The Euro tooth fairy brings a shiny single currency after all

Were they downhearted by all the mess their currency plan had brought on them? No, not at all. They immediately saw the problems. They had let the wolves wreck things for them. They had not been friendly and European enough. The next time they were not to be thwarted.

They said to themselves, if the wolves can mess us up because they can sell our currencies when we want them to buy them, we should go straight to setting up the single currency. Then there will no currencies left to sell against each other. The wolves will be foiled.

So it came to pass. They moved to set up a new Bank to house their common bank accounts. They printed smart new bank notes with pretty bridges on. They thought up the catchy name, the Euro, for their new money. Because only one country, Luxembourg met all the silly detailed requirements the wisemen had proposed for the new currency, they decided that was all foolish old hat. Why not let everyone in who wanted to join, as none of them met the rules? They could sort it out afterwards, as the wolves could do nothing this time.

For several years it went very well. All those dour old Eurosceptics kept on banging on about how it would end in tears and how they needed to control the debts and deficits. The Eurosceptics now said they agreed with the wise men about that. They thought that you should not allow countries that had already borrowed too much to borrow even more at the new common low rates of interest. They queried how Greek debt could be as good as German debt, and asked if they really shared a bank account? Would Germany bail them out? No-one sensible believed the Eurosceptics. So the governments just kept saying these critics were mad or sad or bad, or possibly all three.

The Irish were having a ball, borrowing loads of money at the nice low rates they got in the new currency. They built plenty of houses, and thousands of Irish returned home to join in the fun. The Spaniards enjoyed a lovely property boom, with big banks lending loads on mortgage and to companies. The Greeks basked in the sunshine and spent billions on more soldiers, earlier retirements and better public services, as it was so cheap to borrow. Even the Germans were happy. They worked hard and made millions of motor cars, as all the people elsewhere in Euroland could now afford to borrow the money to buy new cars. The Germans piled up all their savings, and were very good at selling lots of goods to everyone else.

The currency wolves had slunk away. The Euro did quite well. What could possibly go wrong? Wasn’t the Euro about to replace the dollar? Wasn’t it to become the world’s mightiest currency? Wouldn’t the silly UK have to join after all? Didn’t they always get there in the end, but were just a bit slow about it? Wasn’t it good that those Eurosceptics were so wrong.

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64 Comments

  1. Posted December 22, 2011 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    And now, the new bank has waved its magic wand and created €500 billion of shiny new money, lent it to lots of banks at 1% who promptly lent it to Governments at 6% making lots of lovely profits for the bankers.

    Unfortunately, in three years time, those Governments will need to pay that debt back and it will be the poor bloody taxpayer who gets the bill.

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      It is reported today in the papers that a new treaty agreement is in the offing after the German minister visited Hague and Clegg. So the Euro fairy tail could get a whole lot worse. You know you can rely on chocolate Dave to solve the problem at the mad hatters tea party.

      • Disaffected
        Posted December 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Happy Christmas John, thanks for the blog and taking the time to communicate with the public. All the best.

        • Cynfeeaarr
          Posted December 22, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          Wishing you a merry Christmas and happy New Year John and keep on keeping on with your more than excellent blog.

          Reply: Will do, and thanks

  2. Antisthenes
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    The wolves know a sick herd of animals when they see one and will harry the herd until it is dead then feed on the carcasses. However the herd is putting up a fight and will not go down willingly. The question is does the herd stick together and hope to fight off the wolves through weight of numbers or split up and sacrifice one or two of their number so the rest can escape and live on. It is an age old dilemma one no doubt we will see resolved sometime in 2012 for this particular herd. At the moment the wolves are being fed scraps mostly of very inferior quality will it satisfy them? Well that will depend on how hungry and bold the wolves are and how robust the herd is. Perhaps this particular scenario aught to be commentated upon by David Attenborough.

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      No, not David Attenborough. It has nothing to do with global warming!!!! Wind farms are as good as patio heaters for reducing the climate!

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    John,
    What is your opinion about the ECB’s €489bn loan to eurozone banks?

    Reply: I put out a response yesterday about EU QE. It eases liquidity problems and staves off refinancing difficulties for stressed banks, but it does not solve the underlying problems.

    • javelin
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      The long term repo operation yesterday was like putting a patient on morphine – after christmas the debts, the deficits, the uncompetitive economies, the lareg public sector the large benefits will ALL still be there.

      Trying not to mix analogies but I guess in the new year there will be a case of “coyete arm” – hopefully the Germans will wake up and realise they need to bite their own arm off to escape their ugly bed fellows without disturbing them.

  4. javelin
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Remember the Greek “voluntary” haircuts – to stop triggering the Greek Sovereign CDS. Well there was always a risk that a minnow would not play ball and hold the ECB hostage. The political wonks said it would never happen for fear of the wrath of the mighty EU.

    Well it happened – Vega Asset Management has walked out of the Greek haircut negotiations – and if they carry out their threat/promise it will mean triggering the collapse of the EZ banks (well French and German banks). Vega is the only hedgie on the negotiation team and presumably isnt going to be pushed around like the banks and probably has a lot of backers in the hedge fund industry. Good to see a dose of realism from the hedge funds.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/21/uk-vega-idUSLNE7BK01M20111221

    • albion
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Collapse of EZ banks you say?
      Like with RBS, Northern Rock, LloydsTSB, Bradford&Bingley etc …etc….
      Please could someone tell me when I can expect to recoup my hard-earned ‘investment’ in those toxic dumps, shining exemples of the UK’s world-leading financial ‘industry’.
      Last I looked at RBS share price, it was 20p, ie a quarter of what ‘we’ paid to acquire 85% of its shares. Still, I’m sure this won’t spoil Sir (for services to banking …..) Fred Goodwin’s Christmas.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        The government RBS investment, down to 25% of the investment, makes Cameron’s Greek and Irish “profitable” loans look not too bad!

      • Bazman
        Posted December 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Like the church you need to pay homage and be happy that the leaders live in such finery. Your reward is after you die.

      • APL
        Posted December 24, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        albion: “Please could someone tell me when I can expect to recoup my hard-earned ‘investment’ .. ”

        My opinion? Thirty years, if you are lucky.

        A question for anyone really. Why does the government tax interest on savings if not to discourage saving and/or encourage people to save through the ‘safer’ stock market?

  5. Jim
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I am reminded of the start of Saki’s The Lumber Room: It was written a 100 years ago and is long out of copyright, but human nature hasn’t changed ….

    “The children were to be driven, as a special treat, to the sands at Jagborough. Nicholas was not to be of the party; he was in disgrace. Only that morning he had refused to eat his wholesome bread-and-milk on the seemingly frivolous ground that there was a frog in it. Older and wiser and better people had told him that there could not possibly be a frog in his bread-and-milk and that he was not to talk nonsense; he continued, nevertheless, to talk what seemed the veriest nonsense, and described with much detail the coloration and markings of the alleged frog. The dramatic part of the incident was that there really was a frog in Nicholas’s basin of bread-and-milk; he had put it there himself, so he felt entitled to know something about it. The sin of taking a frog from the garden and putting it into a bowl of wholesome bread-and-milk was enlarged on at great length, but the fact that stood out clearest in the whole affair, as it presented itself to the mind of Nicholas, was that the older, wiser, and better people had been proved to be profoundly in error in matters about which they had expressed the utmost assurance.
    “You said there couldn’t possibly be a frog in my bread-and-milk; there was a frog in my bread-and-milk,” he repeated””

    The children = the people of Europe

    the sands at Jagborough = the promised sunlit eurozone paradise

    Nicholas = the UK (Except actually the UK didn’t put a frog in the milk – it just warned everyone that there was one)

    the frog = monetary union not preceded by political union

    the older, wiser, and better people = well, you know who they are …

  6. lifelogic
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I see that the only one positive thing that I have ever noticed Huhne do or say (the cutting of the photo voltaic bling subsidy) has been rejected by the courts. So it seems he cannot even manage that legally or efficiently.

    True he should never have even started this absurd & nonsense industry, but having done so the sooner it is killed the better. Particularly as photo voltaic do not make any sense and certainly not in the cloudy UK (even wind is better than PV). Or even just in a net C02 emissions sense either. Now even the priests at the warmist BBC admit there has been no actual significant world warming since 1998 anyway.

    On the wider point if the government cannot even decide what grants it gives for pointless house badges without the courts intervening what sort of real government is it?
    Surely any intervention from the courts should be solely in the direction of allowing no grants. This because these PV badges make no sense in engineering terms (or C02 warming emission terms) and are therefore just a clear attempt to buy votes with “fake green” house badges and financial payments.

    • A different Simon
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Whilst reduction of the subsidy was the right decision , especially as panel prices are coming down , it was implemented incredibly clumsily .

      The Govt should imho have reduced the subsidy in stages over a period of about 3 years .

      This would have given people who had invested their life savings starting PV businesses time to adjust and if necessary exit the market in a controlled manner .

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        I agree it was clumsy but the mistake was in starting the nonsense industry in the first place – the sooner it is killed and put out of its misery the better for all involved.

        The things just do not generate enough to justify installing & cleaning the moss of them.

        • APL
          Posted December 24, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

          lifelogic: “but the mistake was in starting the nonsense industry in the first place – the sooner it is killed and put out of its misery the better for all involved.”

          Yes, just look at the record of government industrial initiatives! I can think of two that eventually failed costing the tax payer an arm and a leg, right now.

          Delorian.
          Inmos

          Then there are the companies that have had the benefit of a ‘helping hand’ from the government:

          The British motor company
          British Leyland
          British Coal
          British Steel

          If that isn’t enough to teach some very salutary lessons about the capabilities of government then I don’t know what is.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic

      Any business which relies upon a subsidy of any sort to simply exist, is not commercially viable in the first place.

      This says it all about windmills, PV panels and the rest of the bling you so often highlight, if this type of business is not viable at all without a massive taxpayer funded subsidy, then its not a commercial business in any proper sense at all.

      • Jagman84
        Posted December 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Where does that leave the UK rail industry then? Or is it a case of it being “Too big to fail?”, whereas ‘Small Businesses’ can go hang! If the renewables industry is not viable then it needs to be wound down in a sensible way to protect both the suppliers and its customers. A little like the Euro, if you wish!

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 22, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

          Clearly much of the rail industry is equally mad. It clearly is not green in any real sense either if you look at the whole journey door to door and the real occupancies. It perhaps makes sense for a few intercity and commuter routes and we need the Gatwick-Heathrow HS rail link and the two new runways.

          For the rest, coaches, motor bikes, planes and cars are clearly best in terms of efficiency, convenience, the environment and cost. Thank goodness for the hero Dr Beeching – needless to say another hate figure of the BBC who did a great deal of good.

    • Colin Adkins
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Reluctant though I am to say anything that could be seen to be sympathetic to the apalling Hune, I think I am correct in saying the FIT scheme was set up by the prvious useless lot although it first applied in April 2010.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 22, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps you are right but he should have killed it the day he took office. It only takes 5 minutes with a calculator and the back of an envelope to see PV is mad – even in most sunny climates.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      I see from Delingpole’s excellent blog today that: “According to Reuters, no fewer than 5,000 German solar companies have gone bust in the last year, shedding around 20,000 jobs.”

      If you build a daft industry on the basis of huge government grants what do you expect – especially in rather the cloudy UK?

  7. lifelogic
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the fairy tale needs to end with a happy ending of all the state sector employees and benefits claimants across EURO area all being paid or pensioned in State Euro Vouchers worth perhaps just 70% of the real ones and adjustable as local conditions dictate (say 40% in Greece).

    It could usefully be extended to the UK with 70% pounds so the state sector is paid (including pensions) about the same as the private one. Thus sorting much of the deficit in one.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Growth revise to .6% for the last quarter and a .7% expectation for next year. No reason it could not be 7% or even 10% if the government wanted to do the right things for once. Namely reduce the size of the state, reduce taxes and reduce regulations and finally get the some lending to industry going and stop chucking it away down the PIGIS black hole.

      • APL
        Posted December 24, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        lifelogic: “Growth revise to .6% for the last quarter and a .7% expectation for next year.”

        As government growth figures include borrowing (misleading in my opinion), then the statistically insignificant 0.x growth figures could be entirely accounted for by the effect of Osborne’s borrowing splurge.

        Leave aside the small fact that borrowing today leaves us all poorer tomorrow ….

    • uanime5
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Does this mean public sector teachers, nurses, doctors, and dentists will be paid the same as their private sector counterparts? Won’t this be more expensive?

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        No with pensions they get currently about 30% more in the UK so they would then get about the same.

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 22, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          Clearly they still need to fire the circa 50% doing nothing useful or just causing a nuisance too.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 22, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        Seeing as the public sector currently earn more ( except dentists, but then there aren’t any public sector dentists anyhow) that is highly unlikely.

  8. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a Venn diagram produced by UBS in 1996:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/1996-ubs-redux-who-should-have-been-euro

    suggesting that these problems would have been largely avoided if the single currency had been restricted to just five or six of the willing countries –

    “Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg and, with a certain degree of charity as to the debt burden, Belgium”.

    In 1998 the Bruges Group produced a paper:

    http://www.brugesgroup.com/mediacentre/index.live?article=102

    “Is Europe Ready for EMU? Theory, Evidence and Consequences”

    and came up with a smaller and different set:

    “Furthermore, if we take the average number of criteria met to provide an indication of the ‘fitness’ of a given EU member state to participate in EMU, it would appear that only Luxembourg, Denmark, France, Germany and Ireland come close to satisfying the convergence indicators permanently.”

    Common sense said:

    “DON’T EVEN START THIS THING.

    If you do, then you won’t be able to keep Belgium out of it; and then if Belgium is allowed to be part of it, the Italians will fear exclusion and insist that they must be part of it as well; and then the Spanish, and the Portuguese … ”

    But common sense was shouted down and overborne by the false theory that if the Italians shared a currency with the Germans then they’d quickly learn to stop being Italians and instead become Germanic in their attitudes; and now these deranged euro-fanatics have created a situation where the whole of Europe is on the brink of economic catastrophe, and they must do everything they can, legal and illegal, to put off the evil day when they finally have to admit that they were wrong and it was all a terrible mistake from the very beginning.

    Reply I pointed out in “Our currency, our country” that a number of countries missed the qualifications for entry by a country mile. These included Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece. Of course they should not have been let in.

  9. Posted December 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/sun_says/244723/The-Sun-Says.html

    The PM is said to be considering signing a revamped EU deal that would give him the safeguards he wants for the City of London.

    But Mr Cameron must beware. He has just shown steel on Europe. Any sign of weakness will be pounced on, not just in Brussels but by his own backbenchers.

    Having stood firm, he is in a position of strength and leading the polls.

    Don’t chuck it all away, Prime Minister”

    And he will if he goes ahead without offering us a referendum. People won’t care if in his opinion “it doesn’t change anything”…. they want to be able to decide if we carry on with this club.

    It is costing all taxpayers dear.

    Women are being priced out of the working market due to the ridiculous insurance premiums in the name of equality. I’ve driven for 30 years without an accident and am I now expected to pay the same as a boy racer?

    Apparently we are not all equal. Greece obviously doesn’t need to conform to the Human Rights Act, so the country of origin policy for asylum seekers goes right out of the window and Britons, again, stuck with the bill.

    And thanks to the EU’s green taxes (a big fat con) every working family will now have to cough up extra money for airfares.

    This club is costing us too much. It’s a giant rip off machine put in place to bleed the British taxpayer dry.

    MOST OF US CAN’T AFFORD IT ANYMORE!

    • uanime5
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      “But Mr Cameron must beware. He has just shown steel on Europe. Any sign of weakness will be pounced on, not just in Brussels but by his own backbenchers.”

      What’s the point of Cameron continuing to veto the new treaty when the EU is going to give him what he asked for? How is that showing weakness?

      “I’ve driven for 30 years without an accident and am I now expected to pay the same as a boy racer?”

      Surely the cost of insurance should be based on the past history of the driver rather than their gender.

      Per miles women have more accidents than men; men just have more accidents overall because they drive more. Of course it’s no very PC to point this out.

      “Greece obviously doesn’t need to conform to the Human Rights Act, so the country of origin policy for asylum seekers goes right out of the window and Britons, again, stuck with the bill.”

      What are you making reference to?

      • Posted December 22, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5

        It may be what Cameron wants, it certainly isn’t what the British public want. They want to be consulted. They want a referendum.

        Do you know anything about risk assessment? Obviously not. I’m not going to indulge you any further.

        Do you read the news?

        I am making reference to the fact that we get threatened by the ECHR if we don’t conform, why is Greece allowed to continue to treat asylum seekers badly? Asylum seekers cost money to house, feed etc.. are you going pay for it?

        I didn’t think so!

      • libertarian
        Posted December 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        Why do you always get your facts wrong? Oh because you’re a socialist and facts don’t intrude on your theories.

        Underwriters assess the risk and they charge women lower premiums because they are deemed on average lower risks, do you see how it works in reality?

        What right does any political body have to tell a private business what and how to charge?

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Sue

      A lot of commonsense in this post.

      • Posted December 22, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Thank you. Obviously, some people are confused.

  10. albion
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    In the meantime, in the real world, the ONS have just released the figures of the balance of payments for Q3 2011 – the trade in goods shows the largest ever recorded deficit (£27.6bn).
    This in spite of a 25% devaluation of the Pound against the Euro (3 years ago, so no use blaming the J curve effect).
    Gideon’s hopes of an export-led recovery are fading fast.
    Could John explain why the UK’s trade deficit has been getting wider and wider in the last 30 years, despite repeated devaluations and years of record inward investments, not to mention our famed ‘flexible’ labour laws (in contrast with Germany, for exemple, where – shock horror – trade unionists sit on the supervisory boards of large companies).

    Reply: You can only attract more inward investment if it is balanced by a larger trade deficit. If you move to balance of payments surplus you need to be a net exporter of capital.
    The last devaluation was often used by UK manufacturers to restore margins and generate more cash, rather than to facilitate greater volume and expansion. The general background of tax, EU regulations and skills shortages has not proved that attractive in past years relative to making things elsewhere in the BRICS and US.

    • albion
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      You are confusing the trade balance with the balance of payments.
      My comment was referring to foreign direct investment, ie Japanese car companies building car plants in the UK.
      Regarding your comment on tax and regulations, I would be grateful if you explain why Germany (as well as Holland and other EU countries) has been recording rising trade surpluses in recent years.
      Germany is not known as a either a low-tax, low- social regulation or a low-wage economy.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        They in general do not get involved in races to the bottom.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      ” You can only attract more inward investment if it is balanced by a larger trade deficit. If you move to balance of payments surplus you need to be a net exporter of capital.”

      What about using that surplus to re- invest domestically to continue a competitive advantage and expansion? What abour sitting on capital to pick up bargain assets?

    • uanime5
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      In Germany trade unionists don’t just sit on the supervisory boards of large companies, they’re 50% of the supervisory boards of nearly every company. Even companies with 5 employees are required by law to have employee representatives.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        As usual WRONG

        The German model of co-determination is unique. Formulated at the end of World War II, it was applied first in the coal and steel industries of West Germany following the war and gradually expanded to other sectors. Co-determination in Germany is regulated by the Co-operative Management Law (1951), amended in 1976, and the Workers Committee Law (1952), amended in 1972. Within the framework of the 1976 reform, the government broadened the laws’ applicability to all firms throughout the German economy employing more than 2,000 workers.

        Oh and the supervisory board is a secondary board that then elects ONE that is 1 member to sit on the main board to represent the workforce

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted December 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Remembering the Wilson/Callaghan trauma over our negative balance of payments in the 1960s, the figures were headline news each month for about 3 years. I have never fully understood how the GBP is as high as it is with years of horrendous inbalances. I remember a BBC economics commentator being flummoxed by this question. We obviously have the positive financial services contribution and the earnings for the overseas sale of many of our companies, but at some point the family silver will run out. This situation re-inforces one of my hobbyhorses – produce more imported goods here.

  11. Quietzaple
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    You Tories are very fond of acusing others of “mess” no doubt for calculated psych warfare reasons, yet your party is the biggest messer around because of it’s contradictions, not least over Europe, the EU and foreigners of various creeds and skin colours.

    Politician heed thine own arris.

    Joyeux Noel! all the same.

  12. Posted December 22, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Not all Eurosceptics are dour.

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  13. Tad Davison
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    To be forwarded to Nick Clegg, and my own Lib Dem MP, Julian Huppert.

    Alas those who still live in this world of make believe, won’t any time soon, wake up to the harsh reality.

    For my part as a fervent Eurosceptic, I will keep banging on about it for as long as it takes.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  14. javelin
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been saying for well over a year (having seen some confidential stuff) I think Unicredit (the largest Italian bank) will bring (problems for-ed) the Euro (they have a 1 trillion balance sheet).

    Well here’s a strong indicator that something is (word left out-ed) wrong in that bank. The LTRO yesterday not only allowed junk Sovereign Bonds to be traded in for nice new ECB 3yr loans but also (weak-ed) banks. So Unicredit issued 40 billion of their own 3month bonds to the ECB (in the last few years the maximum tranche issued was for of 2 billion), who subsequently returned a cheap loan.

    So the question is WHAT is Unicredit actually depositing in the ECB? (What is the collateral worth?-ed)?

    (This needs careful examination-ed)

  15. Posted December 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Here is a paragraph I posted to the Financial Times forum on the euro and the eurozone exactly nine years ago today. There is another longer one from the same day on my blog. Depressing isn’t it?

    “As to the long term outlook for the Euro, I remain in the extreme pessimist camp, however it could survive for many decades in a pan-european, autocratic, siege-economy superstate with foreign travel restrictions and rigid controls on personal liberties and freedom of movement. But why wish for that, let the Euro die speedily and lets get on with enriching our lives with all the great things the continent of Europe still has to offer.”

  16. javelin
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    RBS has done the math on the LTRO – based on a Spanish Sovereign giving a profit of 2.56%.

    Until June (when the Basel III hole of 115bn needs filling) then a profit if 4.1bn. So thats a FAIL then.

    Even with profits for 3 years (then length of the ECB issue) giving 24.6bn – still not enough to plug the 115bn June 2012 deadline.

    So if Basel is delayed for 4 years and the LTRO is kept up every 3 months until Q2 2013 – then you might get the profit – assuming Spanish yields dont fall (which they will).

    So make that a FAIL then.

  17. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Remember a Euro is for Christmas not life!

  18. Quietzaple
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I remain mystified at the extremely high expectations of stasis in society and economy conservatives maintain.

    The world’s escape from the financial crisis and recession was temporary, fair enough, but the cash machines didn’t fail and lead to worse. Worse scenarios such as firesales of British banks were avoided. Britain’s unemployment was kept relatively low. Growth resumed.

    Those who imagine permanently stable economic conditions should resume their mogadon habit, only a deflationary spiral will avail them much, and the result wil be feudal poverty.

  19. electro-kevin
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    … Dorothy clicked her ruby heels and chanted, “There’s no place like home … there’s no place like home …”

  20. Sebastian
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Dear john,i note that you say that luxembourg was the only country to met the EU criteria, can you specify the ways in which germany did not? Bw sebastian

    Reply: Debt and deficit

  21. Vanessa
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    You forgot to mention that Gordon Brown, that (adjectives left out-ed) Scot told us he’d abolished ABOLISHED (no less) boom and bust and he also nearly saved the world !
    What an idiot.
    Cameron did not veto anything, there was neither a treaty nor even a draft treaty to veto just a request for leniency for The City. But as he is such a euro-phile the last thing he will do is save this country and pull out of the most expensive, corrupt, dishonest experiment ever invented. Another poor stupid man.

    Reply: he vetoed the UK signing a new treaty, whose contents were discussed, without guarantees he wanted.

    • Vanessa
      Posted December 27, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      If he had done what a number of other non-euro members did – agree to the possible treaty and when the contents were in black & white THEN to veto or disagree, it would have been a much stronger action. Now, as I understand it, he will not even be invited to the talks about the new treaty and so will have no say. Also, because we are still a member we could still have to abide by a new treaty, one which we did not even contribute our tuppeny-happeny’s worth (sorry about the spelling !)

  22. Posted December 23, 2011 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Flush with the ECB’s repo-QE-loan money, commercial banks can now carry on lending to PIIGS citizens so that they can carry on buying German manufactures. But what happens at loan repayment time? With ruinous PIIGS taxation and spending cuts there will be a lot of defaults.

    My guess is that commercial banks will gamble the ECB’s repo-QE-loan money on commodity derivatives instead, which is what the City did with its QE money from the BoE, sending world food prices soaring and triggering the Arab “spring”.

    But at least the bankers will get their bonuses, as usual.

  23. Posted November 13, 2012 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    Today, banks often don. Achievement begins with an optimistic attitude in life.
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    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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