What I would like to hear from the G20


             The untimely intrusion of democracy into the best laid plans of Euroland may have left some leaders thinking today you can have too many summits. This was meant to be the summit where Euroland told the world it had solved its problems, if only the Chinese and some of the others agreed to lend very large sums to complete the fix. Instead this may be the summit where the rest of the world in private turns critical of the way Euroland is running its affairs.

             I would like to hear an apology from the leaders of the single currency. It is now doing visible damage, not just to some Euro area countries, but also to the wider global economy.

             I would like them to say sorry for setting up a single currency long before they had brought their various economies into line. They broke their own  sensible rules, allowing countries in who were miles off qualifying.

            I would like them to say sorry for letting members of the zone borrow much larger sums than the rules allowed, imposing no discipline on debt addicted governments.

            I would like them to say sorry for thinking that much poorer countries than their own would get out the cheque book and pay for their excess spending, through the IMF and by direct loans from China and elsewhere.

             I would like them to say sorry for running a monetary policy which created large property bubbles in countries like Ireland and Spain, weakening the banking systrem.

           I would like them to say sorry for failing to demand sufficient cash and capital in the banks, and for publishing favourable stress tests which turned out to be wrong. 

               I would like them to say sorry for pretending they have a 1 trillion Euro fund to fix it, when all they have is a Luxembourg company with the right to borrow money on behalf of Euro governments.

                 There can be no fix to the underlying problems until the leading governments recognise their mistakes.

                 The sad truth is you need to borrow less if you want to get out of debt crisis. Euroland still does not know how to do this. Yesterday the EFSF decided to withdraw a bond issue because it did not like the look of the market reaction.


  1. lifelogic
    November 3, 2011

    I would like to hear an apology and resignations from all the over paid EU bureaucrats, John Major, Lord Howe, Lord Patten, Nick Clegg, Chris Huhne, and all the Libdems, Labour and the circa 70% of the Tories who tried to push us and the rest of Europe into this absurd structure. Doing so even after the ERM has collapses so predictably to show the failing of such systems.

    Above all an apology from Cameron for failing to do the right thing for the country for pushing tax payers money down the PIGIS drain. Also for failing to do all the obvious things to get some growth – such as halve the state sector, halve the state pensions, reduce absurd regulations, abandon green energy and get the banks working.

    It is now doing visible damage, as you say, not just to some Euro area countries, but also to the wider global economy.

    Indeed the system has been doing this huge damage to Europe for many years but now it is doing so in spades. When will Cameron act? Yesterday he even seemed to be agreeing with the The Archbishop of Canterbury has he gone totally round the bend?

    He needs to “do” the right things that will actually work – not listen to soundings and warped Church 0England/BBC/EU think!

    1. lifelogic
      November 3, 2011

      Excellent speech – will we ever get a return to a house of commons with real authority and power to take the actions needed again?

      I see the state sector Unions (and big funders of the Labour party) have already rejected the far too generous state sector pensions offer.

      Why do they not point out the average pension pots for the private sector who are paying for these are only about one eight of these pensions. The aim should be for relatively higher ones in the wealth producing sector not far lower ones. It might help negotiation if the MP’s scheme was not so absurdly generous though.

      Perhaps just put a leveling of pensions “tax” in place there was no negotiation when Brown just raided the private sector ones. Perhaps at 90% of state pensions over about £15,000 and 100% of the absurd BBC ones over that figure.

      1. uanime5
        November 3, 2011

        If the Government made private companies pay an adequate pension then the difference between public and state pensions wouldn’t be so large.

        1. alan jutson
          November 4, 2011


          Yes thats a good idea !.

          They put their prices up to pay for it, get less business because they are uncompetitive, and make people redundant because they have less business.

          Fantastic suggestion.

          The proper solution is for the government to have a properly fully funded pension for everyone, where a contributions record matches entitlement, where everyone contributes.

          Instead we have a low value ponzi scheme, where to qualify for full payment, the qualifying years have recently been REDUCED.

          You could not make it up.

          Most Private pensions seem riddled with management charges and poor prformance, the only solution seems to be to take charge yourself, sure as eggs are eggs, no one else will.

        2. a-tracy
          November 4, 2011

          The government ‘makes’ private sector companies contribute 13.8% of the employees wages (over £136 per week of earnings), our workers get no guaranteed return from this money or their own contribution, neither of which are rebated as public sector pension contributors are.

          The private sector is being “made” to contribute extra employer’s national insurance to be called ‘nest’ from next year, up to 3% to match their employees new contribution to a new state pension plan after the other one was moved out of their reach until they’re 68.

          The public sector workers just do not know the true value of their pension or the true taxpayer top up to their pension schemes that the employer would have to pay were they in the private sector (it’s around 25% of their pay, and growing as life expectation and tax free lump sums, spouse transfer, tax raids on private sector funds and markets dropping take affect).

          We wouldn’t have a private sector if they had to pay a further quarter of salaries into pensions.

    2. lifelogic
      November 3, 2011

      Interesting to so that the BBC (radio 4 this morning) who worshiped Obama as almost saint on his election seem to have gone completely off him now.

      Perhaps eventually they will realise than it is policy and actions that matters mainly the opposite of the ones the BBC supports that will give positive outcomes- mainly a smaller state sector.

      1. lifelogic
        November 3, 2011

        Perhaps its time for an update from Cameron and Osbourne on the UK’s “Profits” from the Greek and Irish loans what is their current value circa 50% at best?

    3. waramess
      November 3, 2011

      @ Lifelogic Let us not forget those who had the power and fought to get us into the Euro and he for whatever motive who kept us out. No matter how much he is detested we owe the man a debt of gratitude for keeping us out of this unholy nightmare

    4. Bazman
      November 3, 2011

      The Government is facing the biggest outbreak of industrial unrest since the 1979 Winter of Discontent after members of the largest public sector union voted in favour of strikes in the bitter row over pensions and you are talking about the halving of them?

    5. Steven Whitfield
      November 8, 2011

      Despite his recent re-positioning as a converted Euro Sceptic, my view is John Major (and Douglas Hurd) would have signed up for the Euro if they could have got away with it.

      In a recent interview Major became a bit edgy when Andrew Marr made the remark “But the majority of these critics – the sort of John Redwood’s and so on – were right, were they not? . (in relation to the decision to join the EURO and sign the Maastricht treaty)

      He then conceded ‘they were partially right’ and then went of on a long rambling monologue refusing to let Andrew Marr speak let alone bothering to explain why his critics were only ‘partially right’ …Shame Andrew Marr didn’t link the EURO crisis with the disastrous ERM crisis.

      I think History has shown Mr Redwood was bang on the money and JM should have had the good grace to admit that.
      Interested to hear what Mr Redwood thought of Sir John’s remarks.

      Reply: I resigned over three main issues. The first was the refusal of the then government to rule out Euro membership in principle. I have no wish to refight old battles. There are bigger ones to fight today as the Euro hurtles on to do so much damage.

      1. Steven Whitfield
        November 9, 2011

        Reply: I resigned over three main issues. The first was the refusal of the then government to rule out Euro membership in principle. I have no wish to refight old battles. There are bigger ones to fight today as the Euro hurtles on to do so much damage

        Thanks for your reply John.
        It’s a great pity more Mp’s didn’t take your principled stand.

        I find it odd that Mr Major, despite calling the EURO without a common economic and social policy “a two legged dog” he still refused to rule out joining . I can only presume that he could forsee the circumstances when Britain’s interests could be best served by being part of a federal EU state ?. It sounds like a nightmare now but one that the venerable Sir John Major was seemingly unaware of.

        I agree with you except for one thing – I believe this is an old battle that is still worth fighting – the old battles are still as relevant today.
        If the Conservative Party cannot first recognise and learn from the mistakes of the past (the adoption of the doctrine of liberal Conservatism) it is forever doomed to failure in my view.

        Consider the words of John Major in an interview with Andrew Marr in Dec 2010

        “Liberal Conservatism has always been a very important part of the Conservative party – and it still is”

        It seems to me that the division between ideological Liberal Conservatism and the popular Conservatism that you endorse has never been starker than it is today . The referendum debate was a good example of what happens when the ideolology of the Liberal Conservative is confronted – albeit by opponents with both hands tied behind their backs. More battles need to be won so that both sides can compete on fair terms.

        Faced by such unsporting tactics, I believe it’s more important than ever that we stand up and say “the Libcons were on the wrong side of the argument on all the big decisions… in 75 on the common market referendum, in 91 over the ERM, in 95 when you signed the Maastricht treaty, in 2004 in calling for Conservative spending plans to be aligned with Labour’s (an epic blunder) in 2010 when you presented a muddled liberal Conservative manifesto that turned many loyal Conservative voters off. …

        The pain of being dispatched into the political wilderness in 97 should have served as a salutory experience after the ERM. But then came David Cameron – another Liberal Conservative that believed only he had found the philosophers stone of electoral success.

        Liberal Conservative policies on taxation, immigration, crime and the EU are at best neutral to deeply unpopular. So many of the woes of the Conservative party are self inflicted wounds done to protect the vanity of it’s leader.

  2. norman
    November 3, 2011

    I’d like to win the lottery on Saturday.

    At 14,000,000 to 1 I reckon mine has more chance of happening than even one of the above.

    1. norman
      November 3, 2011

      One other minor point that could be raised – George ‘six weeks’ Osborne could give us an update on how much time is left to save the Euro / world.

      It’s so difficult for us numpties to keep up that we need his expert guidance.

  3. Pete the Bike
    November 3, 2011

    It’s not just Euroland that doesn’t know how to borrow less. Your own chancellor seems completely unable to do it.

    1. lifelogic
      November 3, 2011

      No well Osbourne has loads of parasites employed to compiling a happiness index (that no one sensible will even look at other than for a laugh), putting pointless PV bling on house roofs (now killed at last than goodness), paying benefits to people to encourage them not to work and Cameron chucking cash at the IMF, the EU, the Irish and the Greeks.

      What a load of …. ers from top to bottom.

  4. Antisthenes
    November 3, 2011

    Over the last couple of years we have been watching EZ politicians and not just EZ politicians stumble from crisis to crisis with unrealistic propositions and bailout packages to defend the indefensible. What was obvious to the sane and rational was that the EZ project had failed and should be wound up. Now they have played their last card with their latest crisis solving package and it has proved to be a joker. What this EZ farce has shown is that politicians are not worthy of their exalted positions and should never be trusted again to make any decisions without the express approval of the people. It is time that democracy be strengthened and the people have a more direct say, in this time of high speed communications we have the technological means to achieve it. Whether the people would make better or worse decisions than politicians is not important at least it would be their decisions. As to whether the people would make better decisions the answer is probably better as the wisdom of the many is better than the wisdom of the few and they would have more diverse interests and fewer dubious motives.

  5. Martin Cole
    November 3, 2011

    I agree, a very long and troubling list, indicating that the leaders of the EU have a huge amount to be sorry about.

    Yet as an Englishman, I cannot forgive that we became part of this mess, due to the connivance of all those within the British establishment who were supposedly in charge of our interests over many decades! Should they not also be saying sorry too, more critically, now doing something to mitigate the consequences, of which I still see no sign?

  6. Ian Wragg
    November 3, 2011

    Very instructive listening to the EUSSR leaders today. Although there is no mechanism for leaving the Euro, there is a mechanism for France and Germany to eject members who don’t toe the line.
    This really is turning into the Forth Reich and any pretence of democracy has been well and truly squashed. We can’t have the proles deciding on their future. Welcome to Huxleys “Brave New World”.
    The sooner we have a referendum and leave this overmighty Quango the better.

    1. uanime5
      November 3, 2011

      At least we’ll get free soma to help us forget our troubles.

  7. Gary
    November 3, 2011

    Seamus Milne , writing in the Guardian today, mentions more truths about the EU than most.

    The EU is unworkable. It is unworkable because of political and structural problems, but mainly because, like the rest of the world , it refuses to let banks go bankrupt.

    The banks caused the global problems, and elite will not let them go. In the UK , we are inflating away our savings to keep the banks alive and maintain London as the banking capital, in the EU they are tearing themselves asunder to save the banks.

    And as each camp accuses the other, the irony is that the banks and this financial system will destroy them both. You only have to read some history. These systems fail with 100% certainty.

    The inflationists should start by reading
    Fiat Money Inflation in France –
    Andrew Dickson White , available free online,and see how this cancerous monetary policy caused the breakdown of France. We are following the script almost word for word.

  8. Mike Stallard
    November 3, 2011

    This mob do not do “sorry”.
    What is getting more and more obvious every day is that France and Germany are the EU. Poor Mr Cameron is nowhere in sight. So much for the “top table” idea.
    What arrogance to summon poor Mr Papandreou for a telling off. If I were a Greek, I would be remembering my history now. Already some posters of Generals have been taken down and some Generals have had to be retired in place of more amenable ones.
    And, by the way, if you aren’t elected, you have absolute power. That means no advice need be taken, no change in policy, no discussion, nothing. You can wear what you like too.
    Sort of like Col – what’s his name…..

  9. Peter van Leeuwen
    November 3, 2011

    Democracy is not untimely, even if it’s a referendum instead of just a parliament’s decision. Democratic processes can be messy though, that is what we’re witnessing now. Meanwhile the world has been witing in vain for apologies from Margaret Thatcher and (too late now) Ronald Reagan for their free unregulated market policies with disastrous consequences. Another observation could be that the Greeks are not the most reliable partners in any deal.

    1. libertarian
      November 3, 2011

      That would be the Free market policies that liberated the whole of the Soviet Union and Eastern Union, only for fools like you to reestablish it in Western Europe. Peter you are deluded

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 4, 2011

        @libertarian: I’m not suggesting that all Reagan’s policies were disastrous. I consider any comparison between USSR and EU as pretty malicious and also misguided.

  10. End game
    November 3, 2011

    If Greece is going to run out of money in mid-November then the actions of the IMF and the Eurozone to withhold payment until after the Referendum in early Dec seems to force a Greek Default.

    So all those Credit Default liabilities will be activated – Chaos??

    1. uanime5
      November 3, 2011

      The Greeks were the ones who wanted to hold a referendum on whether to accept the money or not. They really should have chosen to have the referendum before they ran our of money.

  11. Sue
    November 3, 2011

    You lot got us into this mess by allowing it to come to this point. Now do the decent thing and get us the hell out!

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    November 3, 2011

    I would like to see them all behind bars.

  13. alan jutson
    November 3, 2011


    I think you have got all this the wrong way around.

    You should know by now the the EU does not apologise for anything, its everyone else who is out of step.

    It is you who should apologise, for constantly finding reasons to criticise their policies.

    It is the people of the EU who should apologise, for failing to understand the grand plan worked out by our masters in Brussels.

    It is the Auditors who should apologise, for not signing off the accounts for 14 years.

    Just out of interest, given the latest round of talks/threats with Greece, all we ever seem to be seeing/getting is Sarkozy and Merkel making public statements, and having one- one meetings, are any of the other 15 nations being involved, or are they just being good EU puppets (bit like our lobby fodder in the HOC).

    Aware that we are not directly involved in any talks, as we are not in the Eurozone, but surely the statement

    “In Europe but not run by Europe ” should now perhaps be changed to.

    “In Europe but not consulted by Europe”.

    “In Europe but now margnalised by Europe”

    The single currency experiment has been an absolute disaster for many Nations, most of us plebs out here could see it, because the nations involved were so diverse, and there was no single fiscal policy to bring them to account within the same financal structure.

    Seems Sarkozy and Merkel are running the show at the moment, whilst everyone else stands on the sidelines. Is this what the other leaders of the 27 Nations accept, or is it that Sarkozy and Merkel are facing meltdown in their own Countries and are now fighting for their own political lives at almost any cost.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    November 3, 2011

    The EU has created a Frankenstein monster called the eurozone. As with so much from the EU its creation was built on lies and deceit. Now this monster is threatening the whole world economy but we are told to slay the monster would be worse than the unsustainable prospects of maintaining it. The “persuasion” is already being applied to the Greek government and people.
    George Osborne has said that the UK will not be borrowing any new money to give to the eurozone whilst preparing to do just that to give to the IMF and thereby into the eurozone. Are there any political leaders with honesty and integrity? I didn’t think so.

  15. Iain
    November 3, 2011

    I would like to hear them say sorry for their claim that the Euro would be stable, when in fact it is destabilising the world economy.

    And say sorry for their vaulting political ambitions that is now creating so much misery, trouble is they will never pay the price of their politics, for while people are seeing their employment and pensions wiped out, they will enjoy a comfortable retirement.

  16. Matt
    November 3, 2011

    Yes and Mr Clegg and his confederates could show a little humility for wanting the UK to join the Euro day one.

  17. English Pensioner
    November 3, 2011

    Why on earth should China even think of lending the Eurozone money? The average person there is far poorer than any in Europe. The Greeks are expected to renege on their loans, would you lend more money to someone who had reneged on debts, or even to anybody who had encouraged them to do it ?
    I listened to Merkel this morning on TV. According to her the Greeks can (not should) only have a referendum on one subject, whether they stay in or get out of the Euro. As a sovereign country, I would have thought the Greeks have a right to have a referendum on anything their Government/Parliament chooses, but apparently not according to the Germans.
    When we eventually get around to having a referendum on the EU, will she be telling us what question to ask?
    The EU doesn’t “do” Sorry any more than they “do” referenda. These words aren’t in the EU vocabulary.

    1. Bill
      November 3, 2011

      The reason why Merkel wants the Greeks to have a referendum on staying in or getting out is that she knows they want the money Euroland offers but without the pain of austerity measures.

  18. Martin
    November 3, 2011

    If you want apologies shouldn’t they also come from

    1) Bankers and others who lend money to the over borrowed.

    2) Those who regard any government regulation in the property market as a great evil.

    Item 2 of course also applies closer to home as a lot of our own interesting governments debts come from Northern Rock and Halifax….

    So perhaps an apology from those outside the Euro who also borrowed and loaned badly is also in order given the continuing poor sterling exchange rate against the euro. Sterling’s performance might indicate we have an economy that is an average of the Eurozone’s performance….

  19. oldtimer
    November 3, 2011

    I hope you are not holding your breath waiting for these apologies. You are going to be disappointed.

  20. Nick
    November 3, 2011

    Why don’t we start a little closer to home?

    Forget apologies. Lets have some prosecutions.

    Here’s a starter.

    1. Any MP who signed to say their expenses where wholly and necessary for their work as an MP, and who subsequently paid back money.

    2. The 300 peers who have claimed attendance allowances, but managed to get into Westminster without their passes. [No doubt using that special teleportation booth]

    3. Government accountants who signed off that the government accounts were truthful, when they have left off the large debts. ie. Doing a Bernie Maddoff.


  21. Simon 123
    November 3, 2011

    1. Dream on about the apology. Elites don’t do that kind of thing.

    2. Countries outside the Eurozone (including the UK and US) are also not that good at repaying debt.

    3. ‘The people’ are not up for making cuts. If you don’t believe me watch any version of Question Time. For example, tonight we will probably see one member of the audience after another demanding more government spending on one thing after another. Austerity is not politically deliverable. Every time you open a newspaper someone somewhere wants more Government spending on their pet project.

    4. The fundamental aim of the Brussels elite is to keep democracy out of any process involving the expansion or contraction of EU. Don’t count on the Greek Referendum happening until you actually see voters in polling booths on the day. Media elites are already plugging a Greek general election instead. In addition, the Greeks are damaging the re-election prospects for Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy in their forthcoming national elections.

    5. It appears that neither the Brussels elite nor anybody else has a coherent plan to solve the crisis which must inevitably involve Greek bankruptcy and its exit from the Eurozone.

    6. We need to hear constructive comment from Mr. Milliband and Mr. Balls on what the Coalition should do (although they should leave out the bit about throwing money at the public sector).

    7. Mr. Cameron and Mr. Clegg should telephone the leaders of all the non-Euro EU countries to form a coalition of ideas and solidarity. Mr. Cameron should lead it and convene a summit in London of non-Euro EU members as a matter of urgency.

    1. Iain Gill
      November 3, 2011

      I can list lots of spending cuts rather than increases that the public want

      Remove tax and national insurance concessions from foreign nationals here on a work visa make them pay as much as a Brit

      Remove NHS provision from foriegn nationals without indefinite leave to remain from countries which do not provide reciprocal arrangements for Brits in their countries

      Remove free schooling from the children of work visa holders from countries which do not provide the same for Brits working in their home countries

      and so on

  22. Caterpillar
    November 3, 2011

    I would like to hear the EZ countries give a realistic plan, including how countries can exit. I would also like to hear whether ‘they’ can really force Greece out, rather than Greece disorderly defaulting within the EZ.

    But I really want to hear is simply what Saudi Arabia, China etc. really think of the IMF, and in particular EZ democracy.

  23. Disaffected
    November 3, 2011

    How about an apology from the Coalition? Cameron, Clegg and Osborne gave the IMF £9 billion in July 2011 and last week Osborne spoke clearly that the UK would not through the EU or IMF give any money to help the Eurozone crisis. It is reported today that the Treasury is gearing up to put more money in the IMF to shore up the Eurozone. Is Osborne’s memory that bad? If the reports are correct then Osborne ought to resign with an apology and there should be a no confidence vote in the Government.

  24. NickW
    November 3, 2011

    I thought the problem with the EFSF and the ESM was that its articles set it above the law, protected all its staff from any claim due to fraud or negligence, and protected it from any action by Governments.

    No one who invested money in it would have any claim, redress, or protection if their money disappeared.

    No one will invest under those conditions.

    For European leaders, the Euro and Europe has become a religion; there is no logic in continuing to defend a system that is destroying everything it touches.

    These politicians are becoming seriously deranged; they are sacrificing everything to a non existent and meaningless idea.

  25. a-tracy
    November 3, 2011

    Who decided that Greece should host the Olympics without checking that they could afford the cost of it?

    I really don’t understand what Greece has done. From what I can gather they provided inconsistent data when they joined the Eurozone which wasn’t checked to join. They used the Eurozones better credit ratings to obtain more credit to increase public spending and the benefits available to their citizens and who public sector workers? way beyond their ability to support through taxation but I’m not sure who they got the extra money from? Are they having these loans recalled now? Who by? Has Greece mortgaged their Country without any assets to mortgage? Why did this money get borrowed and who was responsible for these decisions it’s like me wanting a £10 million home in London without the means to pay the mortgage but because I join a club they give me the mortgage even though nothings changed to my financial situation and I can’t afford it – why is it a surprise that this happened? This isn’t capitalism and free markets this is politics and academics getting us into this mess.

    Why isn’t the money that is intended to bail out Greece instead used to support those European institutions that would lose out instead if we’re going to lose it anyway.

    You can’t keep propping up a bankrupt – we do that enough in this Country through the welfare state and look what a State we’re in – you men overspending on cars and holidays still living at home with Mum and Dad and then bankrupting themselves at 26 and walking away from it – I’ve never heard anything like it before.

    So the hard working, savers, and taxpayers with a good protestant work ethic suffer to bail out people who won’t cut their cloth?

    1. a-tracy
      November 3, 2011

      should say ‘young’ men (and women I guess, although I’ve only heard of two young men doing this)

  26. Chris
    November 3, 2011

    It is what the ESM, the follow on from the ESFS, will be able to do that is so worrying, and it would appear that the EU will attempt to finalise the establishment of this mechanism for raising limitless funds in December (the demands will be limitless, but the countries paying up for this may well be bankrupted en route). John, am I right in thinking that the foundations for establishing the ESM (Council Decision 25 March) have been approved by Cameron? Will he have to put this before Parliament as a Bill? Why haven’t the electorate been informed/been given a say as it represents such a huge transfer of powers to the powerbase at the EU core? It would appear that it will be unaccountable and fully protected from any legal scrutiny or challenge. I think it would be disingenuous of David Cameron to argue that as this is being operated by the 17 country eurozone that it is not of fundamental concern to the UK. The opposite is true, and we will be hugely affected by the centralisation of powers and wealth in the core, over whose workings and policy we will have no effective say whatsoever.

  27. Steve S
    November 3, 2011

    I would like them to accept that all Eurozone members need to return to their own currencies immediately, before this gets any worse.

  28. waramess
    November 3, 2011

    Sorry is insufficient. Reparation is what it should now be about but the French and Germans seem to be oblivious to the damage their little experiment has caused and are still intent on playing the role of bully boys.

    They should now assist the Greeks in their exit from the Euro both constructively and financially and allow others who may be like minded to do the same.

    This is now looking too much like a jackboot regime in EU and they should desist from their prescriptive behaviour because it is from this sort of arrogance that wars are started and Merkels words may indeed be self fulfilling.

  29. backofanenvelope
    November 3, 2011

    Surely this should be a joint apology? The Labour, LibDem and Tory parties might like to apologise as well. After all, they volunteered us for this mess.

  30. Paul Cohen
    November 3, 2011

    I have never understood how the EU functions when, as I understand it, the accounts have not been signed off by the auditors for some 14 years. Explain please how this is possible.

    1. Mike Stallard
      November 3, 2011

      Marta Andreasen has explained it in her book very clearly indeed.

    2. sjb
      November 3, 2011

      Since November 2009 the European Court of Auditors has certified the EU budget. [1]

      The DWP still manages to function ( e.g. by paying the State Pension to many of the contributors on this blog) despite its accounts having been qualified since 1988/9 [2] even though a weaker standard of auditing is used than for the EU budget. [3]

      [2] http://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2011/07/mod-and-dwp-accounts-qualified-again/
      [3] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldselect/ldeucom/270/27010.htm (para 149)

      1. APL
        November 7, 2011

        sjb: “The DWP still manages to function ( e.g. by paying the State Pension to many of the contributors on this blog) despite its accounts having been qualified since 1988/9 [2] even though a weaker standard of auditing is used than for the EU budget. [3]”


        One voracious, unaccountable tax funded public body is slightly less reckless with public money than another international organization funded by tax extorted from the productive sector.

        Frankly, I can’t see the difference between them. But I guess you are making the point that two wrongs make a right?

  31. Electro-Kevin
    November 3, 2011

    “…if only the Chinese and some of the others agreed to lend very large sums to complete the fix”

    Why can’t the Germans do it ? They have 200bn Euros in gold reserves.

    It was they who sacked Greece during WWII and forced them to ‘lend’ money to the German war effort at zero interest – money which has never been paid back.

    60 bn Euros is owed according to expert opinion. Add 30bn in compensation.

    (Adds a list of wartime actions by Germany and argues Germany should therefore pay more of the bills today to see the Euro through -ed)
    (Completely plagiarised views. I cannot take credit for these thoughts though I fully support them.)

  32. Denis Cooper
    November 3, 2011

    You’ll be waiting a very long time even for an admission of error, let alone an apology.

  33. Denis Cooper
    November 3, 2011

    Now that Merkel and Sarkozy have at last publicly admitted the possibility that a country might leave the euro, could the EU now publish its contingency plans for that to be an orderly withdrawal from the euro, with the country still remaining in the EU if it chose?

    And also the draft EU treaty amendments to accommodate the proposed actions, rather than having EU leaders once again arbitrarily breaking the treaties as approved by their national parliaments?

    I doubt that the Greeks will decide to leave the euro, but before they come to vote in the referendum – if it happens – shouldn’t it be clear what the arrangements would be if they chose to do so?

    And wouldn’t it also help to stabilise the markets if there was greater certainty about the subsequent course of events if the Greeks did decide to leave the euro?

  34. Bill
    November 3, 2011

    Thanks, John. Absolutely no chance that any apology will be forthcoming.

    The big question to my mind concerns the way Euroland will treat the UK in the future when all this is sorted out. Do we need them for trade more than they need us? And if we do, will they take punitive action against the City of London and so erode on or our main financial engines?

    We can be sure that people will continue to buy French food and German cars, but what will they buy from us?

    1. lifelogic
      November 3, 2011

      As you say “absolutely no chance that any apology will be forthcoming” we have not even had one yet from Mr Major for the ERM and all the pointless repossessions he caused.

    2. a-tracy
      November 3, 2011

      “We can be sure that people will continue to buy French food and German cars”.

      Mmm I’m not sure about that, our business leased German cars and we’ve started to look at Lexus and Jaguar as alternatives, we buy French vans but if there was a similar priced alternative we’d be there, I feel very frustrated with the way the leaders of France and Germany think they can treat us as milch cows and pay no regard to us all of this Euro posturing is damaging to them.

  35. Richard Jenkins
    November 3, 2011

    I would also like them to say sorry that they did not understand the simple proposition that if a person or a country borrows money they cannot pay, then whatever apparently complex “bailout mechanism” is put in place, it is still certain that someone is going to take a loss, the only questions being who and when.

    Generations of politicians and civil servants, brought up in the quasi-Keynsian doctrine that government borrowing is always OK, seem to think that if a country gets into a situation where it cannot borrow on commercial markets, then the solution is for those countries who can borrow to do so, and give the cash to the defaulter.

  36. Neil Craig
    November 3, 2011

    Not sure there is anything worth hearing from the G20. Anything all these countries agree on is probably to banal to be worth discussing (that air is good for breathiong) or so wrong that they all need to affirm it to keep the bandwagon rollinh (catastrophic global warming). It does give various leaders a chance for photo-ops which would be fine if it was silent.

  37. frank salmon
    November 3, 2011

    You are right, John. given that the EU are now having to bully the Greeks to stay in the Euro, I think it is only a matter of time before it collapses. An interesting thought though – how wish we had joined the Euro. It would mean that we could have a referndum to pull out, and on so doing we would be ejected from the EU – and we would save all that cash we give them. And we could get rid of all that dreadful legislation.
    This is not the end of the beginning. It is the beginning of the end!

  38. Elder Citizen
    November 3, 2011

    We are reaching the stage in the Euroland Saga where “objectivity” and thus rational debate and argument over the future of the Euro, will overtake the “subjectivity” of present day Euroland Politics. When the rational crunch comes it will be hard, brutal and unforgiving. There is no place for Euroland Politicians and so called Leaders to hide anymore.

    We are close to the beginning of the End, not yet the end of the Beginning. If Greece can default on debt and possibly leave the Euro, why cannot other States?

  39. Bernard Otway
    November 3, 2011

    Spot on John,I congratulate you, how I wish that you were PM doing the talking for our country,banging some sense into all the Zone,s heads.One thing I noticed as did Channel
    4 news was that Sarkozy was left twiddling his thumbs outside the conference centre,waiting for the Chinese leader,deliberate act in my opinion,wouldn,t surprise me at all IF out of camera shot him and Merkel and the others from euroland weren,t kissing his hand like the
    Mafia leaders have done to them. And question John knowing your opinion of UKIP what do you think of Peter Oborne’s piece in the Telegraph yesterday about the SEA CHANGE in our politics he forecasts,DC should be quaking in his boots as he and his cohorts are in the cross hairs through their own stupidity,politicians IMHO SHOULD be able to read their
    public and if they can’t they should give the calling up OR it will give them up and not in a nice way,Heath looked a fool from when his party kicked him out replaced him with My
    Heroine ,especially that it also ruled for 18 years after that,to his 4,ENOUGH SAID.

  40. Ben Kelly
    November 3, 2011

    Apologies would be nice and a recognition that the Euro was the wrong idea at the wrong time would also be nice.

    I was encouraged to see Frau Merkel last night indicate that it was possible to leave the Eurozone when she said stick to the rules or get out.

    That surely means that there is a mechanism for exit.

    1. Robert Christopher
      November 3, 2011

      I expect it is only for countries that do not make a net contribution to the EU coffers!

  41. Demetrius
    November 3, 2011

    Whose sorry now? Well I am for a start. All my basic bills are coming in at ten to twenty per cent increases and this is just the beginning.

  42. Rebecca Hanson
    November 3, 2011

    One of the key stated aim of the G20 is the combating of the financing of terrorism
    (see its own website here http://www.g20.org/about_what_is_g20.aspx)

    So I would like to hear what it is doing to combat the financing behind the terrorist acts described in this UN report:

    1. Rebecca Hanson
      November 3, 2011

      Page 4 is particularly horrifying when you take into account that the organised mobs which are clearing residents are also preventing the delivery of water by road where the wells have been removed.

  43. BobE
    November 3, 2011

    It looks like they have avoided having a Greek Referendum by dumping the PM. How the EU is so frightened of democracy. Welcome to the fourth Richt.

    1. lifelogic
      November 3, 2011

      Both the EU and Cameron.

    2. uanime5
      November 3, 2011

      The Greeks were already planning a vote of no confidence. The referendum was a last ditch effort by the Greek PM to save himself.

  44. Mark
    November 3, 2011

    Perhaps in similar vein we could have an apology from Brown, who broke his own sensible rules and expected overseas borrowing to fund his profligate spending, imposing no discipline on his debt addicted government, creating a property bubble, undermining the capital adequacy of our banks.

    The question is has our government recognised its predecessor’s mistakes?

  45. Shade
    November 3, 2011

    None of us are going to hear what we ought to hear which imho is that weaker countries (including France) should exit the euro (if indeed it is to survive). The present situation reminds me of the Conservatives’ inglorious attempt to remain in the ERM, with the ludicrous interest rate that would have been required to stay in, and the attempt of countries to remain on the Gold Standard back in the thirties, which ultimately failed but not before horrendous damage was inflicted on so many countries. Recovery only came for the UK post ERM, when we went our own way, and the same was true for those abandoning the GS. The same is likely to be the case now. The weaker countries are in the Euro at the wrong rate, so they are hopelessly and increasingly uncompetitive, and the austerity measures forced on them are unlikely to turn things round (if ever) before the mood of their populations turns dangerous – as opposed to just ugly as at present.

    Off topic but, like Bernard 12.31, I was interested in Oborne’s piece. I too think the Conservatives will not win an election until they start to reflect the views of people who should be natural Tory voters. Many of these have been unable to support them since the Thatcher assassination and the damage that Major did by not allowing a referendum on Maastricht – plus the unhinged apologies of the modernisers for being the “nasty” aka “common sense” party.

    1. sjb
      November 3, 2011

      Shade wrote: “The weaker countries are in the Euro at the wrong rate, so they are hopelessly and increasingly uncompetitive …”

      The OECD’s latest Economic Survey of Ireland “shows that gains in competitiveness and increased exports are driving a modest recovery which should see growth reach 1.2 percent in 2011 […]”
      Source: http://www.oecd.org/document/39/0,3746,en_21571361_44315115_48879527_1_1_1_1,00.html

    2. Chris
      November 3, 2011

      Paul Mason did an excellent piece on Newsnight on Wed. evening regarding the relentless pursuit of the gold standard, in relation to the Great Depression. Those who decided eventually to abandon gold standard, and go their own way e.g. UK, suffered far less than those who doggedly pursued it e.g. the USA. Furthermore, the UK and others actually survived and recovered once out of the system, defying the naysayers. Mason drew parallels between the current euro project, with Merkel and Sarkozy (encouraged by Cameron and Osborne, apparently) determined to pursue further integration in support of the europroject, throwing ever more money after a flawed project. He suggested that world leaders had not learnt the lessons of history.

  46. George Stewart
    November 3, 2011

    John, I am sure you had a great big smile on your face after posting that entry. You made my afternoon much better. 🙂

  47. Disaffected
    November 3, 2011

    I think it is frightening that fanatical political ideology, by a few MPs, MEPs etc, is causing the destruction of a nation state and that they will not stop at anything to achieve their aims. The people of the respective countries need to wake up and start to oppose the idea of a single European state.
    Mr Clegg will undoubtedly use emotional language, spin, sophistry and fear to help the European single state idea alive, however there is no substance to his recent claims of Economic suicide, the Uk will be marginalised etc. Vote against him and his party whenever the opportunity arises.

  48. Norman Dee
    November 3, 2011

    Can you provide directions to a bank that takes apologies please. Even if you find one that does take apologies, they have to be genuine, and all we will get from the EU are countrfit apologies as good as their word on everything else.

  49. Epigenes
    November 3, 2011

    Mr Redwood, I remember, “No change, no chance” when you exhibited some political courage.

    Now you are posting a wish – list. You are never going to get an apology about anything from anybody.

    You seem to be crying about the vagaries of political life in this post.

    Time you either did something about getting the UK out of the EU and showed leadership (you wrote a book on this subject) – or maybe pop down to M & S and buy some more handkerchiefs.

  50. shaun
    November 3, 2011

    Surely just default and get on with it. adjustment would be painful for a year or two but with some real focus on growing core buisness such as tourism should help also focus and determination on behalf of the government to control the government expenditure and good tax/ labour policy could make Greece the european destination for off shoring from an expensive euro zone. What i cant understand is this threat by germany and france that no euro means no Eu membership that means all countires such as Spain or Italy now have the power threatening a disorderly default threatening not just there euro but EU membership and a strasbourg nightmare of actual break up of the very german and french EU project

    1. uanime5
      November 3, 2011

      Given that no one will lend to Greece if they default the problems will last for more than a few years.

  51. Independent in WA
    November 3, 2011

    What’s not to understand, as with all embelleshments, comes the Embellesher, the so called Economist or call them the Court Jesters in this case. What with the Greeks haveing been duped by their own inequities of sound economics and yes the Eurodevelopers saying all the time they’d fall into line, simply put just more nonsense.

    What needs to happen, as sad as it is, is for Greece to actually fail. Sure there will be more rioting and more heads will fall. Then what? Well, I guess they will have to start from square one.

    As for the Large Banks, let them fail, like the Phoenix, from the ashes will rise a better Bank, one that is not intent on screwing the average customer. Perhaps then and only then will they finally become a Bank of the Customer, not the Board Room.

    Yes, there will be a ripple effect around the world, but when did all this nonsense begin and how did it get so out of control? We must first answer those questions with complete honesty, that is if we dare. Meddlling with the World Economy, the Euro did just that and Once again France is at the Center of this entire folly. Once again the French have let their arrogance move in favor of the common sense needed to even attempt to bring the cultures together for a common goal. Seems this all is more fiction than fact.

  52. John Wrake
    November 3, 2011

    Apologies will cure nothing, even if they are forthcoming.

    What the U.K. needs is a return to constitutional government, a prosecution of those who have been or are guilty of treason and M.P.s with the courage and integrity to put down a motion to leave the European Union forthwith. We do not help our neighbours by perpetuating this undemocratic construct any longer.

    John Wrake

    Reply: There is a pro EU majority i the present Commons, so such a motion would voted down by a wide margin

    1. John Wrake
      November 4, 2011

      The fact that such a vote might be lost is no reason for not moving the motion, cf. the motion on a referendum. That was lost, but the stature of the Commons was immeasurably enhanced by it.
      People are increasingly aware that the so-called experts are embroiled in a web of lies and half-truths. To listen to so-called leaders and the media, you would think that all our problems stem from Greece. The don’t. They come from politicians (not all politicians) who have lied to their respective electorates in order to further their political theories or their careers.

  53. i albion
    November 3, 2011

    There used to be a saying “we are in a worse state than China”……you have to laugh…I bet the Chinese are.

  54. BobE
    November 3, 2011

    I think that the Greek population will riot before accepting the austerity cuts. Half pay, lots of jobs lost, pension cuts. There will be riots and mayhem.

  55. Bill
    November 3, 2011

    Completely agree. All the borrowing is against tax revenues from tomorrow’s taxpayers. The younger generation in much of Europe thinks it is being handed a poisoned chalice by the older generation. Young people think they are being offered a legacy of high taxes and environmental pollution. No wonder sp many retreat into a private world of pop/youth culture and that others are angry and spend their time in (or not in) tents at St Paul’s.

  56. Javelin
    November 3, 2011

    Italy is the end game in town. Greece can always be bailed out.

    If yields on the 10 year Italian bond stay above 6% (it was 6.1%) for a week then negative feed back loops kick in. For example the London Clearing House will put up margin calls by 15% if the bond stays 450basis points (4.5%) above the triple AAA lenders.

  57. Anoneumouse
    November 3, 2011

    Lending money to the Euro zone should be classed a crime against humanity.

  58. Acorn
    November 3, 2011

    You know; I know; even next door’s dog knows that the only way out of the Eurozone crisis is to print more money. You have to debase the currencies involved. Inflating the debt away is the only option available. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors. The purchasing power of your income and your savings has to be sacrificed to save the feckless; indolent; corrupt and indebted. Life’s a bitch and then you die.

  59. uanime5
    November 3, 2011

    Why should the leader of any Eurozone country that isn’t causing the crisis and has acted responsibly apologise for anything? At present only Greece, Portugal, and the Republic of Ireland have needed a bailout, while Spain and Italy are trying to prevent their economies from collapsing. No other country needs to apologise.

    By poorer countries are you referring to countries poorer than Greece, since Greece is the main country causing serious trouble for the Euro.

    Given that the large property bubbles only occurred in Ireland in Spain it’s more likely that the these bubbles were the fault of the national Government of these countries, rather than the Euro.

    1. A different Simon
      November 7, 2011

      The U.K.’s massively destructive housing bubble cannot be blamed on the Euro .

      Whilst what J.R. says about easy credit causing house prices to get so far out of control is true , none of this would have been possible without a shortage of housing stock in the first place .

      I don’t see any will in Govt or the population at large to engineer a housing surplus to bring down the cost of accomodation and leave people with money to save for old age – too much vested interest in maintaining bubble valuations accross the board .

  60. JimF
    November 3, 2011

    I notice Messrs Kinnock have been spectacularly quiet through all of this. Take the money and run, boyo.

  61. Kenneth
    November 3, 2011

    John I am confused about the proposed Eurozone financial transaction tax.

    The media say this could be a threat to the UK’s financial sector. You said in reply to my comment a couple of days ago:

    “If the 17 impose a financial transaction on themselves and we stay out of that tax we gain the business they will lose.”

    I cannot reconcile your comments with the media comments. Can you help?

    Reply: Maybe the media are thinking the tax would also be imposed in the UK. It will just shift business to countries not imposing it

  62. Sue
    November 3, 2011

    It’s a pity you have to take much of the flack Mr Redwood. I think it should be compulsory for all MP’s to write a blog and allow comments from us. Perhaps then they would realise how angry we really are.

    We who take an interest in politics are the people most likely to vote in the elections and loyal conservatives won’t be caught out by Mr Cameron’s deceptions twice.

  63. Robert Christopher
    November 3, 2011

    Paul Moore (ex HBOS) tried and was sacked for his efforts. Admittedly with a generous pay-off, but where was the framework for him to have any hope of success? Ask Boom and Bust Brown ! Saviour of the World!

    1. Robert Christopher
      November 3, 2011

      this is a response to:
      Gary Posted November 3, 2011 at 7:50 am

  64. Diogenes
    November 4, 2011

    The people have lost the confidence of the government; the government has decided to dissolve the people, and to appoint another one.
    Bertolt Brecht

  65. BobE
    November 4, 2011

    Sarkosi has the big ego in the little man.

  66. Phil H.
    November 4, 2011

    So unfortunate for the UK that when we needed a Churchill we get a Heath!

  67. Phil H.
    November 4, 2011

    6 Steps To Recovery.

    1) Cameron booted out by Tory MPs – Replaced by David Davies.
    2) Election called with promised In/Out referendum.
    3) Tory Landslide.
    4) Leave EU.
    5) Redwood Chancellor – appropiate Tax cuts/ spending cuts.
    6) Recovery – Britain is back! Simples.

    1. Steven Whitfield
      November 11, 2011

      Phil H,
      On #1, don’t forget David Davies was a Conservative whip in the Major government that helped drive the Maastricht treaty through the commons.
      Redwood for PM!

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