Will enough Germans defend their democracy?

 

           The future of the Euro and the greater EU superstate project  now rests largely on German politics. The German political establishment has been keen on integration by stealth for many years. It ignored German public opinion against losing the DM, and took the country into the Euro. Now it is trying to get Germany into a transfer and money printing union against the wishes of many German electors.

           Many Germans were proud of their DM. It was a symbol of resurgent economic success post war. It became the emblem of the newly democratic and peace loving Germany which emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. The electorate were told that you needed an independent central bank wedded to honest money. It did not print too much, it encouraged the state to live within its means, and ensured inflation stayed low.

              That today is all put at risk by the desperate measures being discussed to save the Euro. We are told there is a possibility of a Euro 2 trillion package. This money would be available to put more capital into banks to withstand the shocks when Euro sovereigns rat on their debts. It would also be available to lend directly to those same sovereigns who might rat on their debts, hardly an inviting prospect for lenders.

                 The German Parliament is being asked to approve a significant slice of the Euro 440 billion fund we know about. This has been announced and will be provided by the states of Euroland. Germany, like all the others, will have to borrow her share, at her credit rating, so it can be lent out to worse risks within the Eurozone where those coutnries cannot raise their own money cheaply. Commentators agree that the Parliament will approve this, the July package. It’s another case of too little too late.

                    This leaves the question I asked the other day, where does the remaining £1560 billion come from to get to Euro 2 trillion?

                          Some hint the EFSF itself would gear up, and borrow more in its own name. This would probably be illegal, as the member states have to ratify the size of the fund.

                           More say it will be lent by the ECB acting alongside the EFSF. This money could in turn be borrowed by the ECB. If the ECB is to issue large quantities of Euro bonds to do this, Germany’s nightmare has come true. Euroland will in effect be using Germany’s good credit standing to raise cheap money to lend on to poor risks. That could lead to a German rating downgrade.  Any other EU body doing the same has the same weakness. The UK needs to make sure it is a Euroland and not a wider EU institution that undertakes it if it happens at all.

                          Some hint that it could be printed. Why shouldn’t the ECB do what the Fed and the Bank of England have done? Create some  money in their books and lend it on t0 governments.

                             None of this will be popular with many Germans. The German Parliament is being reassured that the EFSM will only be Euro 440 billion, that the German Parliament will still have the right to say Yes or No to bail outs, and that the Euro will remain a strong low inflation currency. All this is going to prove difficult to sustain as an argument when you see the options for the bigger fund.

                            Both the German Central Bank and the constitutional court are flexing their muscles. They object strongly to Germany’s credit rating being abused on this scale, to any idea of money printing, and to the loss of power over its own finances that these new departures would represent.

                                  Could at the eleventh hour German democracy and independence come to save us from ill judged and ruinously expensive European integration?   It’s a long shot, but it may be the best chance  we have.  There are Germans who oppose money printing by the ECB, oppose the ECB buying up high risk sovereign bonds to prop their price, oppose bail outs as illegal under the Treaty, and who want Greece and others to be reminded of their obligations. Are there enough of them? Can the German Central Bank and the Constitutional Court together with public opinion stop the politicians taking Germany by stealth into a transfer and money printing union?

               Presumably Mrs Merkel, after winning her vote by playing down any idea of money on top of the Euro 440 billion will then elide her position to one that allows or does not block the massive gearing up of the money that will be needed to kick the can down the road for a bit longer.

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66 Comments

  1. Andrew
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    The endgame approaches. Germany is waking up and realising that they could be moved from the Penthouse suite to the Debtors Gaol, in perpetuity and within weeks if they are not careful.

    The EU technocrats are alarmed. They therefore retreat to their usual place of safety – screw the British with a financial transaction tax that will cripple Britain and transfer yet more money to the Eurozone. Britain, meanwhile, indulges in its usual response of craven capitulation, with junior ministers on the radio this morning using phrases like ‘in its current form this will be ineffective’ , rather than ‘there are absolutely no circumstances in which Britain will be part of a financial transaction tax that involves only Europe. We will veto it, so the commission should concentrate on other areas of policy.’

    The only reason I can think of to explain why the British government response to this proposal has been so pathetic, is that they are hoping the Eurozone will do it themselves and the City will moves from processing 80% of such transactions to 95% as a result.

    By the way. Why, when we talk about aiming for 0.7% of GDP as the target for overseas aid, aren’t we adding together DfID overseas aid budgets to our net EU contribution?

    The commission spends our vast net contribution, on our behalf, in poor areas of Spain, Slovakia, Romania, Southern Italy etc. Even though they spend it, it is our money, spent overseas on poor countries and therefore is ‘overseas aid’.

    Surely, if we add the amount we spend via DfID to our net EU contribution, we will be giving away overseas more than 0.7% of GDP? If you and a few sensible MPs are looking for a way of preserving Cameron’s popularity with the Islington Consensus whilst at the same time forcing sanity into the Overseas Aid budget discussion, why don’t you push for the sums to be added together and used by government from now on?

    People have short memories when it comes to definitions – look at how people have forgotten about the RPI already and how Broon was allowed to say he wasn’t spending much because it was ‘PFI’.

    If the Tories use a combined figure for aid to say ‘we have achieved our target of 0.7%’ over and over again, Cameron will still get dinner party invites in North London and we can retain the moral high ground as the largest donor of money in the first world by proportion of GDP (which we would be, when we add in the EU contributions).

    • Disaffected
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      The ONS and Government cannot agree what the UKs contribution to Europe is. The Government choose to use the term NET contribution (the lowest figure with the highest amount of rebate included) but it is not clear what the rebate actually is. Therefore the UK could be paying as much as £17 billion each year before rebate. It would be honest to say what the UK total contribution is before rebate.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      If more of the EU technocrats were British this wouldn’t keep happening. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I rather doubt it but we shall see. Certainly the German public opinion will have more say than the UK voters – who are treated with complete contempt by Cameron and Clegg.

    What about Barroso’s proposed bank transaction tax. It is reported the tax would raise about 57bn euros ($78bn; £50bn) a year mainly from London and would come into effect at the start of 2014. Just the talk of it has hit UK bank shares again yesterday so it is already doing damage to the UK.

    Reply: The tax has to be vetoed by the UK and I am told they will do so.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      If it is to be vetoed why is it being proposed – just the talk of it is damaging to confidence and share prices.

      In whose interests, after all, is Barroso supposed to be acting acting? Might he not check if such proposals would be vetoed, before he causes such pointless damage to confidence.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        Why on earth were only 60 children, under the age of one, adopted last year when thousands are in care and so many wish to adopt which usually has such better outcomes.

        Perhaps I am too cynical (though it is often hard to be too cynical in these maters in the UK) but is it perhaps because there is more money/jobs for local authorities in not adopting children. Or money to be made in placing obstacles/fees/complexity in the processes for would be adopters.

        • alan jutson
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          Lifelogic

          As I understand it, a family looking after a child under foster care arrangements, gets paid up to £25,000 per year (more in some cases) Per child from the Local Authority, plus additional benefits such as damage insurance for items the child may break, and an allowance for birthday and christmas presents.

          To adopt you need to be the right age, colour, religion, and weight, not sure of financial arrangements (if any) or if the same criteria applies to foster care type parents.

          May help to explain why many who would love to adopt, and can provide other evidence of a secure and loving family environment, cannot do so.

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

            I am not surprised – I even heard I think that someone who had had two cigars (in two years) was debarred. Just shows you can turn anything into an industry for the state sector. trees, children, adoption, recycling fines, changing your windows, old people, parking ………….

        • uanime5
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

          Given that most of the fosters and adopters are those who have previously adopted or fostered the problem seems to be a lack of young people replacing the older fosters and adopters.

          In the past the two main types of people who adopted/fostered were those who couldn’t have children and those whose children had grown up.

          Regarding the first group IVF and other fertility treatments have enabled more couples to have children and at later in life. So the number of couples who can’t have children is less than it used to be.

          Regarding the second group the increased cost of living has forced many people to start families and purchase their own home later in life. For example in the UK:

          1) The average groom is 37 and bride 34.
          2) The average first time house buyer is 30 (with financial support) or 36 (without financial support).

          So most people are only able to start a family in their late 30’s or early 40’s. Even if these children leave at 20 the parents will be nearly 60, so unable to care for other children.

          If youth unemployment continues to increase then this will lead to more and more people delaying owing their own home and getting married, which further reduced the number of people who can adopt.

          Expect the number of children not adopted or fostered to increase.

          • A different Simon
            Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            I’m was adopted as an infant .

            I was lucky to get a little sister who too was adopted as the David Steele act had come in by that time .

            “the number of couples who can’t have children is less than it used to be.”

            Yep it’s lower but still much higher than people realise ; about 1 in every 6 couples .

            The numbers of birth Mothers who feel they cannot give their children the future they want and consider giving them up for adoption must still be in the tens of thousands .

            To find out what it happening I would say asking the birth Mothers first would be the best place to start .

          • A different Simon
            Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            PS , what you say about people who’s children who had grown up starting foster may well be the case . I don’t know .

            Even back in the late 60’s couples who were 40 years of age were almost always rejected as potential adopters and to my knowledge this has been the case since .

          • A different Simon
            Posted September 30, 2011 at 12:36 am | Permalink

            PPS “which further reduced the number of people who can adopt”

            There are more couples than ever per baby which comes up for adoption .

            People are leaving it later to try and start a family by which time their fertility has decreased markedly and it may take a couple of years before they seek help .

            At the same time the number of infants available for adoption has decreased as more pregnant women opt to terminate their pregnancy instead .

            No birth Mother will want their baby to grow up in care .

            By the time a child is two or three years old it becomes much more difficult to place them .

            I can’t help but feel the system is putting politicial ideology infront of the best interests of children .

    • Disaffected
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      John, yesterday Government ministers were not using definite language to say no, they were vague in their opposition.

      Germany will continue its course because it is political ideology that has brought them this far and it will continue irrespective of public opinion. This is the third time in recent history that they wanted to dominate Europe and they will do so because we have weak British politicians.

      Wikipedia reveals this quote:
      Clegg wrote that “all nations have a cross to bear, and none more so than Germany with its memories of Nazism. But the British cross is more insidious still. A misplaced sense of superiority, sustained by delusions of grandeur and a tenacious obsession with the last war, is much harder to shake off”.[38][39] The article was dusted down during the 2010 General Election campaign when the Daily Mail interpreted the article as being a “Nazi slur on Britain”.

      Do you think politicians who think like this have our national interest at heart??

      Reply: I certainly disagree strongly with Mr Clegg on this crucial matter. My understanding of the UK national interest is very different.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        I wonder if he got this guff at Westminster school or on the Cambridge social anthropology course.

        Still he seems to me to be the only, relatively, sane member of the LibDems and thanks to Cameron’s green, lefty, pro EU agenda at the election they are stuck with him.

        • A different Simon
          Posted September 30, 2011 at 12:41 am | Permalink

          With Clegg though he is only a Lib Dem by default .

          He could equally stand for Conservative or Labour .

          He’s like a salesman , it doesn’t matter what it is that he is selling it’s all just selling at the end of the day .

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 30, 2011 at 9:43 am | Permalink

            Rather like Cameron then.

      • Disaffected
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        I am glad you agree. That is why it is crucial that people like Mr Clegg should not be allowed to beat the European drum without counter argument and why he needs ousting from Government ASAP. It is worrying to think that Alexander and Huhne would have us in the single Euro by now and Clegg would be centre stage to make it all happen.

        Cameron disappoints on a daily basis and I fear Tory voters will defect by the next election.

  3. Mick Anderson
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    If the Germans do vote against their taxes being wasted on propping up the profilgate. They will either be told to go away and vote again (as the Irish were), or the politicans will simply ignore the wishes of the people they claim to represent and continue regardless (as in the UK).

    It doesn’t matter is creating bonds, “printing” money, or leveraging the funds is illegal. The EU leaders will just ignore the rules and do what they want, just like normal.

    While I would like the Germans to vote against this immoral and illegal bailing out, I doubt anything will change even if they do.

    The EU now wants to impose a Transaction Tax on all trading in the Ciy of London, largely to fund the failing Euro. I suspect that there is also some envy involved in the proposal. As we are not part of the Euro and in theory have an opt-out on the EU raising taxes in the UK, this should be a non-issue. However, as we have all learnt to distrust Mr Cameron and his staff on all matters European, I suspect they will find a way to give this away too.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Lots of hand wringing and waffle on Newsnight last night before the Telegraph Correspondent was thrown off the set for calling the EU Spokesman “an idiot from Brussels” after a warning from Chairman Paxman.

    What was truly scary was the prim way the two EU spokespersonnel simply could not understand what the fuss was all about.

    Mr Cameron and Mr Hague’s remarks make me very angry, actually. Very angry indeed. Do they honestly expect us to believe a word they say about being tough on Europe?

    If I were a German, I would be spitting nails.

    The crash approaches, methinks.

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Mike

      Agreed.

      I even thought Mr Paxman was AT LAST begining to see the nonesense of the Euro bailout argument being put forward.

      Paxman actually looked very concerned and dismayed when taking to the market representitive about the possible outcomes.

      Think both JR and Mr Oborne may be getting some more phone calls to appear in future programmes, JR to give the calm and fully explained version, and Oborne for some basic facts and language (and entertainment throuh the mocking of past Euro policy failures), on what is likely to be the next European war, but this time fought on finance.

      • Damien
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        alan

        I thought Osborne was making a good argument until he became abusive to the EU spokesman. Paxman had an opportunity to diffuse the comment and move the discussion forward but fumbled by reiterating the Osborne insult to the EU guest, thereby encouraging Osborne to continue. The argument is always best won by reason and not by insult.

        • alan jutson
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          Damien

          I absolutely agree with your comment, but years and years of frustration I think got the better of Oborne when he heard yet ever more casual rubbish and utter drivel from the EU spokesman.

          It was a real shame JR was not in his place with his usual measured, factual and concise arguments, but then Paxman would probably have cut him off less than halfway through.

          Sometimes you simply have to make a very blunt, and very quick point, that you know that the opposition are talking absolute nonesense, and so do they.

          If the BBC were more open to a proper structured programme for argument with few interruptions, instead of presenters thinking they are more important than the actual arguments themselves, we may at last get somewhere.

          Should Oborne be asked on again, I am sure he would be far more structured in his comments and argument.

          But Paxman really did look shocked at the possibilities of the end game scenario if it all goes belly up !

          • Mike Stallard
            Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            I think the pro Euro mob have always used this argument: you had better join or else the consequences will be so terrible that we cannot even bear to think about them.
            Now the euro is, obviously, just about to fail, only the second half of the argument remains.
            Do you know what? I rather doubt whether they will actually be that bad. But – hey – what do I know? We haven’t even heard it discussed.

  5. norman
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    The only thing that can be said with absolute certainty is that things have been left to fester for so long that we’re now at a stage that whatever action is or isn’t taken it’s going to turn out ruinously expensive for everyone, including us. The thought of politicians being able to save us from anything has long since left the heads of sane people.

    I’d say ‘another fine mess’ but you politicians (as a whole) have really outdone yourselves this time, there’s no ‘another’ to compare this snafu to!

  6. Leslie Smith
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    The great thing about the German mentality, ( I lived there as a boy) is that NEIN means NO. They really mean it, they do not change their minds back again. A German, in my experience, usually has impeccible logic and reason. They are not swayed to suddenly change their minds because of emotion. ( British humour is often lost on them, until you explain you are making a joke. However, we may see the mess in Europland as a joke, the Germans do not. I firmly believe that the German Courts will declare any $2 Trillion Bail Out Fund as illegal and may even declare the $440 Billion fund illegal yet.

    It is ironic that it will be German Judges who save us from this escalating euro madness, where a Country with good credit rating, borrows Billions, only to lend it ( give it away) to other Countries, who cannot borrow such sums because of poor or terrible or non existant credit ratings. German Tax Payers are not fools, nor are we. ( British Voters) This Euro merry go round has to stop soon and it will be the German mentality, character and logic, coupled to a solid value system, which will end this. You are right, they were very proud of the DM. I worked over there when the DMark was the German currency. I always felt that the German People and voters were pretty luke warm when the Euro was launched.

    They certainly will not throw fifty years of post WWII hard work, exporting and effort go down the drain. To be taxed and get Public Services back is one thing. To gift it all to a foreign Country who hates you, is something else altogether and the Germans will say NO,NO, NO a bit like Margaret Thatcher. The Euro game is starting to heat up and will get hotter yet.

  7. Robert K
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Peter Oborne’s reaction on Newsnight last night may have been a bit over the top, but his drive was correct. The message coming out from Brussels is bonkers. The spokesman who stormed off after being called an “idiot” three times, had calmly stated that the euro was the path to prosperity in Europe. Scarily, it seems that the eurocrats have detached themselves from reality. Rather than looking at the disastrous consequences of the euro they are using their own rhetoric to convince themselves of the euro’s validity and are closing their eyes to the facts.

    Reply: yes, it was gripping TV

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Indeed the spokesman was either an idiot or perhaps just someone who resented having to defend such an idiotic position.

      He showed this by putting forward an absurd indefensible position, failing to defend it and then in storming off like a spoiled child – thus showing his contempt for any democratic questioning of this absurd position. A contempt that seems to infect nearly all the EU institutions and much of government local and national.

  8. Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I believe you may have a problem with your intials of the various rescue funds. The EFSF was the original €440 billion fund of the Euro Group. The EFSM was the fund from the EU budget supposedly restricted to €65 billion to which all 27 EU members had to contribute, while the long term facility negotiated and published but not yet ratified will be called the ESM. (Of course in some countries, depending on the language, these initial may all move around or become something even more alien).

    After the 21st July meeting of this year the EFSF was agreed to be amended with I believe a 20% voluntary private bank haircut and a provision for the ECB to go further than in the past. This change is slowly going through the 17 European national parliaments and passed tha halfway point yesterday with Finlan, albeit laughably still have a parliamentary veto regarding collateral in force (envisioned in the 21st July agreement) most likely to scupper the whole arrangement by precluding the IMF from joining in future advances.

    More importantly, on German democracy, as I have quite frequently discussed on my blog, is the ever more obvious fact that the entire EU, given Germany’s economic power, is now dependent on this last remnant of any democracy within the EU. Whoever is put in power in Germany decides the fates of some 500 million Europeans, the Treaties having already been trashed. Today it is likely the amendments to the EFSF will be carried, thanks to the votes of the opposition SPD and the Greens. Watch the leader of the SPD, given present polls he is the putative leader of the EU should Economic Governace of the Euro Zone be allowed to come into force. Nick Clegg, your Coalition partner party leader, is reported by the BBC to be about to urge that course today, following the example set by your own George Osborne.

  9. Richard
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Sadly, no European politicians are risking any of their own money when they decide to spend billions they don’t have.

    Those who decide to do this, should be held proprtionately responsible for their decisons and have their personal wealth taken away, and be banned from holding future office, if this turns into financial failure.

    Not so different to what can happen to Directors of companies who fail to run their businesses in a proper manner without due regard for their creditors.

    We hear much about human rights legislation; one extra right I would like enshrined, is for my elected leaders not to be able to lend our money to other nations, nor borrow to fund their plans, beyond a certain level.

  10. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    The title should read: Will enough Germans take responsibilty for their eurozone.
    Do we stay stuck in provincial politics or dare to grow towards a proper EMU, based on a better growth and stability pact and arbitrated by a EU commissioner (Dutch proposal).
    Boosting or leveraging the rescue fund was branded a “stupid idea” by German politicians and German has a dissenting voice inside the ECB. All the same, our democracies have allowed Italy and even Greece to join the eurozone and all we see now is the disorderly process of finding a consensus. If today (including Italy and Greece) the eurozone were to a “sovereign” it would overall have a healthier currency than either the US or the UK.

    • David Ashton
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      You are correct, if the Eurozone were a single country, it would be in a stronger financial position than the US, Japan, or UK with regard to deficits and debt. However, as a single country it would have to transfer massive sums of money, collected through taxing the affluent north, and distributed to the poor south for many years. All you have to do is persuade Germans that they are no longer Germans, but North Eurozoners. I wish you well with that task.

      • sjb
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Germany has made very generous contributions to the EU over the years, which has helped fund improvements in the poorer Member States. Today’s large majority in the Bundestag approving a further bailout suggests further transfers are not yet a problem.

        I don’t see why you think Germans will have to consider themselves North Eurozoners. Texas was once an independent republic until federalists prevailed and it joined the Union (of the United States). But it is still Texas.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Do you think the EU as it stands today has democratic legitimacy and if so in which countries ?

      Would you agree that the EU has got to where it has today through lies and deception of the people of sovereign nations ?

      If so , can anything good come out of something which is based on lies and deceit ?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        @A different Simon: 3 questions, my 3 answers:
        1) Yes. There is a process of both governments and parliaments endorsing treaties. That makes it 54 x yes before a treaty becomes operational. Being legitimate, the EU must improve its democracy further.
        2) no, at least not in my country. I cannot speak for the UK
        3) You may feel you have been lied to, I haven’t.

        • A different Simon
          Posted September 30, 2011 at 12:52 am | Permalink

          Didn’t the Dutch people vote against the European Constitution in their referendum of 2005 ?

          Surely some of those people who voted against it in 2005 must realise that the Lisbon Treaty is just a new name for the European Constitution .

          Surely they must feel betrayed mustn’t they ?

        • sm
          Posted September 30, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          It does not help your cause that the EU does not
          1) insist on public referendum by the nation states where they are not legally required?
          2) where they are constitutionally unavoidable the EU continually agitates for more referendum when the answer – is no thankyou to union and yes to mutual non binding co-operation.
          3) imho the whole EU process is a political calculation, they know it, we increasingly know it.The ratchet or snake (no disrespect to snakes) effect of the EU, renders red-lines opt outs meaningless. You can breathout only but not in.
          4) Why does the EU apparently break the treaties/eu law with regularity?

          The lack of real democratic consent will end the EU as and when it emerges and shows its colours or rather dictats. Will the EU be prepared to use force against real citizens of the nation states?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted September 30, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

            @SM: An EU wide referendum on one and the same date has been proposed within the EU but most countries see this as infringing on their national sovereignty. I’m not a great believer in referendum, neither was e.g. Margaret Thatcher who quoted referendums “a device of demagogues and dictators”. When the first bail-outs were improvised as emergency measures that would otherwise have breached the EU treaties, this action was recently tested and cleared in the German constitutional court. If the EU were just a political calculation, blame the individual national democracies. This union is entirely voluntary and any country can leave it (Greenland did so in the past). As a Europhile, I will join those who call for reform towards more democratic accountability in the EU. Even Giscard d’Estaing calls for reformations to rbing the citizens closer to the union.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted September 30, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

          @A different Simon. I think that a rather small minority may feel betrayed, but not by the EU, by their Dutch parliament! Dutch parliament, studied, debated extensively, and overwhelmingly endorsed the Lisbon Treaty. In a parliamentary democracy the parliamentarians don’t always follow the public mood of the day. They are not just followers, they are also accountable for providing the best course in complex matters. Most Dutch accept this.

    • Mark
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Are you so sure? The gross external debt of Eurozone countries totals rather more than $25 trillion. So far the US is at around $15 trillion.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        It depends rather which statistics you use. If you look at government deficit and debt, both as a ration to gdp, then the euro area scores better than UK and US.

  11. Sue
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Will enough Germans defend their democracy?

    Depends on whether they have a bunch of undemocratic Europhiles in power like we have.

    If the UK Government can constantly ignore the wishes of the electorate, what’s to stop the German Government doing the same? The Greek people are on the verge of slaughtering all their politicians and they’re carrying on with their tax policies regardless of whether their lives are in danger or not.

    The question is, what will the British Government do when there is a similar uprising? It will come, I can assure you.

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I’m sure that it was admitted on Newsnight last night that the Euro leaders have been lying to their people and this will continue because they need public support! The only real surprise is that someone actually admitted it. This is a long running saga which is designed to give the Eurocrats what they want and to force the peoples of the Eurozone countries and beyond to accept what they say as the alternative is even worse. In the meantime our Prime Minister is reported in the Daily Mail as being exercised about the increasing use of plastic bags in supermarkets!!!

    • zorro
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      It is indeed comforting to know that we have a PM who is able to effectively prioritise the more important issues such as plastic bags. He has a global strategic vision you see…..

      Zorro

      • zorro
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Just like Gordon Brown did….

      • alan jutson
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        Zorro

        Ah, but he is wrong on plastic bags as well, he is convinced that they are used just once and then thrown away, whereas we line our kitchen bin with ours, as do the rest of our family, keeps the kitchen waste tidy and the bin and dustbin clean.

        Saves purchasing bin liners, and reduces the production of more plastic bags (in liners), which are more expensive.

        Notice Tesco has a recycling system in some stores for their plastic bags, so they are used more than once.

        Me thinks Mr Cameron should go shopping more often, perhaps he may then get a bit better clued up on what is really happening outside of the Westminster bubble.

        • zorro
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          Yes, a fellow true green like me who uses their plastic shopping bag as a bin! Ah, but we are looking at practical matters and not theory unlike our impractical leaders.

          Alan, of course Mr Cameron does not shop for food. He went to Eton and it is a well known fact that people who went there do not do such lowly things as food shopping….probably.

          zorro

        • A different Simon
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          You can imagine what would be going through his mind as he went round ….

          “Can of corned beef £2.59 , that’s cheap , what are all these prol’s complaining about . Isn’t it nice to see so many foreign goods on our high street”

  13. Viv Evans
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    It looks as if Merkel will get a majority for this – the ‘rebels’ in her party, not agreeing,will be made up handsomely by the far left/green Bundestag Members.
    What will happen after that – who knows!

    Two points need to be made:
    * it is the German parliament voting today – not the German people. There is no referendum, and never has been. Germans, like we in the UK, have no say once a general election has taken place.

    * I was stunned by a remark William Hague made yesterday in an interview in the Speccie:
    “…Germans will have to accept that they are going to subsidise those countries for a long time to come really, for the rest of their lifetimes.”

    This smacks of the worst attitude possible amongst the Foreign Office Mandarins, who surely must have advised Hague. It is arrogant, detached, and totally unrelated to the reality.

    Do Hague and the FO really think it is ok to literally condemn the Germans to pay forever, on top of being the country contributing the most to EU coffers?
    Have they had any thought about what will happen to the UK – second-largest contributor – should the German economy crash under this burden? Who, do they think, will be asked to make up monetary differences? Yep – us.
    Or do Hague and the FO think Barroso will not do his utmost to get us deeper and deeper into this merde?

    I wish you’d have a quiet word with Mr Hague, John. This is 2011, not 1911 when we had an Empire and could afford to be detached, giving ‘advice’ to other countries, from a great height.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Good to see a sensible poster. To many people on this forum seem to forget that the UK will suffer if Germany does not support the Euro.

      • Viv Evans
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        I’m afraid you got the wrong end of the stick here.

        In the first place, this being the 21st, not the 19th or early 20th century, it is not for our Foreign Minister to tell another country, glibly, that they’ve got to put up with paying for the rest of their lifetime.

        In the second place, Germany paying or not, Hague’s attitude (and Cameron’s, for that matter) is one of acceptance and appeasement of the unelected, unaccountable Eurocrats, who are trying to move us right into this mess.
        So we would and will suffer, not because of Germany or Greece, but because of our politicians and Whitehall Mandarins.

        Or do you agree with Mr Barroso that an unelected EU Finance Minister is what we need? One who’d check what our Treasury does, tells our Chancellor what to do, and takes away the power of our Parliament, to agree or reject our budget?

        Because I don’t, and I apologise for any unclear expression in my post which allowed you your interpretation.

  14. Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    The Germans have no more say in the affairs of their country than we do in Britain. Once elected all but a few honourable MPs in both countries just do what their party leaders tell them to in order to get promotion. As , I think it was Michelle Bachmann said in America, look at the number of Representatives and Senators who have nothing when they enter Congress and retire as multi-millionaires. Many of our, and no doubt German, elected representatives are exactly the same, just look at Tony Blair -(etc etc)

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      E P.

      Exactly

  15. backofanenvelope
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    When considering the EU and its activities, it is well to keep in mind its primary aim. This is to do whatever is best for France. So the financial transaction tax is a method of raising money needed to re-capitalise the French banks. These banks are hopelessly over-exposed to Greek and other foreign debt.

  16. NickW
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    It is reasonable to suppose, that the European “elite” saw this crisis coming when the Euro was introduced. To believe otherwise, is to believe that those at the head of Europe are terminally stupid.

    We have to accept therefore that those at the head of Europe accepted untold human suffering as a price worth paying for a united Europe.

    The ghosts of Napoleon, Mussolini, and Hitler are at the head of the European Union, doing their evil work.

    Will the people of Europe surrender to them?

    • norman
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      I’m a firm believer in Occam’s Razor so I prefer to think they’re all terminally stupid.

      Does anyone have any evidence to the contrary?

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      If the political means do no exist to get us out of the EU then what are the alternatives ?

      “Direct action” in the terrorist sense ?

      Blackballing the big businesses which are at the heart of the establishment ?

  17. Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    The German people will give Mrs Merkel the boot when they get the chance, unless she says “No more German money for bail outs” – and she knows it.

    A new cloud on the horizon is the blatantly political and Euro-fanatical utterances of the new Managing Director of the IMF. We should suspend our membership of, and subscription to, the IMF until it mends its ways. Come to think of it, what use is the IMF? It only encourages nations to carry on borrowing when they shouldn’t.

  18. oldtimer
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    In the 20th century Germans saw the value of their currencies wiped out twice, during the Weimar republic and after Hitler was defeated. I had a lot of business contacts in West Germany during the 1970s and 1980s. What struck me then was their utter commitment to sound money, exemplified by the DM, and hard work, which brought them prosperity after their darkest hours.

    That hard won prosperity is about to be devalued by the latest Euro-wheeze. I am now out of the loop where German business is concerned so I have no idea what attitudes are in todays generation. It is difficult to imagine that attitudes to sound money have changed significantly. If German politicians get their way and help debauch the Euro my guess is that they, and the German people, will pay a very heavy price. It would provide fertile ground for other politicians to brand them as authors of a betrayal of the post WW2 years. Historical precedents make for uncomfortable implications. I hope Germany turns it down.

  19. Dr Dan H.
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    There is one underlying assumption that all here have made, which really needs to be questioned. The assumption is that German actually CAN affect the outcome of the Euro’s fortunes. Given the assorted gibberingly stupid statements coming out of Greece (“Our tax-form printers have run out of ink, we can do nothing!”) and the signals from the rest of Club Med, I am extremely skeptical of this assumption, since it also assumes that the Club Med defaulters will suddenly grow brains, backbones and fiscal responsibility will spontaneously appear, newly-minted and fully formed and completely operational once these lot are bailed out.

    I think this underlying assumption and the follow-on assumption that they’ll have learned a lesson are both completely incorrect.

    I think that the entire continent could beggar its self completely, and still not pay off all the debts. Even were this attempted, the Club Med wastrels would not, indeed can not develop any form of fiscal responsibility overnight. Greece is still a nation of tax-dodging, lying, lazy idiots and it is still a morass of cosy little cartels and legal walled gardens; bail them out this time, and they’ll only go dig another hole straight away and then turn up again with their hands out for another hand-out.

    No, better that Greece be allowed to default and be summarily booted out of the Euro forthwith to teach all therein that the magic money tree doesn’t exist.

  20. uanime5
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Well as you always say if the electorate don’t like what their Government is doing they won’t vote for them at the next election. After all it’s not like you’re saying that the Germans should have a way of stopping their Government but the British should not.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Do you think the British people have a right to a referendum on the UK’s relationship with the EU ?

      How about the Germans ?

      Repkly: Yes, to UK. Germans should decide their own issues.

  21. NickW
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    If the two trillion roll of the dice goes wrong, France and Germany will terminally bankrupt themselves beyond the world’s ability to bail them out.

    They need to ask themselves the question,

    “What will happen if it all goes wrong?”

  22. Winston's Black Dog
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Amidst all this froth Little Georgie is no doubt poised with his pen to write yet another UK cheque to bailout the Euro and eagerly sqeaking “how much, how much.”

    The only question, under Cleggeron, is whether the UK is shafted for its bailout contribution transparently or by stealth via the IMF or some other means.

    I have absolutely no faith in most of the quislings in the House of Commons whom masquerade as MPs to defend UK interests ahead of EU interests.

    As far as they are concerned they are one and the same.

  23. Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    The greatest impediment to Germans putting a stop to this madness is the indoctrination from their own media which is even worse than ours by all accounts.

  24. Chris
    Posted September 30, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I am not sure John whether this is regarded as going off topic, or simply as a development of the theme. The debate in Austria today on the EFSF package has been fiery aparently with proceedings suspended as the finance minister Maria Fekter was heckled. It is thought that the government will approve the measures re the bail out, but there is vociferous and powerful opposition from far right parties/groups: the opposition far-right-wing Freedom Party of Austria, and the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ).
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/blog/2011/sep/30/european-debt-crisis-austria-bailout-vote

  25. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted October 1, 2011 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    No soveriegn Nation should be peace loving when it is attacked from either outside or inside forces – including Germany.

    Germans – like Britains; have the Sovereign right to defend themselves from the theft of their wealth.

    The Deutsche Mark – like the British Pound; was a symbol of local control that was tossed away when the EURO arrived.

    Even the British Pound is NOT under the control of the British Government as it is created through fractional reserve lending.

    Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

    The Treasury only creates about 3% of the UK currency. The rest is and has been created by Private Banks making loans. We are renting our own currency from Banks when we could create it debt free.

    Why are you not fighting the case for this Mr Redwood? Why are you not putting forward arguments in the House of Commons for the UK Treasury (through the Bank of England) to create the Nations money debt free?

    What is the advantage to the British People, of allowing the Pound to be digitally created; through Fractional Reserve Lending; and shackling the economy to more and more debt?

    Please explain this ?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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