A sinner repentant?
The problem of Europe drags on, without any solution. What is interesting, however, are the attacks on Mr Cameron for doing the first sensible thing he has done since he has been in office, namely vetoing Mrs Merkel’s grandiose plans. Indeed, he has been compared to the passenger who was left behind when the Titanic sailed. But he has been attacked, criticised and hounded as if he were responsible for the whole economic crisis. In short, those who support the European Union and the euro insist that everyone else must support them as well - intolerance with a vengeance. Even his Coalition partner, Mr Clegg, turned on Cameron and attacked him “ferociously” according to the press. Clegg must be suffering from delusions of grandeur, because he was quoted as saying ‘I want to stand tall and lead in the world’. Evidently he believes that walking behind Mrs Merkel’s skirts means “standing tall”.
I am rarely shocked by anything I see in the press any more, but I was shocked by a column written by the Anglo-American journalist Roger Cohen, on Europe. Having first attacked Cameron in the usual way, he added, ‘perhaps it is not a coincidence that Cameron’s veto coincided with a young eurosceptic Tory member of Parliament, Aidan Burley, finding himself at a stag party in the ski resort of Val Thorens, along with a bunch of mates dressed up in Nazis SS uniforms, and performing Nazi salutes in an atmosphere of great jollity’. I have rarely seen such an example of vicious feelings and idiotic words as this effort to suggest that Cameron’s veto has some connection with Nazism. Cohen is trying to suggest that anyone who opposes the European Union is a Nazi, and he is so ridiculous as to say that Val Thorens has ‘a German sounding name’. Clearly Mr Cohen is not a linguist, as well as lacking logic. But it does show the depth to which Mr Cohen is prepared to descend in order to rubbish Eurosceptics.
Despite all this abuse, Mr Cameron was vindicated when it was announced today that at least four, and maybe more, European countries will not agree to changes in the Treaty until they have seen the wording. After all, one does not sign a blank piece of paper. And there were photographs today in the press of Polish demonstrators with placards, saying ‘we want sovereignty, not the euro!’
The fuss about Cameron’s veto, and the whole Summit meeting has taken attention away from the fact that nothing definite was decided at the Summit meeting. The items discussed had to do only with the future behaviour of the members. Nothing was decided or suggested to deal with the present crisis, and with the fact that most of the eurozone is bankrupt. In particular, attention has been taken away from Greece. Most people are not aware that the Greek problem has not been sorted out. There is no deal agreed, and a default is looming. The deadline is March. The Greek Government does not have enough money, even with the new aid package, to pay that large instalment on time. There still has to be a restructuring. Greek bonds have to be exchanged for new paper, with less value and longer maturities. There is a lot of documentation that is necessary before this can happen, and that deadline is the beginning of February. More importantly, there is still a big gap between what the Greek Government is offering the bondholders and what they want. The finance package for the restructuring is based on the assumption that eventually all the private holders of Greek bonds will accept an exchange offer. Any bondholders who refuse to “volunteer” and who ask for full payment would have to be paid with increased foreign money. Some people think that the Troika will “choke” on that. There is no question that there is still much more to hear about Greece, although Merkozy are now pretending that the Greek problem no longer exists.
The general reaction to Sir David Attenborough’s recent BBC programme was favourable, and it was noticed that Sir David did not do too much talking, and tried to let the photography do most of the talking for him. That does not mean that the programme was impartial or honest, however. For example, 90% of the ice in the world is in Antarctica and the ice mass of Antarctica has been increasing for some time, and, in fact, has increased by 11% within the last ten years. However, Sir David focused almost entirely on the Antarctica Peninsula, which is the one small part of the continent where ice is melting – not caused by atmospheric warming, but because of a shift in ocean currents. Is that honest?
Another example was the dramatic shots of Greenland, trying to suggest that the huge ice cap is rapidly melting. But a detailed study five years ago estimated that the proportion of ice lost by melting around its periphery was only one thousandth of one percent of the total. Again, dishonest. Then we have the polar bears, who, it was suggested, are dying out due to “global warming”. Yet the fact is that 50 years ago there were 5,000 polar bears, and today there are 25,000. And yet Sir David is referred to as “a national treasure”.
It’s that sex again
The follies of our so-called government seem to be never ending. Mr Nick Clegg, having decided that he has the wisdom of Solomon, wishes to pass legislation to interfere in the relations between husbands and wives, specifically to “protect” wives from cases of “bullying” and/or “coercion” by their husbands. He does not seem to be aware that in England, husbands are ruled by their wives, and it is the wives who do the “bullying” and “coercion”. In order to make his proposed legislation effective, he should reverse the sexes, and give the poor husbands the protection from their rampant wives, that they so desperately need.
An American lawyer who is now in the financial world, Demetri Marchessini lives in London.