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The ECB matters more than Clegg

Robert Peston | 13:55 UK time, Saturday, 8 May 2010

For all the implications for the value of sterling and gilts of talks to form a British government, investors are this weekend probably more concerned about negotiations to stabilise the euro involving the European Central Bank (ECB) and European government heads - as Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs pointed out on the Today Programme.

Euro signThe big threat, not just to the health of the eurozone economy but to the world's prosperity, is that Continental banks are finding it harder and more expensive to borrow for longer periods on wholesale markers.

That's because their creditors are worried about their substantial loans to overstretched eurozone governments, through their respective holdings of assorted eurozone government bonds.

Bankers and economists see this strain in the financial system as horribly reminiscent of conditions prior to the meltdown of the global banking system 20 months ago.

"If the Europeans 'disappoint' tomorrow it's back to the autumn of 2008", is how an influential banker put it to me.

In simple terms, as you know, if banks can't borrow, they can't lend - which leads to cessation of vital flows of credit, bank collapses and recession.

What investors are looking for, at the least, is some mechanism to allow banks to borrow for a year or so against the collateral of their stocks of Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and other eurozone government bonds.

As an optimal outcome, many investors would want a eurozone version of quantitative easing, where the European Central Bank would buy eurozone government bonds for cash.

This last initiative would be particularly controversial, because it would see eurozone taxpayers indirectly taking on a liability to the financial health of individual eurozone states over which they have no democratic control (so German taxpayers would be exposed via the ECB to Portuguese government bonds and the credit-worthiness of the Portuguese government, for example).

Anyway, depending on whether a credible plan to limit the contagion from Greece's woes is announced tomorrow by the ECB and eurozone ministers, markets will open on Monday in a state of black despair or renewed optimism.

If the eurozone leaders - against most recent precedent - move swiftly to agree an ambitious, practical euro bailout package, the chances are that there'll be a boost to the value of riskier assets, especially shares.

The pound would also be a beneficiary, in that our record public-sector deficit means sterling is not viewed as risk free (for all the UK's AAA rating).

So what happens in Europe - rather than in smoker-free rooms of Tories and Lib Dems - will probably determine what happens to the British currency on Monday morning.

If European leaders are seen to organise a workable euro bailout, the pound would recover against the dollar. If they flunk it, well it may be a blackish Monday for shares, gilts and the pound.

As for the possible combination of eurozone political paralysis and no sign of a credible government being formed in the UK, well the market impact of that probably doesn't bear thinking about.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    ...meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic there is Freddy Mac asking for an extra $10.6B. No one can predict but the signs of the finance capital systems needing more 'purging' which surely will confirm the imminence of a double - dip recession. On the political side is it inconceivable government that a government of national unity may be forced out an early bond and stock market crisis?

  • Comment number 2.

    Why are governments so worried about "the markets"? After all, those who are active in the financial markets are basically just gambling with their own or clients' money in the hope of a quick profit. The real economy, which effects all of us, is the proper concern of our elected representatives.

    Between them, the Federal Reserve, the ECB and the BoE have infinitely deep pockets of USD, EUR and GBP and so could easily put a stop to any speculation in these currencies or sovereign bonds denominated in them, if they were allowed to deal directly in the markets.

    The meeting on Sunday must give the ECB permission to deal in the market. It would be in the interest of the US, the UK and the Eurozone governments to grant the central banks the power to collaborate in order to stabilise the markets.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good point, and I hope the bbc takes good note that the population is much more important than bbc commentators, news readers, presenters etc. etc.
    The bbc is not there to make a good life for a few insiders but as a social inertia to move things for the benefit of all.

  • Comment number 4.

    "If the Europeans 'disappoint' tomorrow it's back to the autumn of 2008", is how an influential banker put it to me."

    By 'disappoint', he means that if they don't give the banks loadsamoney or make sure we buy any risky debts from them using taxpayers' money.
    ...and this is the kind of message that the banks will keep hammering home - if you don't keep giving us money, terrible things will happen - and the politicians believe them and just keep on giving them our money.

    As for... "In simple terms, as you know, if banks can't borrow, they can't lend - which leads to cessation of vital flows of credit, bank collapses and recession." ... er, I hate to point this out but we already have that!!

    It's not governments who rule us. The bank(er)s rule our governments.

    We have to stop and say 'no' to them, let any bank crash happen and then they will pick up the pieces and it will continue fine with the loss of some of the banks - this is what capitalism is about - survival of the fittest but what we are currently doing is keeping too many of them alive with our money and they are just taking us for fools. Some banks going out of business is not 'the end of the Western world as we know it'. It's what the banks want us to believe though.

  • Comment number 5.

    As Goldman-Sachs has pointed out (and Goldman-Sacks) ought to know, investors are concerned about negotiations to stabilize the euro; this concern far exceeds the possible value of gilts and sterling.
    Continental banks are finding it harder, more expensive to borrow for longer periods. That's because their creditors are worried about their substantial loans to stressed eurozone governments through their respective holdings of assorted eurozone government bonds. They know these bonds might very well be contagious - soverign bonds infected with credit default-betting.
    Yes, these conditions are horribly reminiscent of conditions prior to the meltdown of the global banking system 20 months ago, and it’s not getting better, and it won't get better unless someone, somewhere does something dramaticallly different.
    In any case the epicentre of the financial explosion will not be the Eurozone, it will be the United States of America which has yet to left so much as her left pinky-finger to establish any banking regulation whatsoever. Therefore, the United States of America remains the world’s great Las Vegas. Come and play if you dare!
    I have absolute faith the the EU. It is picking up the economic factors one by one and patiently worrking to implode them. It has already outlawed derivative trading in the Eurozone. It is now looking carefully at potentially outlawing CDS trading. It plans to audit Eurozone banks, locate and strip the derviative mess, write-off these bad debts, re-establish account credibility and move on.
    Where will the United States get this type of financial intervention & integrity. Tell me, which zone would you trust more to get the affected states out of this mess, this tricky-dicky accounting mess? The EU or the USA?
    The plan to limit the contagion:
    The ECB has joined the international rescue of Greece, saying it will indefinitely accept the country’s debt as collateral regardless of Greece's credit rating.
    Under the plan backed by the ECB, Greece pledged 30B Euros in budget cuts to bring a deficit of 13.6% of GDP. The ECB is the a key player in this rescue. The ECB is buying insurance against the likelihood of further multiple downgrades of the Greek debt. Do you remember where these downgrades came from?
    Further downgrades from credit-rating companies have been threatening Greek bonds eligibility for collateral for ECB loans. ECB President, Jean-Claude Trichet reversed his position; he began the year by saying the ECB would not change its “collateral policy for the sake of any particular country.” Well, he's smart enough to know that Greece is being undercut, bet against, manipulated - smart enough to know when reversal of his initial position is mandatory.
    For the Greek banking sector, this decision is huge. It supports liquidity + Greek banks will still be able to come to the ECB with their country’s sovereign debt.
    Rules Extended
    ECB Governing Council Member, Athanasios Orphanides, said the ECB has not discussed loosening its lending rules for nations other than Greece. The council convenes in three days in Lisbon – good location considering that Portugal is also a PIIG.
    As this game of “GO” proceeds between the US dollar and the EU Euro, there may be a need for more radical measures from the ECB, but to the EU Members, I say: Have no fear. I’d rather be guided by the EU then the US any day.

  • Comment number 6.

    Can it be so, that J O'neill of Goldman Sachs - a 'bank' currently under investigation in America is being mentioned in a post by our lovely Robert Peston?

    Bankers and economists passing more (opission) on the 'Eurozone'? Suddenly the European Central Bank enters Pestons Picks.

    The Euro has, since 'fraudulent banking crash' been heavily decimated by currency speculators?

    Surely, the most affected, you and me, must avoid being confused by constantly moving 'goal posts' set by those who take your insurance, pensions and savings contributions 24/7 to gamble with no chance of return?

    By the way - UK population bailed out our banks - but banks are still the most grumpy, powerful (some fraudulent) and exploitative sector on the planet? So, do banks rule your country and your democracy?

    Let's hope my comment is as clear as the start of this blog?

  • Comment number 7.

    What is going on out there?? The Eurozone is heading for disaster. Greece is merely the starting point for a major catastrophe. Can't they see bailing out Greece is akin to a dying patient giving blood to a corpse. This whole affair is heading towards a repeat of the collapse of the Austrian Banks in 1931, which led to the Great Depression of the 1930's, BUT this time worse!

  • Comment number 8.

    'As an optimal outcome, many investors would want a eurozone version of quantitative easing, where the European Central Bank would buy eurozone government bonds for cash.'

    So QE, the nuclear option, is now being called upon for the eurozone. This is the last tool in the box, to be used when all else has failed.

    So I will ask the question that I asked shortly before the UK unleashed QE, 'what happens when it doesn't have the desired effect ?'

    The Japanese tried QE, the result is 10 lost years of bumping along the bottom, neither growing nor shrinking, alternating between minor inflation and minor deflation and still no end to the economic nightmare.

    We started QE in the UK in early 2009 and the economy appeared to have stabilised, by early 2010 we were out of recession, growth was back.
    And now growth appears to be weakening.

    The full long term effects of UK QE have not yet been felt, the future impacts are unknown.

    The effects of QE on the eurozone will not be fully known for 10 years, and by then other regions will have been dragged into the QE space where their only option is to nuke their economies as well.



    '...markets will open on Monday in a state of black despair or renewed optimism.'

    The markets are obviously bi-polar, I recommend a good dose of lithium to calm them, careful though, one side-effect is constipation and overdose can be toxic.



  • Comment number 9.

    I don’t think there is an easy QE quick fix for the Euro, because the ECB is responsible to all Euro member states equally.

    The ECB and the BOE are different, in that the BOE is wholly owned by the nation who benefits from the QE (the UK).

    If the ECB undertakes QE for financially weaker nations, it would be wholly unfair on the stronger ones.

    Consequently if the ECB attempts QE, it will be either grossly unfair on those nations not needing it, and if it doesn’t, then default and bank’s needing propping up is the likely outcome.

    I can’t see a happy ending to the Euro problem.

    Again, as in the UK, the current financial system is shown to be hopelessly flawed and nations are left paying the price.

  • Comment number 10.

    Marvellous! this whole sorry mess gets more and more rediculous every day. Lets start being honest with the european populus, Europe, the USA half of Asia is in a big giant hole and ladder doesn't reach up to the top.

    Everything here is based on deceit, a Greek 'Bailout' that doesn't 'bailout' Greece. Banks holding us hostage threatening a double dip if they cant con the ECB to nationalise their toxic debts... i have lost faith with the world.

    Its time for a new paradigm, if only there was a plan B on the horizon...

  • Comment number 11.

    A cheery start to next week then?
    What else to go wrong then? If the markets stopped panicking so much we might just sort things out. After all the markets forced the banks to cause this in the first place by wanting them to gamble and loan cash to those who could not afford it.

    Double standards at work and the deal to be in charge in the UK government we be less sleazy (but not by much)

  • Comment number 12.

    Robert, I think you may be missing a trick here. The Barroso statement refers to an ECOFIN meeting to discuss a European Stabilisation Fund. Is there not a danger that rather than prod the ECB into acquiring Government debt, damaging the independent standing of the ECB that another route may be on the cards.

    What if we are going to see the EU Commission raise its own fund under article 122 (2) of the Lisbon Treaty."Where a Member State is in difficulties or is seriously threatened with severe difficulties caused by natural disasters or exceptional occurrences beyond its control, the Council, ......, may grant.......... financial assistance to the Member State concerned."

    ECOFIN works by qualified majority. The French and Spanish are desparate, and we are not at the table with strong Government to bolster German doubts. We could be bounced into providing financial support to bolster the Euro via the European Commission under some form of guarantee by all EU members. Personally not too keen.

  • Comment number 13.

    Last week, Goldman Sachs faced grilling for alleged fraud in its sale of complicated financial products called “synthetic CDOs.”
    This week Goldman Sachs is relatively quiet; the world has turned its eyes to the "shorts" on Greek sovereign debt, the dire threat of a sovereign Greek default.
    Greek debt was downgraded by Moody’s.
    Ratings agencies have long been suspected of being in collusion with the Wall-Street boys; rating agencies can cause extreme fluctuations in the market. The Greek downgrade - sudden as it was - was suspicious. Why?
    Because the European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) had just pledged 120B Euros to avoid debt default.
    So why the downgrade?
    In any case, the US stock market plunges 999 points; then, almost as suddenly, it recovers two-thirds of the loss. Doesn’t that seem suspicious to you, like some sort of “false” intervention or manipulation?
    Who would intervene? Who would manipulate?
    Let’s talk about high-frequency trading programs (HFT); HFTs NOW compose 70% of the market trading. Goldman Sachs happens to be the undisputed leader in the use of HFTs. Some market experts allege that Goldman Sachs has been manipulating the market since the Great Depression. When Goldman is in trouble, when it wants to divert attention, Goldman allegedly has the power - through HFTs - to crash the market…or raise the market.
    Goldman, an investment company till September 2008, suddenly became a “bank holding company”.
    Why?
    How else could it capitalize on the bank bailout, including borrowing interest-free from the Federal Reserve and other banks?
    In January, when President Obama backed Paul Volcker in the plan to reinstate a form of the Glass-Steagall Act (that would divorce)investment banking from commercial banking, the market nose-dived right on cue…
    Then what? The Volcker Rule just faded away.
    When Goldman got “invited” before Congress and the SEC, the Greek crisis exploded. Why?
    Diversion?
    So what can be done?
    European Central Bank (ECB) can and likely will “monetize” the Greek debt; it will do this with any and all STUPID PIIGS that find themselves wallowing in CDS negative betting. The EDB will print money (quantitative easing) and buy the debt itself. This has been referred to as the “explosion option” or "the nuclear option". Why?
    Because it would blow the hedge funds and electronic sharks operated by the Wall Street boys, right out of the water. No water, no sharks.
    I'd like to see the "explosion option".

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't think anyone 'knows' how large the real UK structural deficit has become (incl. PFI (0.8tn??), QE (0.2Tn), 'investments' in Banks (1 Tn?), etc.), nor the un-repayable UK private debt (1 Tn). (upwards of 3 Tn GBP possibly) For so long as we can keep this under our hat, we will be OK. We are bust with debts over 1.5 times GDP.

    Presently the markets have seen riots in Greece on their TVs so they only look at first Greece then the Euro area. I do not share the fear that the Euro will be in trouble - it is a reserve currency like the US Dollar and one might as well say that the Dollar was in trouble. (In fact a large state - larger than the majority of the countries in the World and part of the dollar block is still in trouble -and as it is fat larger far more troublesome to the banking market - I refer to California.)

    Sterling on the other hand is a tiny currency supporting gigantic banks (relatively) and potentially far more unstable. We need a government with the the ability to pass difficult legislation. I don't see that any single party nor combination of parties has that ability after yesterday's results - so for financial stability we urgently need a National Government of Conservatives and Labour - we cannot wait for another uncertain outcome of general election in a few months time.

    I do not share Robert Peston's sanguine attitude to the UK's financial position. True, the ECB matters because the Euro-zone is so much more important than sterling as it is bigger (and actually with a far lower absolute level of debts - if we added up ours properly!)

  • Comment number 15.

    How is all now crazy in Europe. Greece has a standard of living 4x higher than the Slovak Republic. However to fulfil its obligations Slovakia must lend greece 800 million Euros.

    It doesnt have this money and so must borrow it.

    So an ultimately poor country goes into serious debt to assist a far richer country in the Eurozone. Austerity also for Slovakia whch to reiterate is 4x POORER.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    You will need to translate this link.

    The fundamentals of the Euro system are flawed. They need to be fixed and parameters widened. Its no wonder the Yanks are just waiting for Europe to fail - they have a clearer view of hard economics. (And I am a europhile btw).

  • Comment number 16.

    If the suporters of PR succeed what effect would 12 BNP MP's have on our economy - the BMP would drive on for more. that would sicken me!! Surely this alone would deter any investors in our country in the long term.

  • Comment number 17.

    #7. Ian Bannister wrote:

    "This whole affair is heading towards a repeat of the collapse of the Austrian Banks in 1931, which led to the Great Depression of the 1930's, BUT this time worse!"

    I fear you may be partly right, however consider which country has the major banks and the probability that that country will be left holding the mass of the rescheduled debts - and we can't afford to bail-out our private banks yet again!

    Greece is a smallish problem and probably handleable, but contagion is an endemic problem of free market capitalism - perhaps the EU (and the UK) should consider Exchange Control to dampen the speculation? Let money follow trade not speculation! (Exchange Control should be considered as analogous to the market break mechanisms in share trading systems in use in many volatile stock markets.)

  • Comment number 18.

    What matters most is having the integrity to admit that continuing to prop up a financial system that is out of control with tax payers money across the developed world is a pointless and potentially catastrophic activity that pushes problems further down the road in a desperate attempt to head off disaster without attacking the fundamental problems of the system. It is clear that too much attention is being focussed at the wrong end of the telescope. The world's (non-elite) population functions quite adequately on a day to day level producing the goods and services needed to sustain themselves and offer the opportunity for development for those countries still to grow to maturity. Yes there are challenges but most can be categorised as medium to long term. The current instability is caused by the financial system which is no longer fit for purpose in meeting the needs of the ordinary person and the societies they live in. In large part this is due to it having been distorted to meet the needs of a financial elite whose primary goals are to serve their own needs rather than the population as a whole.By using obscure and in large part worthless products layered on top of a technological capability that confounds proper scrutiny and regulation and excludes the ordinary members of the population the 'parasitic beast' that this has created is now feeding off of the body and will consume it to the point of destruction. This has happened before in history with previous civilisations entering crisis and collapse.We should be clever enough now to avoid making the same mistake.In a world of finite resources concepts of equity and fairness cannot be ignored, which is the position that we are in at present - with a very few taking disproportionate reward for little and no value. The price of failure to get a grip on the situation does not bear thinking about. Sadly we do not seem to be anyway near the right path yet.

  • Comment number 19.

    I know my comment may seem naive but given the current financial crisis, can I suggest the three parties bury their differences for say two years.

    They form a government of national unity with the specific aim of placing the country on a sound financial footing whilst maintaining current services with minimal change.

  • Comment number 20.

    Slowly but surely we are diluting our currencies.
    But here is the clever bit.
    By doing so we remain more competitive than our competitors in China etc.
    By competitive I do of course mean that we can buy our competitors products. Does that mean we are more competitive?
    To continue to buy things that we used to make we have to put ourselves into hock. In the future of course.
    And what pray do we use as collateral? Well it used to be overpriced housing. But that market is hardly booming at the moment so the government has been getting into debt as our proxy. Call it QE.
    And now the EU is to be pressed into QE for the wider economy.
    Who does this benefit? The government will of course say it is essential to keep the economies, banks, functioning.
    Err. Haven't we been here before.
    We cannot keep on going like this.
    Why not? The figures just get bigger and bigger.
    To a certain extent I agree. It is after all a good trick if it works.
    The downside is I just plain don't trust the bankers to keep the show on the road.
    It's a bit like laying worms out end to end in a straight line the length of the country. One of them is bound to wriggle and spoil it.
    A banker would get greedy. It is what they do after all. They would bring the whole edifice down.
    And would we continue to bankroll the edifice?
    That is the choice we are going to have to make.
    Will developed countries continue for ever more to support their bankers?
    Knowing meanwhile that in so doing will diminish the manufacturing, knowledge based industries, and all other non banking activities of the sure to be indebted countries.

  • Comment number 21.

    6. At 2:55pm on 08 May 2010, corum-populo-2010

    Well said.

    This is a democracy. Banks will deal with whatever we decide. As the crowd said today to Nick Clegg - you serve us and that applies to ever elected official, every civil servant. They will do our bidding, not the bidding of corporate markets or media moguls. If they don't like it, then they should shuffle back off to the USA the place where the best democracy you can buy is always on offer!

  • Comment number 22.

    #9 "The ECB and the BOE are different, in that the BOE is wholly owned by the nation who benefits from the QE (the UK).

    If the ECB undertakes QE for financially weaker nations, it would be wholly unfair on the stronger ones. "

    In the end it is not so different, within the UK there are those who benefit more from QE (older generation, those who borrowed too much to buy overpriced properties) and those who are paying for others mistakes (future taxpayers now in school, and those who did not overspend).

    The main difference is that the ability to force some to pay for others mistakes is much weaker within a currency union than a nation. To save the union they would be better to let the weaker nations fail, rather than force through a level of support that will ultimately break it up.

  • Comment number 23.

    Robert wrote: So what happens in Europe - rather than in smoker-free rooms of Tories and LibDems - will probably determine what happens to the British currency on Monday morning.

    Whatever happens, it won't save us, nor the Greek, nor the Germans, nor the American - this system has peaked - it's downwards from now on!

    It's up to us to smoothened the landing or have a painful crash down there!

  • Comment number 24.

    Sooner or later we have to face up to a lot of pain - too many assets bought at inflated prices mean that lots of people who bought them have to face the pain of devaluation. That may mean banks taking big hits as the collateral against a loan devalues while the loan does not, but I guess that's the risk they take as well.

    This is really no different to someone waking up after a monstrous drinking binge and finding their head hurts. They could take another drink to dull the pain but sooner or later they have to sober up.

    The more money we pump into the system in an attempt to sustain asset prices at an unsustainable level, the more we all hurt when they collapse. Why should a taxpayer who rents their home be expected to pay to prop up house prices for the benefit of others, when doing so is directly contrary to their own best interests? (Just for openness, I write this as a homeowner.)

    What is needed is for markets to decline to a level that can be sustained. That might mean house prices dropping 50% - this will hurt those who currently own houses but will make the market accessible again. Perhaps it will also stop the rather sad spectacle of the chattering middle class boasting at dinner parties about how much money they have "made" on their home, apparently oblivious to the fact their profits are notional until they sell and can vanish as fast as they appeared.

    Perhaps we'll also see an end to the silly notion that stock markets only ever go up, or that they always rise in the long term, and people will live within their means and only invest in the things they can understand. Wishful thinking perhaps, but there ya go.

  • Comment number 25.

    Sorry Robert - The ECB has made it's position crystal clear - There will be no QE, just learn to live with it.

    To: BluesBerry post 5.

    My guess is that we will all have to wait until the G20 Meeting when the plan for financial institutions on both sides of the Atlantic will be agreed. Until then we will get more smoke and mirrors. Well it has worked well so far. And nobody ,but nobody is better at that game than Zapatero of Spain and Obama of the USA - perhaps that is why they are buddies, don't you know.

  • Comment number 26.

    Excuse me, can anyone explain why 'the markets' do not go after China or India. What are they afraid of I wonder, why not the US dollar for that matter, surely it is as worthless as a euro or a UK pound if we believe the pundits.
    Are we standing by and watching the cowardly school bully at work in the playground ? It seems that way to the Captain.

  • Comment number 27.

    By the way - I hold the media partly responsible for this mess. Instead fo making sensible programmes about what a hung parliament really means (not the dreamed-of utopian co-operation expected by many), they should have been making it clear what exatly would go on.

    The upside is that it shows what straight PR (or the STV version favoured by the LibDems) would be like - a whole heap of horse-trading behind closed doors, expensive deals being fudged that will be footed by the taxpayer... and another election some time thereafter.

    Hopefully people will begin to see that this is not something they really want. It is in fact what is best for the LibDems since they would have eternal power. And it is beginning to be clear that they would always do a deal with labour, how can that be democracy?

    If the electoral system needs to be fixed there re better ways than the STV system being proposed by the LibDems and that is what Cameron is saying - let's look at it and get the right solution. But not yet, dave, not yet. Wait for these idiots to form Brown's rainbow coalition and then do it right from a majority position. Leave the LibDems with no grounds for complaint in a modern system that is designed to return a single-party government as often as possible but yet gives an equal chance to all parties based on their share of the vote.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Is something REALLY starting to happen here? Ok, just a bunch of bloggers at the moment, but the dawning of a new reality seems to be making itself heard at last.

    By which I mean 'the unsustainability of the present capitalist system' seems finally to be dawning on us all, and the implications of this could be genuinely fascinating - or terrifying - when it moves from a few economics blogs into the mainstream of human thought.

    The indecisive UK election seems to be reflecting this (albeit on another level) with commentators openly debating possibilities that have been more or less a global taboo since the end of WW2 (appropriate timing, too!).

    Are we finally growing up? Are we on the verge of a new society, owned by "the people" as opposed to a fascist, money-dominated kleptocracy? Or will we be true to type and all hide under the collective duvet of 'what we know' until the financial 'flu is 'cured' by our 'Great Leaders'?

    I, for one, am heartened by the rationale and anger expressed by many on this blog. Chinks in the casino are beginning to let in light...

 

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