%. I might had forseen this but then I would be extremely ambitious if I ever wanted to pass as a prophet for such a predictable thingie.... Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey... what are we supposed to do with this little man? He is more willing to make it bigger so as to sell to his bosses a... bigger reduction... I am not kidding - himself said that today: "The debt was bigger but then our measures made a bigger reduction! What a logic! People should take him out of circulation by any means... all means are legitimate at this point.

    Poor Ireland, at least they do not have Jeffreys there, do they? Not sure, Jeffrey is inimitable. Purebred Massahusets stuff, the real thing! Him and Springsteen.

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  • 94. At 00:24am on 16 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #89

    margarethoward;

    That cant be right...Europe makes nothing and exports nothing....democracythreat said so. I mean, 5 of the top 10 worlds biggest exporters are in the EU, and the EU itself is the biggest exporter, even accounting for internal trade. But, that cant be right...democracythreat said so.

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  • 95. At 00:30am on 16 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    QOT

    By the way, Elmer Brok is a member of the European Parliament. He is not in the German government and has no authority to speak for it. For the sake of clarity, a government minister is someone who gets quite well paid for saying what he is told too. An MEP is paid a King's Ransom for saying what he damn well likes. OK?

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  • 96. At 00:33am on 16 Nov 2010, IrishCommentary wrote:

    #89 makes good points about trade with China using German data. The situation for Irish trade (January to July 2010 as per Central Statistics Office data) also puts in context current direct trade with China relative to other trading partners:

    € millions from January to July 2010 as per CSO Ireland.
    Exports by Ireland to: -- Imports by Ireland from:
    EU € 30,123.9 million (exports) -- € 14,990.8 million(imports)
    Worldwide € 21,321.5 million -- € 11,291.8 million
    Examples ...
    China € 1,428 million (exports by Ireland to China) -- € 1,406.2 million (imports by Ireland from China)
    USA € 11,606.8 -- € 4,611.1
    UK € 7,774.9 -- € 7,813.4
    Belgium € 8,331.5 -- € 570.0
    Germany € 3520.6 -- € 1,866.1
    France € 2,587.0 -- € 1,050.1

    Conclusion: yes China is an important trading partner for Ireland, but it is not the most important partner at an operational level, which continues to be the UK, US and EU countries. Similarly our major bond holders are UK, US, EU, not China. China is a key economy in the world, but it is not the only productive economy in the world. In the 1980s all spoke of the rise of South Korea and Japan, in the 1990s the future was the Eastern Bloc countries, today it is China. As with prior growing economies China will be a key part of the future global economy, but like prior examples it will have bumps on the road of growth. Ultimately, it is hoped that China will become a major, stable economic force, but it will not be the only economic player. There will continue for some time to be a role for EU countries in global trade, of which Ireland will be a small but hopefully innovative net exporter or traded goods and services.

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  • 97. At 00:36am on 16 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #90

    "At least C_C sees the problem if Germany and other European countries takes Britain to task !"

    There is no problem. The British government is obliged to look after British interests, not Irish or German. If Ireland is on the brink of bankruptcy then several British banks (some themselves bailed out with taxpayers money) would lose (I'm guessing) billions. It is their absolute duty to make sure that doesnt happen, even if that means putting the squeeze on Ireland. I dont want it to happen, nor advocate it, but no one would shed a tear if Britain went cap-in-hand to the IMF. In fact, if Britain needed a bail-out, not only would anyone shed a tear but the world would reverberate with laughter.

    So why should Britain do anything other than what is in its best interests?

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  • 98. At 00:40am on 16 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #92 - champagne_charlie

    ´Bob Martins´ is a conditioning medication for dogs which, I believe, greatly enhances the nutritional value of what they deposit on oak trees.

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  • 99. At 00:47am on 16 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    89. At 11:46pm on 15 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    German data show that the country's exports to China rose by 7 percent.
    The Federal Statistical Office said Monday Germany exported goods worth euro36.5 billion ($49.4 billion) to China in 2009.

    Germany 81 million / exports: 800 billion euros
    China 1.3 billion / exports: 1200 billion dollars = 880 billion euros

    ---------------------------------

    Hmmm... at first sight figures of Germany are impressive. A nation of 81 million people produces almost as much as a country more thank 13 times more populous.

    However, figures are blatant:

    While nothing can be concluded, China might as well have just started. In many ways its productivity is in its infancy. However there is nothing out there to suggest that Chinese won't strive to achieve the productivity their Asiatic neighbours Japanese and Koreans achieved, afterall China has always been the big mummy, not them! So it is quite evident that Chinese might as well achieve at least half the productivity of the Germans and that in a linear way would mean that at some point in near future you might as well have:


    Germany 81 million / exports: 800 billion euros
    China 1.3 billion / exports: 6000 billion euros

    Sounds illogical? You are wondering where Chinese will sell products? Have you ever visited Indonesia? 200 million people are OK for you? Vietnam? 80 million people? Pakistan 150 million and counting? 60 here, 50 there, 120 there you end up having a whole new China.

    When Germany will have around it the likes of little PIGS as client importers, China will have all those huge countries. And the likes of Indonesia will buy Chinese, not German. One BMW and one Mercedes won't bring any change. That is for now, for the next few years. From then on, party over.

    If EU will keep on revolving around Germany's drug addiction it will permanently lose the train and will end up the world's backwaters. I know there are out there much more beautiful Kassandras than me - I personally do not consider this outcome a fatality: Europe can still present a 550 million block that can still continue to develop its productive basis. What hinders it is its geopolitical dependances.

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  • 100. At 01:04am on 16 Nov 2010, ptsa wrote:

    66. At 8:57pm on 15 Nov 2010, philipwx wrote:
    Gavin above states the overall debt figure for 2009 for Greece was revised up to 126.8%, while the Wiki source cited by Phoenix in post #46 above states the number is 167%. What am I missing here?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_external_debt
    ------
    This wiki source is a bit different, it just shows each country's EXTERNAL debt, both private and public. Not the same as just public debt in general, but gives you a nice perspective of other countries living beyond their means - and not only the government part, but their citizens too.

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  • 101. At 01:22am on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #98 Threnodio

    Conditioning ?

    --Wrong product ---try again !

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  • 102. At 01:51am on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #97 C_C

    That is one of my points.

    Tonight Cameron spoke at the Lord Mayor´s London Banquet --- Delusions of past and future Grandeur !

    --- Who but the British continually put themselves in such a mocking position if things go wrong ?

    Humility is not weakness --Hubris is !



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  • 103. At 02:22am on 16 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #102

    Unprintable derisory comment.

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  • 104. At 02:35am on 16 Nov 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    27. At 11:17am on 15 Nov 2010, starofthesouth wrote:
    " ...

    Obviously, if you are an american, Australian, Canadian, NZ, Asian company with european aspirations, where would you find the ideal place for an european headquarter? ..."

    EUpris: How about from Canada? Manage everything from outside the "EU" to avoid paying taxes to a lousy dictatorship!

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  • 105. At 02:49am on 16 Nov 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    95. At 00:30am on 16 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    " ...

    An MEP is paid a King's Ransom for saying what he damn well likes. OK?"

    EUpris: I don't think so. What I have read elsewhere is that if you are an opponent of the "EU"-Dictatorship and tell the truth, you get fined or threatened with court action.

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  • 106. At 03:03am on 16 Nov 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    318. At 11:26am on 15 Nov 2010, starofthesouth wrote:

    "@ 316

    In Germany, the European Justice is not allowed to over rule german constitution or german constitutional court.

    Maybe the lack of a constitution is a problem for the UK, I don't know."

    EUpris: The problem s that we have not told them to take their treaties, stick them in a pogo-stick, wrap that in sand paper, blady-blady-blah and bounce until the end of time.

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  • 107. At 03:33am on 16 Nov 2010, sayasay wrote:

    @100, ptsa “...EXTERNAL debt, both private and public. Not the same as just public debt in general, but gives you a nice perspective of other countries living beyond their means - and not only the government part, but their citizens too.”

    Suggest you ignore the private debt. I have seen how it worked in Indonesia during the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997. At that time, rich businessmen borrow from overseas either to reduce their tax liability or to hedge their domestic income-generating assets.

    For all we know they could be lending to themselves via overseas companies or through guarantees to the lending banks. These loans come with usurious rates which were offseted against their income, hence, reducing their local tax liability. Even with withholding tax on the foreign earned interest, the net effect was positive tax savings.

    Other businessmen, fearing catastrophes that might hurt the value of their income-generating assets but desiring to benefit from the current high returns, would collateralised their assets to the foreign banks for loans. The 1997 financial crisis proved them right. There was no need to find buyers for the distressed assets to pay off their loans. IMF provided the funds to the Indonesian Government to nationalise the defaulting local companies, the foreign banks got paid off their loans. The rich businessmen were dispossessed of their assets, declared bankrupt but with safe hefty bank balances in their overseas accounts.


    These justify the main focus on public debt to non-residents. Figuring out accounting hanky-panky is just too much work.

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  • 108. At 06:57am on 16 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    98. At 00:40am on 16 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    "´Bob Martins´ is a conditioning medication for dogs which, I believe, greatly enhances the nutritional value of what they deposit on oak trees."

    You can tell i've never had a cat or dog!

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  • 109. At 07:21am on 16 Nov 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    70% of germany's economy is the services sector. (ie financial services)

    Most of the exports are to EU countries.

    In any case, if you argue that german industry has done well out of the EU, I'd be the first to agree.

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  • 110. At 07:22am on 16 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #102

    "Tonight Cameron spoke at the Lord Mayor´s London Banquet --- Delusions of past and future Grandeur !"

    If anyone actually wants to know what Cameron said, instead of quietoaktrees inaccurate summary, here is the transcript. First prize goes to anyone who can find anything relating to Britains "past ...grandeur".

    http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/speeches-and-transcripts/2010/11/speech-to-lord-mayors-banquet-57068













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  • 111. At 07:35am on 16 Nov 2010, one step beyond wrote:

    The reason I think the European commission has been pressurising Ireland is that they have form for it. It was not that long ago the people of Ireland made the brave decision to reject the Lisbon Treaty. They were then pressurised to re-run the referendum and get a different result.
    In case any one has forgot the Lisbon treaty was supposed to make the E.U. more efficient and nothing to do with increased powers or role of the E.U. This new efficiency it now appears requires a 6% plus increase in the E.U budget to finance the increased role of the E.U.

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  • 112. At 08:09am on 16 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #109

    democracythreat;

    That little snippet from wikipedia doesnt change the facts...the EU area exports $2 trillion worth of "machinery, motor vehicles, aircraft, plastics, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, fuels, iron and steel, nonferrous metals, wood pulp and paper products, textiles, meat, dairy products, fish, alcoholic beverages" to OUTSIDE the European Union.

    CIA World Factbook- as of Nov 3 2010

    Now, how is that a "massive massive fraud" of an economy?

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  • 113. At 09:07am on 16 Nov 2010, jww41005 wrote:

    Dempster post Nº 2 - In actual fact I think the US debt is the biggest. The last I heard each citizen owed nearly $80.000. All that money was borrowed from the Federal Reserve bank, which happens to be a private bank, partly owned by 'Lord Rothschild'. As for the poor members of the EU, they were allowed to borrow 'too much'. There is also large scale corruption in these countries, and bad management. Finally, lets not forget that the crisis was not provoked by the EU.

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  • 114. At 09:29am on 16 Nov 2010, russell wrote:

    most of the people i speak to think that ireland greece portugal etc should ditch the euro and regain their independence and not allowing graveytrain mep's to dictate

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  • 115. At 10:54am on 16 Nov 2010, one step beyond wrote:

    From the BBC news -
    'The European Union is in a "survival crisis" over the eurozone's debt problems, the EU president has warned.'
    I do not know if it is as bad as he paints it, I always have a nagging suspicion that the E.U. hierarchy wants a crisis and then suggests the only way to deal with it is closer integration. I certainly do not want the euro to fail, it would be an economic disaster for europe and the world.
    However they do need to look at the underlying issues that add to the problems. One size interest rate does not suit all, what is good for Germany and France was not good for Ireland, Portugal Greece etc. Once the immediate crisis is over it may be that some of the struggling countries do need to look at an orderly withdrawal from the Euro to give them fiscal control of their own economies. But this will not be easy, but if not tackled it will become a recurring problem.

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  • 116. At 11:00am on 16 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    starofthesouth wrote:
    " ...

    Obviously, if you are an american, Australian, Canadian, NZ, Asian company with european aspirations, where would you find the ideal place for an european headquarter? ..."

    EUpris: How about from Canada? Manage everything from outside the "EU" to avoid paying taxes to a lousy dictatorship!


    A little too far perhaps.

    But how 'bout Lichtenstein?

    Centrally located, highest GDP per person in the world.


    Although people in Andorra (another possible location) live much longer.

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  • 117. At 11:08am on 16 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The European Union is in a "survival crisis" over the eurozone's debt problems, the EU president has warned.

    Speaking hours before eurozone ministers meet to address threats to the bloc's economic stability, Herman Van Rompuy said that if the euro failed, so too would the EU." (BBC News)

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  • 118. At 11:29am on 16 Nov 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #117 powermeerkat

    I repeat " Van Rompuy says that if the Euro failed , so too would the EU ".

    Brilliant News !!! Roll on the Day !!!

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  • 119. At 11:31am on 16 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #115. At 10:54am on 16 Nov 2010, one step beyond

    I think your analysis is probably very accurate, so far it has never mattered what the question was as the answer is always 'ever closer union', whilst the EU ship sinks with the multiple Captains (presidents) at the helm.

    As for the Euro, the stronger member states are now paying the price for the political ambitions that allowed many to enter the Euro without meeting the convergence criteria that was supposedly an obligation. How they withdraw is a bit of a conundrum, they're dammed if they stay in and it'll cost a lot to leave (money they don't have).

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  • 120. At 11:50am on 16 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #118. At 11:29am on 16 Nov 2010, Huaimek

    Maybe, just maybe, some of those brilliant intellectuals (rofl) that are our politicians might remember that there exists an alternative to a federal EU, a confederate association of sovereign states. They can still get their snouts in the public trough discussing common agreements but the infernal commission, council, EP, ECJ and European court of Human Rights must be disbanded.

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  • 121. At 11:52am on 16 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #117 #118

    He then went on to say "Mr Van Rompuy said he was "very confident" the problems could be overcome."

    Selective quote syndrome.

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  • 122. At 11:52am on 16 Nov 2010, one step beyond wrote:

    Re post 119, agree with you, it will not be easy either way

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  • 123. At 11:54am on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #110 C_C


    ´We have the resources – commercial, military and cultural – to remain a major player in the world. We have the relationships – with the most established powers and the fastest-growing nations – that will benefit our economy. And we have the values – national values that swept slavery from the seas, that stood up to both fascism and communism and that helped to spread democracy and human rights around the planet – that will drive us to do good around the world.

    With these strengths in our armoury we can drive our prosperity, we can increase our security, we can maintain our integrity.

    We are choosing ambition. Far from shrinking back, Britain is reaching out. And far from looking back starry-eyed on a glorious past, this country can look forward clear-eyed to a great future.´

    ´-- And far from looking back starry-eyed on a glorious past´ ---which he just did !!!!

    --- As in the other passages on UK Greatness (past, present and future).

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  • 124. At 11:59am on 16 Nov 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #40 James

    Well Said !!! I agree with you , let some banks go to the wall !

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  • 125. At 12:10pm on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #110 C_C

    --And as Cameron said --The UK is in the EU ´until death do you part ´

    -once some contributors accept this axiom we can move on from childish nationalism !

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  • 126. At 12:17pm on 16 Nov 2010, Fergal wrote:

    Hello room....Fergal from Ireland here....

    I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of Irelands impending bankruptcy, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

    At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of all us Irish people. That is the will of this nation.

    Ireland and the EU, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death our native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.

    Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen doubht over this island nation, we shall not flag or fail.

    We shall go on to the end, we shall cut costs in tourism,
    we shall cut costs on the seas and oceans,
    we shall hope with growing confidence and growing strength that these measures work,
    we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
    we shall save money by not cleaning up the beaches,
    we shall save money by not cleaning up on the landing grounds,
    we shall work harder for less money in the fields and in the streets,
    we shall work harder for less money on the hills;
    we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it was broke and starving, then our people beyond the seas, armed and guarded with bigger wallets then those at home, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time and hopefully never, the EU, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the stabelization of our great nation.

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  • 127. At 12:18pm on 16 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    #117 HUaimek

    powermeerkat

    I repeat " Van Rompuy says that if the Euro failed , so too would the EU ".

    Brilliant News !!! Roll on the Day





    The day is not over yet, though, Huaimek.

    Let's calmly wait and see.

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  • 128. At 12:28pm on 16 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    champagne_charlie wrote:
    #117 #118

    He then went on to say "Mr Van Rompuy said he was "very confident" the problems could be overcome."





    Certainly. How else can a leader boost his troops sinking morale?


    "German Army is currently orderly withdrawing on pre-planned positions"


    ["We shall overco-o-o-me! We shal overco-o-ome,..
    deep in my heart I do believe that we shall overcome some day"]

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  • 129. At 12:53pm on 16 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Fergal

    re #126

    Good stuff mate.

    Suitably light-hearted spoof rhetoric: Not so much Paddy Winston, as Winnie Pooh!

    Good luck, hope it all turns out alright, not least cos a hefty chunk of Ireland's debt is with the already hard-pressed UK!

    Cheers

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  • 130. At 12:56pm on 16 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #125

    So childish, no 4yr old's reply available.

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  • 131. At 12:58pm on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #126 Fergal

    --- If it does´nt rain ?

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  • 132. At 1:04pm on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 133. At 1:17pm on 16 Nov 2010, john wrote:

    The Euro
    A half way house and the first answer of the comment by Euro side is not a options.
    The time as come for Europe to create our destiny let us have a central fiscal control one financial market for all the EU let make the Euro become
    The Prima currency in the world.
    Let us take control back from a market control by the USA which believe only on greed - profit at any cost for the USA the rest of the world is like pieces on the chessboard to be used to win the game.
    Giovanni

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  • 134. At 1:39pm on 16 Nov 2010, James wrote:


    #49 ChrisRTD wrote:

    #40 James:

    'My Irish friends, please wake up and stop this wholesale transfer of wealth from the general population into the the hands of the already wealthy'

    and later

    'Tell the banks and government to take a hike'

    How are we to do this?

    Well Chris, you could start by ensuring that your elected representatives (themselves rich men with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo) do not ask for any more money from the ECB. This would just be like pouring money down a drain and will only add to the debt yet to be paid back by the people of Ireland.

    Another way would be to boycott paying any more taxes until you are certain the money is being used wisely by the government. Remember the Poll Tax?

    A third way would be turn up on the streets and make your voice heard!

    Revolution?

    Let's hope the politicians see sense and it doesn't come to that.

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  • 135. At 2:17pm on 16 Nov 2010, Paulo Casaca wrote:

    Euro: Overcoming Deauville
    George Papandreou warning that chancellor Merkel plans for the Euro are a recipe for bankruptcy (Financial Times, November the 16th, first page. Politely, as he was speaking in Paris, he did not mention that chancellor Merkel plans were fully approved by President Sarkozy in Deauville.)
    had actually been tried by the President of the European Central Bank, Jean Claude Trichet in the last European Summit, but the heads of state wouldn’t want to listen.
    Deauville Franco-German bankruptcy plans – ostensibly to be activated only after 2013 – are a self-fulfilling prophecy for disaster and, till the moment someone with more political clout than George Papandreou will stand up and say so loudly, not only Greece, Ireland and Portugal, but the whole Euro-area risk bankruptcy.
    The Irish crisis was particularly important for showing how absurd the original Maastricht Treaty idea that a common currency could be sustained if only public finances would be in tight control was, and yet, everyone decided not to see the evidence, and quite on the contrary, the European Commission paved the way to the Deauville folly by proposing a regulatory heavy package that focus attentions even more on public finances.
    In the Euro area – as otherwise also in the Global Area although for different political reasons– there is an imbalance crisis made of three main ingredients: (1) trade and account structural imbalance; (2) financial bubbles and (3) public debt. All of them are crucial, interrelated and have to be addressed together.
    The German trade surplus – that has been in the recent past outpacing even the Chinese – together with the corresponding structural trade deficits of most of the Euro periphery are fully unsustainable and have to be addressed as a priority;
    The incapacity of the European Central Bank and its member’s national branches in tackling the European financial bubbles was comparable to the US Federal Reserve failure. The solution is not to make new overseeing committees; it is for the ECB to do a proper job of regulator.
    Only a proposal that will address the whole of the economic imbalances and that will provide economic governance for the Euro-area can be a long term solution to the present crisis
    Paulo Casaca

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  • 136. At 2:18pm on 16 Nov 2010, Fergal wrote:

    cheers cool...
    we used to feel sorry for our westerly neighbour too...rained worse there...then they had a massive banking crises that totally made them go under......it was long ago and banks were different then...sometimes I wonder how Atlantis is doing these days....wonder if they ended up mass producing that underwater breathing apparatus

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  • 137. At 2:28pm on 16 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "we shall save money by not cleaning up the beaches,
    we shall save money by not cleaning up on the landing grounds,
    we shall work harder for less money in the fields and in the streets,
    we shall work harder for less money on the hills"


    (And yet, even then) we we shall never surrender (to the totalitarians).

    [nope, not Churchill]

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------NEVER IN HISTORY OF HUMAN CONFLICT HAVE SO MANY SURRENDERED SO MANY RIGHTS TO SO FEW. WITHOUT A FIGHT.

    (a tribute to Jose Manuel Barroso)

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  • 138. At 2:33pm on 16 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Giovanni/John

    Re #133

    "...let us have a central fiscal control one financial market for all the EU.."

    In a word: No!

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  • 139. At 2:34pm on 16 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    At 1:04pm on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    #128 Powermeerkat

    -- its diaper-change time !






    Oops! I forgot.

    Sorry to make you uncomfortable.


    [what was the name of that medication threnodio II has mentioned?]

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  • 140. At 3:16pm on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #139 Poweremeerkat

    He takes ´Bob Martins ´

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  • 141. At 3:30pm on 16 Nov 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The governments should do to the banks what the banks did to the people. Send them a letter and state that they are reducing their accounts by 30%. Just repudiate a portion of the debt. It is the only way the banks will be held accountable for their criminal lending and resultant economic collapse. Or, nationalize the banks until the crisis is over....maybe longer. Why should debts be passed on to future generations to satisfy the greed of bankers? It is hard to defend this system when the bankers giving all their bad loans to the governments and the governments own a big portion of the banks. They keep wanting to pretend that this criminal enterprise actually works to some benefit to society.

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  • 142. At 3:49pm on 16 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #123

    quietoaktree;

    Congratulations! You win!

    You correctly identified the 3 summary paragraphs out the 76 in the transcript. A years subscription of "The curse of Recency" magazine is in the mail.

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  • 143. At 3:49pm on 16 Nov 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    What's all this fuss about Ireland (or whomever) going bankrupt?

    There is nothing to worry about, comrades, as I can attest having lived through a number of similar events.

    In one case, in 1998 -- as some might remember, during the previous financial crisis which was centered mainly in Asia, my country (Russia) defaulted on its debts, i.e. became technically bankrupt.

    But...

    ...the whole uncertainty and anxiety lasted only about two weeks... after which companies and enterprises resumed work like nothing happened and a real growth set it, the likes of which had never been seen before, about 10 percent per year for 10 years!!

    And now 12 years later there is virtually no debt, the coffers are full to overflowing, everything's in good shape -- we're plodding along happily (more or less).

    So bailouts, bankruptcies are not as scary as some would want us to believe, not much sense in avoiding one at all costs and getting deeper and deeper in... well... guano. there are opportunities all there own in times of crises too.

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  • 144. At 4:01pm on 16 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Everything's fine as long as you don't have to pay off your creditors.

    If I remember correctly a certain coutry still did not compensate owners/shareholders of western companies it illegally nationalized after a Communist takeover.


    Now, imagine its predicament if it eventually would be forced to do so.

    For example before being admitted WTO.

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  • 145. At 4:25pm on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #142 C_C

    The BBC played them last night -- trumpets and all !

    --- so no honors from my side .

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  • 146. At 4:30pm on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #143 Norman Conquest

    Guinness is a raw material ?

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  • 147. At 4:58pm on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #144 Powermeerkat

    Was Germany was forced to repay American companies for being bombed by America and its allies for loss of business (and properties) in Nazi Germany ?

    Question !

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  • 148. At 5:30pm on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Powermeerkat

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/uscos.html

    --here is a start for your research !

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  • 149. At 6:56pm on 16 Nov 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio_II (88):

    Didn't you get the memo? ... Gosh darnit! I specifically asked Bob to make sure that everybody got it!

    To cut short, we decided to stop calling European Union as Europe, it was apparently driving some people mad. We instead decided to call the Eurozone as Europe. So from this point on every time you hear someone speaking about Europe what is actually meant is the Eurozone... Okey? ...You got it?! Great!!!

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  • 150. At 6:56pm on 16 Nov 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    146. At 4:30pm on 16 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #143 Norman Conquest

    Guinness is a raw material ?

    +++
    quietoaktree,


    It's even better. It's a product! All Ireland needs to do is to inculcate a taste for it into the Chinese and/or Indians. Bingo! Problem solved!

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  • 151. At 7:09pm on 16 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #147

    Close to the mad greek's barking.

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  • 152. At 7:42pm on 16 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Norman Conquest

    Re #143

    In February 1998 I 'plodded' around Moscow and St.Petersburg plus some points in between for a few weeks.

    I don't recall it being quite as "..nothing happened..".

    As I related to WebAlice in some previous blogs I walked among literally thousands of poverty stricken, homeless, starving mostly Old Age Pensioners with no pension. I saw little & teenage girls & boys being openly sold from black limousines, and in my hotel the lady night-walkers gave graphic descriptions of the hardship that led qualified professional people to sell themselves. Limbless Veterans of Afghanistan standing on crutches in the middle lane of Nevsky Prospect for traffic to slow & hand over coins. My In-Tourist guide taking me to her home to meet her retired Soviet Space Research Scientist mother whose weekly 300 Rouble Pension was then exchanging at 35 Rouble to 1 British Pound & her Rent was 1,000 Rouble & rising. On the day I left my hotel I gave my room maid a packet of Mars mini-bars and she cried because her children hadn't seen chocolate for ages!

    Yes, I know and accept it is all supposedly a lot better now for the great majority, but the harrowing scenes were the worst I'd seen outside of East Africa 2 decades earlier.

    The 'new' Russia is restoring its economic & social standing: Albeit with a somewhat dubious 'political' leadership, but the Yeltsin decade was not as easy as You imply.
    I rejoice that the Russian Federation is finding its way and the majority of the great Russian people are rebounding with pride and prosperity from that truly dark era.
    All the same, I think Your account of 1998 Russia was a tad too glib when all things are considered.

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  • 153. At 8:07pm on 16 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #149. At 6:56pm on 16 Nov 2010, Jukka Rohila

    I could not agree more, now I await your assurance that no country not in the Eurozone will be asked to contribute for the sake of solidarity to a future bail-out, as if I recall correctly the European Stability fund agreement recently included non-Eurozone countries.

    Please give you absolute assurance that you will all sink together without the life-raft of others not foolish enough to use the Euro.

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  • 154. At 8:09pm on 16 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:


    114 russellbibby wrote:
    " most of the people i speak to think that ireland greece portugal etc should ditch the euro and regain their independence and not allowing graveytrain mep's to dictate"

    I would imagine that you are quite young and have no experience of the living conditions and financial positions of the three countries you mention pre EU.
    I travelled extensively in Ireland and Portugal during the 60's and the poverty and backwardness to European eyes were astonishing and distressing. In Ireland little children in many small towns were begging ouside tourist hotels in ragged clothes and bare feet. Because of the exodus of its young people, mostly to America, due to rampant unemployment after centuries of exploitation and neglect by Enlish landowners and their government, the countryside was left unfarmed and whole villages lay deserted and empty, overgrown farmsteads littered the countryside. The only people that thrived in such a priest ridden country were the catholic church and its priests who had a hold on the people that was distressing to someone like us who came from a mostly secular society.
    We had the same experience in Portugal where the only places that enjoyed some sort of prosperity were the coastal resorts enjoying a strong tourism income. Again the young had fled unemployment in the countryside, many finding road building work in Switzerland and mostly labouring jobs in the rest of Europe and the ones who stayed behind had no alternative but to become waiters and chambermaids in tourist resorts.
    As for Greece, the tourists,too, brought in some money for the few but although many travelled there to visit the ancient temples and ruins, the majority went for the sunshine, cheap booze and beeches.

    If I was a citizen of any of these countries I would drill it into my children to remember what happened in our pre-EU history so that they would do everything in their power to hang on what they have gained!
    It may be a gravy train for a few and changes to improve things will always be necessary but the condition and prosperity of the majority of the people are so much superior to anything that went before.

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  • 155. At 8:32pm on 16 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    151. At 7:09pm on 16 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:
    """Re #147
    Close to the mad greek's barking."""

    Hahahaha... you are in a good mood today. Is it the happy news about Willy or something?

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  • 156. At 8:45pm on 16 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #155. At 8:32pm on 16 Nov 2010, Nik

    Good news? I'm sure DT, QOT and MH are as happy as pie today with the news that Willy is getting married next year and that it means a state wedding, I'm sure they will don their finest glad rags and go to London to join the cheering masses from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Afterwards they can find the nearest oak tree , sorry toilet, to relieve themselves, mind you MH will be feeling a bit out of the picture there, after all happy people for her are a new experience.

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  • 157. At 8:54pm on 16 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #154

    Whilst not disagreeing with the overall content about how impoverished the 3 nations You mention were You should not base Your account on the 'anti-English' assumptions about how things went badly wrong for Ireland.

    Yes, we are all familiar with the UK 'absentee Landlord' syndrome, but a great deal of Irish land was not 'exploited' in the manner You suggest. The Irish people were brutsally exploited, but the great land Gentry (e.g. the Wellesleys) used it for 'profit'. The large Estates were usually well farmed; and provided rural employment though as we all know at often subsistence conditions and as a result the Irish population did emigrate in ever increasing numbers.

    All the same: It is after the Irish Free State came into existence (1922)that Ireland's overall rural landscape fell into decades of decay. This was the result of the setting-up by Dublin of the Irish Land Commission in 1923 whose policy until the 1960s was to divide up and sub-divide Irish farm land until it was virtually impossible to make any kind of living as no farm could sustain proper farming methiods on anything like a modern economic scale. For decades it was 'politically' expedient in the IFS to allow sub-divisions of land that were patently uneconomic, but it meant the 'owner' gave his vote to the Politicians. Another dire weakening influence on Irish rural communities was the RC Faith which regularly acquired 'land' from people desparate for salvation.

    There is no doubt Ireland was victimised by the UK (NOT just English!) for centuries: However, it is stretching the bounds of economic, social & political theory to apportion the poverty of rural Ireland in the 1960s solely to the vagaries of the 'English'.

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  • 158. At 9:15pm on 16 Nov 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    @ 152

    cool brush work,

    what are you banging on about... you are an old man but do have a sick imagination.

    I don't recognize what you described at all and i think you are lying... a maid cried when you gave her a box of Mars chocolates, lol, try something else will you , it's the cheapest chocolate here and been so for at least a decade..

    However I do believe you can find all of it Britain and much much more. Can't you buy a young female or male prostitute in Britain? Of course you can, and a lot easier than in Russia, younger too (and way cheaper).

    You know what i have discovered about you British, when you want to say something naughty about somebody (some other country), you, including the BBC, always end up talking about yourselves, your own fears, your insecurities, sick fantasies and vices. In fact, in many cases you can sort of reverse engineer what's been said and gain an interesting insight into the inner madness of the individual in question or the establishment as a whole (and there's a lot of that and will be only more).

    By the way, how are your gay british para friends doing? what are they up to these days? I bet they are somewheres in Pattaya, aren't they?

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  • 159. At 10:29pm on 16 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #158

    A "..sick imagination.." is it!?

    Well, some sights were certainly sickening.

    I stepped over dying old ladies laying on cardboard in the street in Moscow on my way to the flea-pit market that encircled the 1980 Moscow Olympics Stadium! In 1998 life was so cheap in those cities some of them were trying to sell print-pages torn out of old books; meanwhile down the road the first McDonalds was packed with the 'new' bright, rich young things and their personal bodyguards.

    Read my piece again, I admired the Russians then and now: It was tragic to see so much degradation and meanwhile the streets were packed with cars, buses, lorries and limousines because for sure there was loads of money being made by some even as massive Soviet era Factories closed down. At my hotel there were gun-guards on the entrances and the internal bars and at night on each floor to protect the guests.

    Being British has nothing to do with it: No lies at all, I've barely mentioned the half of it. I toured that area and saw exactly as I describe.

    It was such a shock because the first time I was in St.Petersburg was 1974 and the Communists had everything buttoned up so tight it was the safest, most tidy City I'd ever seen in my then relatively young life. Mind You, even then the normal Russian was friendly but reticent for all the reasons we needn't go into here.

    I think You must have been a child or You'd know the truth: Just talk, but mostly listen with some of those people from my age-group - - being 'old' doesn't mean senile - - not for Russians or Brits.

    NormanC, there's no 'imagination' only sad, vivid memories of a great people fallen on hard times.

    As You ask: One of my 'gay' para friends is very ill, from cancer - - he always smoked like a... a paratrooper; and the other is retired and living a quiet gardening life with his partner in Eastbourne!

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  • 160. At 10:33pm on 16 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #155

    'Willy'?

    Now, he's claiming affinity with Whales!

    I understand the echo-sounder has picked up pod-vibrancy going something along the lines of, twwwwwoooooooooooooooooooootwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..

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  • 161. At 11:01pm on 16 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:



    157 CBW writes:
    "It is after the Irish Free State came into existence (1922)that Ireland's overall rural landscape fell into decades of decay."

    No it isn't, it was after the Irish potato Famine of 1845-52 that killed an estimated 1m of the population when at least another 1 million Irish, estimated to be one quarter of the population,emigrated. During that time London imported £25m (an enormous sum in today's money) worth of grain from the country that could have alleviated some of the tragedy.

    You go on to say:

    "Another dire weakening influence on Irish rural communities was the RC Faith which regularly acquired 'land' from people desparate for salvation."

    This is what really happened and which led to all this repression and exploitation:

    "In the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish Catholics had been prohibited by the Penal laws (the Penal laws refer to a series of laws imposed under British rule that removed power from the native Irish Roman Catholic majority) from owning land, from leasing land; from voting, from holding political office; from living in a corporate town or within five miles of a corporate town, from obtaining education, from entering a profession, and from doing many other things that are necessary in order to succeed and prosper in life."

    While it is admirable to stand up for one's country, I don't believe the mantra 'my country right or wrong' and think it abhorrent that you so often find it necessary to twist facts to justify the dark sides of your country's history so that you can wallow in your 'glorious Brittania' myths and legends.

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  • 162. At 11:12pm on 16 Nov 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    @ 159

    cool brush work,

    I think you should come home to old blighty soon and tour some of the places there. All the more reason to do so, since it seems you have a taste for that kind of thing.

    I am sure you will already find it there exactly like you described and of course you and me know that it will only get worse. Your best times are behind you. There is no way you can lie or wiggle your way out of what is going to happen to you.

    I also think all the countries of the world should deny entry to British expats with no exceptions whatsoever. You all must be made to live in Britain all your lives. I mean look at you, you've spread all over the world like cockroaches! It's sickening! Why don't you just stay at home?


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  • 163. At 11:13pm on 16 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain, aka PIGS are 4 totally different to each other cases with only the Portuguese and the Spanish having common borders and close cultures being the 2 of them until relatively recently colonial powers, having been the first pioneers in the Era of Great Discoveries 1400-1600s but then having lost early one their key colonies that brought most money remained in maintaining an overly costly least productive colonial legacy without being able to establish commercial trade routes with the rest of Europe (so as to mobilise their imports from the remaining colonies) for the main reason that the mass of Europe was provided by Dutch and British ports and then from late 18th century onwards increasingly by Russia with them becoming marginalised in their corner - the Napoleontian conquests and the subsequent domination by the British and the loss of control of Gibraltar had not aided much either afterall and therefore neither the one nor the other did expoit the still existing potential of trade with the descendant countries of their discoveries in the Americas and elsewhere.

    Haha... this in 1 sentence, see how simple are things?

    Ireland and Greece were conquered nations but then their situation was totally different in the sense that Ireland had never been anything particular in the past, then ending being under the domination of the World's biggest Empire in the 18th-19th century while Greece had been until late Middle Ages the most civilised part of Europe and along with China the most civilised part in the world which ended up after a catastrophic invasion by the western catholics in the hands of the backward & barbaric Ottomans who managed to transform it along with another 2 civilisationaly great places, the Middle East and Egypt, into the backwater regions of the world.

    Still in one sentence, isn't it?

    So this is the background of the 4 countries, not very encouraging anyway. There are huge differences among the countries, eg. Spain, Portugal and Ireland had minimal warfare in the 20th century, while Greece is the European country that in spite of its will was obliged to fight the most wars out of all European countries with the nation of Greeks being genocided to total extermination in the east in the WWI (its most rich and industrious part by the way), while in WWII it lost 15% of the population which was comparable only with USSR levels and far above any other European country (eg. Germany who fought with half the world and lost the war, lost overall only 7% of its population - this to put you in the mood... if Germand had lost 25-30 million people in WWII, then be imposed a civil war on top, they would then feel what Greeks felt and why they cling so... "cynically" to the happyness of life like real satyrs having the motto "live today like there is no tomorrow", haha...).
    Another difference is that Portugal and Spain had long lived dictatorships (Salazar & Franco respectively) which seemingly were brought mostly of internal processes (though I would easily question it), Greece had 1 dictatorship (Metaxas) brought out of internal political processes and 2 dictatorships (Papadopoulos, then Ioannidis) out of pure external interfering. Ireland had till the beggining parliamentarian systems and as such can be considered as the one with the most stable form of governane.

    On the types of economy, all countries again are radically different. Ok, they had traditionally been agricultural societies etc. etc. but everybody is, Britain has agriculture too, US has agriculture too, Russia has agriculture too, Japan, Korea etc. The PIGS were seen as agriculturers since they had a larger % of people living of agriculture but that was natural in semi-industrialised developing countries, eg. on another continent, Indonesia is hugely industrialised but then still has a large % of agriculturers. Spain as a large country had a substantial industrial domain. Portugal and Ireland being small countries with limited ressources had not much to show off, but Greece, a "weird" country situated in a "weird" point, with more kilometers of coastline than any other European country apart Norway with 3 times the surface and its thousands of fiords and little islands which even in 19th century, out of the ashes of collapsing Ottoman Empire had to present one of the most important commercial fleets around the world (from post-WWII, the biggest one, albeit all at foreign flags and of foreign bases) had a very different internal market than the other 3 with maritime sector being then and now the biggest industry.

    From there on, the 4 countries followed different social and economical paths, under different governments which all had one point in common: at some point, mostly during and after the 1980s, they started gathering the one debts after the other.

    Coincidentially, this occured with their entry in the EU. I won't claim that the over-debting occured because of their entry solely, but it is clear that on all four, their entry in the EU was accompagnied by added debt. On the 3 southern countries, there was monitored an extensive desindustrialisation and an increase of imports while the case of Ireland followed a different pattern liberating the market totally to attract mainly US investment funds, eventually attracting large corporations, mostly of high-technology sectors so as to develop the market. What was surpring though is that while Ireland did not develop the pseudo-socialist environment that Portugal, Spain and particularly Greece with its infamous PASOK party, synonym of corruption, and while its citizens were least covered and the state thus had the least of expenditures, still the Irish state became overdebt to similar levels as pseudo-socialist Greece and here it is a point of great interest... I mean how come hyper-liberal Ireland, pole of attraction of healthy international investment and cutting-edge corporations with its lightweight state managed to get indebted in the same level as pseudo-socialist, terror and horror of healthy investors as well as champion of corruption and super-buyer of overly expensive cutting edge military material (relatively to its size among the best equiped European countries) Greece?

    Ok, Britain & France are overdebt but they are countries with huge expenses (military, space, worldwide interests etc.). But Ireland? How on earth with its totally different policies did not avoid a similar fate as that of totally different Greece?

    Is out there something else that fundamendally drives such vastly different countries to debt?

    Well my idea is that yes, there is. Huge international interests of the type "I wanna be the planet-man" which want to dictate all over the place and who find that the easiest way is to spread debt around the world and keep the countries under it no matter what they do, no matter what economic policies they will follow no matter if they have thriving production and thriving economies - they will have to get loans either they want it or not. Countries will continuously be under debt, thus under the fasm of collapse and as such they will always comply, they will have no choice. Be it presumable strong countries like Britain & France or weak countries like Ireland, Portugal and Greece. USA the great preacher is also itself a victim of its own game being the most indebted country in the world and surviving only thanx to being the host of those (very private) international financial (i.e. power) interests.

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  • 164. At 11:37pm on 16 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    162. At 11:12pm on 16 Nov 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:
    @ 159
    """...look at you, you've spread all over the world like cockroaches! It's sickening! Why don't you just stay at home?"""

    Norman Conquest, no matter how hard you try it is me he hates the most! Haha!
    (by the way were are you from? - "NormanConquest" is a name typical an English would take. Somebody called you a Russian but you do not seem very Russkie - unless I have been too interfered with WebAlice's poetic ways and came to think all Russians are Tolstois or Bolshois! I have not figured out and I think I am losing this charisma of mine, haha!).

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  • 165. At 00:20am on 17 Nov 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    @ 164

    Nik,

    Yes, I am from Russia, thank you.

    And "Norman Conquest" is just a screen name. To be sure, it doesn't sound very Russian and it's a long way from my own name but I like the fact how it's both a valid first name (Norman), a valid second name (Conquest) and yet when put together it is also the name of a certain (huge) historic event -- the Norman Conquest, but that is all -- nothing more to that.

    cheers

    Norm C.

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  • 166. At 08:01am on 17 Nov 2010, Stevenson wrote:

    That IS interesting, Norm. (because I always think England and the UK owe so much to France)

    and they DO (the UK, no offense to UK people) protest too much when I think that.

    :)))

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  • 167. At 08:05am on 17 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #161

    "..abhorrent..", "..twist facts.."

    Have You any idea how hollow that sopunds coming from You!? Most of Your stuff is barely in touch with the cover of a History book never mind the content!
    On this Irish thing I was agreeing with You, but hey, I'm English so it didn't matter a jot, did it!? Your prejudices against the 'English' are unfounded bile.

    Not only did I concede all through my #157 that Ireland was 'exploited'.

    The infamous & despicable Potatoe Famine is one of the worst moments of UK Imperial history: However, 1845 to 1850 is 70yrs before independence. 1922 to 1960s I pointed out has practical and historic reasons for contributing to the poor conditions in Ireland - - the Land Commission (breaking up estates) - - the RC Faith (not only taking land, but its penchant for large families). Add to that the lack of any real raw materials or industrial base in most of Ireland.

    Of course centuries of UK rule were the most important factor, but then I never wrote otherwise, e.g. "..not disagreeing with the overall content and how impovrrished..", followed with ".. absentee landlord syndrome..", the "...as we all know at subsistence conditions..", plus, "..Irish population did emigrate in ever increasing numbers..", and "..no doubt Ireland was victimised by the UK..".

    The thrust of my #157 was there is a combination of events inc. more recent ones and a reminder to You for the umpteenth time that the UNITED KINGDOM history is not the English.

    Please, this winter, whatever You do, get Yourself either to an evening class for Reading and Comprehension or How to Handle Bias: This anti-Englishness is ridiculous.
    Even when I write in support of Your contribution You're so bigoted You miss the whole point! Pathetic!

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  • 168. At 08:17am on 17 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    NormanC

    Re #162

    'Blighty' is an expression from WW1, I'm 60+ not 100!

    Anyway, I know it has hurt You to read such things about Your country of which You are justly and wholly right to be very proud. The '90s' decade was a period of incredible turmoil across Russia and Eastern Europe.
    I've no interest in exaggeration.

    As for Your perverse idea about extending my personal inclinations I'll just put that down to annoyance!

    By all means continue with Kim Philby etc. as Your heroes, but then they were from the Soviet era, a time when the USSR really did make a difference and the discipline exerted on the Russian people & empire by the Kremlin regime meant the 1990s debacle was impossible to foretell.

    'Staying at home' is an option for every Citizen of a free world, but so is travel: You should try the latter - - the free exchange of views, the experience of other cultures, and not least the possibility to realise even a cockroach has its purpose on this finite earth.

    Cheers.

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  • 169. At 09:05am on 17 Nov 2010, john wrote:

    Cool-Brush-Work
    If you believe any small Country will be able to survive alone in this cruel world you live in cuckoo land.
    You my don't like the solution bat is the one which is less evil of the bunch.
    John

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  • 170. At 09:27am on 17 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #166

    "(because I always think England and the UK owe so much to France)"

    LOL! How exactly?

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  • 171. At 09:34am on 17 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    165. At 00:20am on 17 Nov 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:
    ""@ 164
    """Nik, yes, I am from Russia, thank you.
    And "Norman Conquest" is just a screen name. To be sure, it doesn't sound very Russian and it's a long way from my own name but I like the fact how it's both a valid first name (Norman), a valid second name (Conquest) and yet when put together it is also the name of a certain (huge) historic event -- the Norman Conquest, but that is all -- nothing more to that. """

    There is a story which occured in about the time Normans set on from France to get the throne of England. Back then , France and England used to be the main kingdoms of western Europe. However the richest and most progressed nations in Europe back then - apart the Greeks inside the Byzantine Empire of course (no need to mention that) - were the Russians, the Serbians and the Bulgarians. Russians in particular were more friendly to Byzantines and had imported lots of Greek bureaucrats and by 11th century they were the most progressive nation out of Byzantine Empire. So, during some diplomatic exchanges they married a princess of theirs to a French royalty. When she arrived in France (was it Paris or Tours or Orleans I do not remember, but it was the capital city), she wanted to suicide for deeming it impossible to live under the abhorrent conditions of life that the local royalties lived... so guess what the middle and lower classes were up to... hehe! The story of course if forgotten since Russia had the bad luck to absorb a huge Mongolic raid in the 13th century - which if they did not stop, today Europe and the US would speak turkomongolic or something and resurfaced again after the 16th century. Europe is simply not at all aware of what it really owes o the Russian nation and Russian civilisation.

    Do not get me wrong. While I am having a deep admiration for the Russian civilisation, I hold no illusions on Russia as a state - it is an Empire afterall and its policies will be according. And that is what Europeans are afraid, always, the fear is there, it lingers on, you can see it on every single article on every single western and central European country - Russia remains always the big boogey man.

    Well, it simply escapes the fantasy of the Europeans that this notion of theirs, and this world-viewing is right at the heart of ther own failure!!!

    168. At 08:17am on 17 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    """"'Staying at home' is an option for every Citizen of a free world, but so is travel: You should try the latter - - the free exchange of views, the experience of other cultures, and not least the possibility to realise even a cockroach has its purpose on this finite earth."""

    Well be it so! Russians propose to Greece immensely huge projects, gas pipelines to provide all South Europe, leasing of ports, co-production of military material and other such lovely staff which alone could kickstart the comeback of Greece (let alone Poutin offering loans at 3% and payment "whenever Greek friends can"...). And guess who is first to jump against all that? Britain? Eh? It is nice preaching CBW but at some point you must live up to your words!

    169. At 09:05am on 17 Nov 2010, john wrote:
    """Cool-Brush-Work
    If you believe any small Country will be able to survive alone in this cruel world you live in cuckoo land.
    You my don't like the solution bat is the one which is less evil of the bunch."""

    Precisely. For example, the whole issue of Europe bailing out Greece and not letting it out is the constant fear that Russians will move in and if Russians move in, then not even 10 Turkeys will suffice to attack it. So Europe prefers to keep in this little country and squeeze it if necessary to its total destruction prior to happening something like that. I won't be surprised if in future out of a bad twist Greece is attacked and broke even while being an EU member with other countries not only viewing but also supporting the attackers. If you ever knew, this has already happened in 1996 (Greece, an EU member, was at war and had territorial losses to Turkey which continuously pushes - it is only you that do not want to acknowledge it).

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  • 172. At 09:37am on 17 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    giovanni/John

    Re #169

    'cruel world' and 'cuckoos' may well be the only certainty of a strait-jacket EU demanding every idea, every initiative, every enterprise, every rule & regulation that does not eminate from Brussels is thrown out of the nest!

    Whose version will prevail?

    Yours, with only the cuckoo's call to a one-size-fits-all nest in one place, or mine, with recognition there is better prosepcts for chaffinch, thrush, gull and even eagle so long as they don't all try and share the same nest & feeding times.

    Time will tell.

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  • 173. At 09:49am on 17 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    CBW " By all means continue with Kim Philby etc. as Your heroes, but then they were from the Soviet era".





    The equivalent hero, coming from new improved democratic Russia is FSB. Col. Shcherbakov.;) [read on it]

    As for other imnprovements in human life- go to lenta.ru site.

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  • 174. At 09:51am on 17 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Cool-Brush-Work
    If you believe any small Country will be able to survive alone in this cruel world you live in cuckoo land.






    Andorra does. Lichtenstein does. And Monaco.

    Not to mention Switzerland.

    And on top of that they manage to do quite nicely outside EU.

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  • 175. At 10:11am on 17 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    174. At 09:51am on 17 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    """Cool-Brush-Work If you believe any small Country will be able to survive alone in this cruel world you live in cuckoo land.
    """Andorra does. Lichtenstein does. And Monaco."""

    Eeee ... can you mention a country please? These are all city-states?

    """Not to mention Switzerland."""

    The neutrality of Swtzerland is based on a mutual understanding of others that "we do not touch out banker". Well good for Switzerland and congratulations to their hindsight, but then not all small countries can become from the one day to the other, the world's bankers! There has to be some consensus among bankers that say "We will put much of our money to Slovenia and Slovenia will be out and independent and nobody will ever touch it with impunity...". Well such things do not happen, at least not every 10 years or something.

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  • 176. At 11:43am on 17 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #171

    Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooof!

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  • 177. At 11:50am on 17 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    167 CBW writes:
    "Please, this winter, whatever You do, get Yourself either to an evening class for Reading and Comprehension or How to Handle Bias."

    I shall be in good company: Jean Luc, Nic, QOT, NormanConquest - no, hang on, it will be quicker to name the exceptions - powermeer, threnodio Buzet eh and that's all. Oddly enough all Englishmen who have chosen to live abroad.

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  • 178. At 12:38pm on 17 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #177

    "..not disagreeing with overall content.."
    "..impoverished.."
    "..absentee landlord.."
    "..subsistence conditions.."
    "..impossible to make any kind of living.."
    "..sub-division of lands.."
    "..patently uneconomic.."
    "..Irish population did emigrate.."
    "..increasing numbers.."
    "..Ireland was victimised by the UK.."

    According to You the above is 'abhorrent' and 'twisted facts'?????????

    Doubtless when You get together at evening class You'll lead the annual toast to incomprehensible, undiluted bigotry.

    As I wrote: Pathetic.

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  • 179. At 1:31pm on 17 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #177

    "I shall be in good company: Jean Luc, Nic, QOT, NormanConquest - no, hang on, it will be quicker to name the exceptions - powermeer, threnodio Buzet eh and that's all. Oddly enough all Englishmen who have chosen to live abroad. "

    I'm fairly sure powermeerkat is a Polish/American but I could be wrong. I have to say though, if you truly align yourself with the likes of Nik, QOT and NC then god help your soul.

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  • 180. At 4:06pm on 17 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    179. At 1:31pm on 17 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:
    """I'm fairly sure powermeerkat is a Polish/American but I could be wrong. I have to say though, if you truly align yourself with the likes of Nik, QOT and NC then god help your soul."""

    Champagne Charlie, the fact that Margaret enjoys conversation with people here does not mean she aligns to anyone. I do enjoy our viewpoint exchanges here no matter if we disagree. Even CBW amuses me and I do confess to too often play with his "O-ou Britishness" and his innate inability to understand that the role of an Empire (and his country has been till very recently one) is not to spread the light of civilisation or something but to exert power: power is exterted via intrigue, backstabs and conspiracy, not via bilateral talks or something. He is British he should know better unless he really wants here to give as a liing example of British intrigue!

    anyway...

    178. At 12:38pm on 17 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    "..not disagreeing with overall content.."
    "..impoverished.."
    "..absentee landlord.."
    "..subsistence conditions.."
    "..impossible to make any kind of living.."
    "..sub-division of lands.."
    "..patently uneconomic.."
    "..Irish population did emigrate.."
    "..increasing numbers.."
    "..Ireland was victimised by the UK.."

    The above stand alright for even the relatively recent past. However in the last 30 years Ireland had developed a new face having attracted all that foreign investement. What went wrong?

    I mean, isn't attracting foreign investment what liberal financial preachers present as Genesis Chapter 1 in their sermonts on how to run a financially healthy country? So why did it go wrong for Ireland? Do you believe that its past traumas caught up with it? Personally I do not believe that even in the case of Greeks (whose list of traumatisms is even bigger), let alone in the case of Irish.

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  • 181. At 5:44pm on 17 Nov 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @158 Norman Conquest

    "I don't recognize what you described at all and i think you are lying... a maid cried when you gave her a box of Mars chocolates, lol, try something else will you , it's the cheapest chocolate here and been so for at least a decade.. "

    I don´t wanna argue whether it`s a true story or not, but he wrote that it was in 1998 so I don`t think that it`s outside of real possibility.

    Whoever has been to the Eastern block during the 90s knows that the situation even 10 years ago is incomparable with today. Maybe not for one individual, but on a broad scale.

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  • 182. At 6:49pm on 17 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    179 champagne charlie writes:

    "...if you truly align yourself with the likes of Nik, QOT and NC then god help your soul."

    They are a great deal more interesting and informative than powermeer, threnodio or Buzet and his sidekick CBW, the last three exiles from their beloved homeland. They all repeat the same old arguments over and over again, like a needle stuck in a groove of a tired old vinyl record playing a nostalgic 1940s tune, possibly sung by Vera Lynn.(You are right about powermeer).

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  • 183. At 7:08pm on 17 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    DTMann

    Re #181 & my account of experiences in Russia.

    Every word is factual; believe when I say I have left stuff out as I'm sure the Mods wouldn't permit it.

    Some of the scenes going on within walking distance the Izmailovo Hotel in Moscow were hair raising even for an experienced former paratrooper & traveller such as me. When we entrained overnight from Moscow to St.Petersburg all passengers were advised to lock their compartment from the inside and not to open under any circumstances until the following morning (& they had armed guards every 3rd carriage).
    Some of my business colleagues told me it had been even worse in previous years!

    I quite understand NormanC's resentment at that depiction of his Nation: However, that was how I saw it in February 1998, and it was a graphic display of how rapidly a civilised society can fall apart if the political-police-economic roots of it are ripped up as had happened post-Gorbachev.

    To repeat: Russia is a great nation and its people IMO amongst the bravest and most enduring the World has known.

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  • 184. At 7:28pm on 17 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #182

    I'd rather be linked with Vera Lynn than be remembered as the person who denigrates the lives & the Poppy Appeal for those who heard Vera sing, 'We'll Meet Again', and never got the chance to do so.

    I long since realised You have no shame, Margaret: I only hope as You stumble on with Your blind prejudice against the 'English' it may one day occur to You the sickening, abhorrent, twisted impression You make of Scots people.

    And clearly Scottish People do not deserve the unpleasant connotation.

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  • 185. At 9:31pm on 17 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #184 CBW

    ---are you afraid of kilts -- or only skirts ?

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  • 186. At 10:00pm on 17 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #185

    I'm so relieved for my own sense of personal well-being...

    Margaret's bigotry enables her to count You as a 'friend' on this blog.

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  • 187. At 05:13am on 18 Nov 2010, Stevenson wrote:

    Remember..CBW,

    these people are the select few, Not the representatives, and its probably more 'personal' than national...so who cares--all of you lovin' a good disagreement...
    *****************************
    And I do like ol' Britain,

    I'd give my old eye teeth for a tour of the "Isles."...when I retire

    There goes Greece, Italy and Egypt..oh maybe 2 separate trips--

    The ancient nations And the UK:)))

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  • 188. At 4:03pm on 18 Nov 2010, Wallonia wrote:

    @ Freeborn John - 3
    "The people of Iceland must feel very fortunate not to in the eurozone now. Exchange rate flexibility allowed Iceland to get out of its nanking crisis without going bankrupt whereas Ireland has no escape"

    Are you mad? How could devaluation help Iceland? It is a country which imports almost anything...

    Some people still apply the export solution to any country indistinctly. They should study more and talk less.

    Actually they are attempting to join the EU right now.

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  • 189. At 08:12am on 19 Nov 2010, lacerniagigante wrote:

    "The Irish economy is in desperate straits."

    Thanks Hewitt. That's news.

    You'll be forgiven to think it's the Irish economy only that's in desperate straits: even Lord Young thinks Britain has never had it better.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-117934

    What's this? Wartime propaganda?

    I'm not surprised the BBC footage editors confuse the Bank of Ireland with the Central Bank of Ireland.

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  • 190. At 1:45pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    lacerniagigante

    Re #189

    Lucky Mr Hewitt spotted Ireland's misfortunes: For sure EU-Brussels only getting together this last week to discuss it with Dublin is a sure sign as with Greece they'd missed the lurking financial disaster, yet again!

    Come on, it's a blog about EUROPE - - how many more of You lot need to be reminded - - it is NOT a blog about G.B. except in relation to European affairs!?

    If You want to harp on about the UK's obvious difficulties go to the appropriate BBC UK blog site.

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  • 191. At 9:43pm on 20 Nov 2010, Stevenson wrote:

    Poor Europe, worse off than USA...aww now that is bad.....except Germany is growing and can take all the costs ..hmmm that is a good idea--

    Charge it on your German credit card, Ireland :) That is what works in the US. New York and California all contribute to the same pot and its passed out equally as far as benefits are concerned--

    One knows that Mississippi is not giving up as much revenue as the other states.

    Go EU--sorry anti EU contributors, but this is what the much vaunted (hated) German-French axis wanted :)

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  • 192. At 1:25pm on 22 Nov 2010, lacerniagigante wrote:

    Re 190. At 1:45pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    A blog about Europe?

    Maybe it's meant to be a blog about the EU (not Europe, which is another thing, but I'll let you clarify that to yourself).

    Sadly, it seems to be more a blog about (some) British Euroskeptics would like the EU to be (i.e., not).

    I haven't seen one blog from Hewitt (unlike his predecessor Mardell) that would inform me of something, or maybe analyse it in a nondogmatic way.

    All I see is a repeat of the Mantra: "The Euro is a failure, and here is why..." with a boring filling in of the dots.

    (And, just for the record, I just checked Gmaps and Wikipedia: it seems that Britain is both in Europe and the EU ;-)

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  • 193. At 1:46pm on 22 Nov 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @191 Stevenson

    "Go EU--sorry anti EU contributors, but this is what the much vaunted (hated) German-French axis wanted :)"

    Who in Germany or France wanted to balance the bills of other nations?
    More like some lunatic politicians who decided above their peoples` heads.

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  • 194. At 10:32pm on 22 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    cool-brush and N.Conquest, by mistake ;o) came across your exchange of opinions on Russia in 1998. Tend to agree with cool-brush re happiness of year 1998 :o)))))) though in decreased how to say quanitity and quality of impressions. (It is so easy to scare a foreign tourist ;o)))))) I worked for hotels here 5 years I know ;o))))))))))

    I think N.C. didn't yet make money by 1998 or he would have lost them surely and had by now less rosy memoirs. He is right in that I heard from several people "1998? and what particular had happened?" (here, Russians), so this point of view exists around.


    On me 1998 left a stamp I must say, with after-effects lasting not "2 weeks" but until now and some things I wanted to do in life are void - forever - since that. It did change my life and radically, good bye dreams and all. the hell with dreams, even :o) - simply an altogether different life, a new Alice ;o)))

    I believe there are many not affected though.

    With the details like locked Red Arrow or Intourist trains compartment' doors from inside, for the night, advice - I think the recommendation would be still valid ;o))))))) as there is a flock ;o) of comfy trains leaving either capital several minutes to midnight, several minutes after midnight, who are normally full of people able to afford these trains, going artificially longer, so that one can have 8 hrs' sleep :o), arriving to destination half an hour before 9am - giving time to take a taxi and be right in the office, just so. No cruel 6-7 am wake-ups for this category of passangers! :o)))
    And their belongings are at risk of pick-pocketing while happily snorkeling at night. :o)))) These trains are interesting ;o))))), to thiefs. Security here is everywhere, at every more or less expensive boutique doors, there is a chap from a private security compoany rented, heaps in supermarkets, even in a sausages' store or I don't know, any market - there will be a unifomed guy hanging around the doors - mystery how we arrived to this life, but we got used to and don't pay attention, as they aren't dangerous, just there to grab someone if runs out away from a shop having embraced some sausages or TV-s :o)))) - though I never saw that. I think this security paranoia is kind of police-state general mind-set trends' influenced rather of being of practical application.

    I also think it's an encouraged by state occupation, as these private security companies multiplied as muchrooms, to provide an employment for retiring army, as the state pays them (big. in my view. small. in the view of the state ) pensions, they retire at 45, and all these men have something to do - so they stand stupidly in derniere ;o)))) shops' doors, quarding some lingerie :o)))))0 with the most serious looks. Useless absolutely. They are armed but with "traumatic" bullets, rubber or something. Have no right to carry fire real arms, not even a pistol.
    It's sinecure for retiring army and various "power ministries" employees, police, Customs', etc.

    In the train, the train security is not useless, because the night train route Moscow-St. Petersburg is clearly a rich grabatising occasion for thiefs of all calibres, it's the tourist hot-spot eh route.
    But then that isn't private security but normal (and armed) police.

    Re the poor pensioners - true - and still poor.

    Re the Afghan campaign veterans without legs or arms begging for money - the quantities have decreased to nearly nil. And mind it you never can tell real ones from dress-ups. Basically, when a man has no leg what does it matter ;o(, even if he is fooling around dressing up a military uniform, pretending he is an Afgan veteran or a Chechnya war ex-soldier criplled in action.
    People say Afghan folks never were beggars in streets, not because well-off, but how to say, simply they don't. They've got their military associations and i guess one can't be part of such if obserbed begging in the metro :o))))

    I think 95% in uniforms begging in the subway are fakes. Still, you pity a person disabled. If he were ex-military - those are paid extra pensions and have own medical service far high than for ordinary people.
    And a simple man, not with the army, simply a disabled man - won't have any thing like that - I think these go to beg and dress up as soldiers.

    Finally, with the Mars chocs case ;o)))) - circumstances differ.
    Why not that womam be happy to tears? Small salary, many kids, chocks are always a treat.
    As a shrewed ex-hotelier :o)))) (in the business ;o) I also think cool-brush didn't figure out the additinal how to say angles to those hearty happy tears - that is the poor woman counted they will cry togerher ;o))) and cool-brush leaves a bigger tip not just Mars chocs ;o))))
    (joking, cool-brush, I am sure you did)

    Sure I also think them cheap and uninteresting, but there is no general OK level here how to say guaranteed and I think I will stock and pile any thing ;o))))) one day you can buy this and that and another day you go to money-lenders with a golden ring or ear-rings. just get ill or one of your relatives or any thing serious and that's it. you'll be happy with half a Mars choc.

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  • 195. At 5:44pm on 23 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    on the second thought, I rule chocolate out of the matter entirely.
    as insignificant in house-keeping look at it either way.
    cool-brush must be simply good to cry with! :o) That's why.
    He was caring and interested, asked questions, was genuinely interested in Russians' life, was understanding. think of it - who ever pays attention at the Room Service staff. most tourists just look through them, like at an empty place. Must be that's why that woman was crying

    and I think if cool-brush have stayed there a couple of days more - it would have ended up with the whole hotel weeping on his shoulder of their Russian woes :o)

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