Democracy restored in Italy?


             Mr Monti has decided he can no longer survive as unelected Prime Minister of Italy, without a working majority in the Parliament. It was always an odd idea that an unelected “expert” could parachute into the job of Prime Minister without having taken the precaution of building a majority party and winning a General  Election first. Now it appears that MPs in the Italian Parliament are no longer willing to go along with what he wants to do.

             It will be interesting to see if the Italian General Election will bring to the fore important debates about the future of the Euro scheme and its impact on  the Italian economy. Will Italy vote for more of the same? Will they vote for remaining in the Euro and applying more of the austerity medicine that goes with the current version of the currency?  Will anyone campaign for withdrawal from the Euro? Will anyone say that the current budget and banking policies being followed within the Euro scheme are combining to throttle the Italian economy?

              The issue before the Italian electors is in essence a simple one. Will they continue to do whatever the EU demands, as the price of Euro membership? Are they happy with the current results of these policies, measured in many lost jobs and falling output?  Or do they think the current Euro sceheme is not working? Do they want Germany to contribute more by way of transfer payments? Do they want the ECB to print more money? Do they want cross guarantees to support all Italian banks? Should Germany inflate more to help correct the lack of competitiveness in the south?

              I suspect they will choose another government which signs up to the full Euro scheme for fear of worse. Now is their opportunity to have the debate they need to have over why the current Euro scheme is not working economically for them or the other southern states. Their current levels of youth unemployment are worryingly high. Many forecasters now expect another two years of Italian recession.

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  1. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Monti as appointed prime minister is not so odd that it couldn’t happen in Britain (Alec Douglas-Home being an earlier example) and the debate is not about the euro (sorry for you) but whether austerity is delivering the goods. I believe similar debates is raging in the Netherlands and in the UK. Democracy may also be questioned when a candidate prime-minister can own a number of TV channels and use them in his campaign.

    • Stephen Southworth
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Democracy may also be questioned when the EC funds a multi-million Euro, 16 page propaganda supplement into every Irish Sunday newspaper in the middle of the Lisbon referendum. Didn’t stop the EC doing it though. I think I much prefer media ownership to sinister executive propaganda designed only to enrich eurocrat power and resources at the expense of nation state democracy.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        @Stephen Southworth: Obviously, deep down you really wanted to tell the whole story, like that of (named individual I have not checked) the American defence contractor who threw more (allegation oeft out) money into the campaign than all the other parties combined. Then I remember a certain Nigel Farage, a non-Irish interest, sending a “no”-promotion leaflet to every single house hold in Ireland (must have costed UKIP a forture, but luckily for sane people backfired badly). The there was Dutch socialist who went campainging for a no-vote in Ireland. Let’s not single out the EC in such a battle field.

        Re[ply There is a difference between private interests funding camapgns, and the EU which should be above party and political faction interfering in elections and referenda in member states.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          @Mr Redwood: You do have point there, but the EC can hardly be expected to be a disinterested party on an EU treaty. It has more right to provide information to European citizens in Ireland than a foreign country (e.g. UKIP from the UK). I would compare this to the Wilson government providing information at the 1975 referendum in Britain or the Balkendende government providing information at the 2005 Dutch referendum: naturally interested in a certain outcome, but still positioning itself above the parties (at least true for the Dutch government at the time).

          Reply : I think the EU would be well advised to avoid spending our money on information or propaganda to interfere in the UK debate. A largely Eurosceptic country would see this as a provocation, not a help. We do nto allow our official government machine to supply information during elections in the UK. I do not think a modern UK government would get away with what the Wilson government did in 1975 in that referendum.

    • zorro
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      In comparing the Monti issue with ADH taking over the premiership is to completely misunderstand the purpose of the appointment.


      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        @Zorro: the purposes (illness in UK case versus “abdication” of previous prime-minister after losing a vote in Italy’s case) may be called different but the similarity is that no previous general election took place, in fact that at the time of the appointment both men were “unelected” ( a curious British requirement, and considering the way that such people are elected, by a few thousand people in an utterly safe constituency – in my eyes even more curious)

        Reply No MP enjoys a “safe seat” these days. They all have to work to keep support. Mr Cameron is as elected as a person from a marginal, and has to answer to his constituents directly. Mr Monti does not.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

          @Mr Redwood: If you say so, I believe you (wikipedia would then require some re-writing). In Italy, like in the Netherlands, the prime-minister answers to parliament, not to individual voters but more to the country as a whole. All three prime-ministers depend on a majority in parliament, which (forgetting the eurosceptic rebellion in H.o.C) can be taken much more for granted in the UK than in either Holland or Italy, at least in my perception.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      I thought all British PMs were appointed, by the monarch! We still have (a little) control over our finances and are not (yet) like Italy, or Greece, or Ireland, or Spain or Portugal.

      Alec Douglas-Home did at least have a majority in the Commons, at least for a while.

      I don’t think there is any discussion about the success of the Euro on the continent; the Euro Zone inhabitants have true faith in this miracle solution. That is the problem!

      Discussion in Britain has been all about Lords reform and now is all about homosexual marriage, an oxymoron if ever there was one. Living death is another, but then we mustn’t talk about the Euro Zone again; it’s too depressing!

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        @Robert Christopher: true, but most PM’s get appointed after being elected, while Alec Douglas-Home went through an “election ritual” afterwards. Monti also had a majority in parliament, all the time until a few days ago. There is quite a bit of discussion about the euro on the continent, more now than in 1998, but there are only small minorities in any country that would want to leave the euro.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

          Are you aware of how Alec Douglas-Home was ‘elected’? There was a consultative process within the Conservative Party, led by outgoing Prime Minister Harold MacMillan from his sickbed. Since MacMillan very much wanted to prevent RA Butler becoming Prime Minister, he got his Chief Whip Martin Redmayne to gerrymander the result. Leading supporters of RA Butler got wind of this and very much objected. They gathered at a famous meeting at Enoch Powell’s house and seven of them agreed that they would refuse to serve in a Home government. Enoch reported this to RAB, saying “We are handing you a loaded revolver. All you have to pull the trigger.” But RAB didn’t have the cojones, the revolt failed and Home became Prime Minister. Years later, MacMillan mused that he may have made a mistake and that RAB might have been a better Prime Minister.

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          For Douglas-Home, it was an election, conducted by people elected by the British people and those in authority under the British Constitution. there was no direct foreign influence involved. Not much different than Blair/Brown or Thatcher/Major. They hadn’t just been elected: it is how our constitution works.

          In the case of Monti, it was EU-democracy, or Hobson’s choice! Why vote for anyone else, when we know that the wrong answer only delays the inevitable. Ask the Irish; they have more experience of that.

          I don’t remember an alien Troika visiting Britain in the early ‘sixties.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted December 13, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

            No, indeed. MacMillan was devilish enough to do it all by himslef.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      We know from what you write that you are no fan of democracy but a loyal citizen of the EU. Your EU leaders will be proud of you.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        @Brian Tomkinson: we obviously have different indeas about what constitutes democracy, or more precisely, representative parliamentary democracy. I’m not altogether impressed about yours, you don’t think much of EU democracy. Just remember, that if it weren’t for European democracy a guy like Nigel Farage wouldn’t even exist – in his own country “democracy” prevents him any MP seat, due to a curious system in some 650 constituencies that you might call democratic and representative. I don’t.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

          Peter, you write: “if it weren’t for European democracy a guy like Nigel Farage wouldn’t even exist”
          I am sure that Mr Farage’s parents would de rather bemused at your reasons for his existence, let alone he himself. What you are saying is that we should thank the robber for the fact that we have a policeman or a court. Quite ridiculous.

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          “Just remember, that if it weren’t for European democracy a guy like Nigel Farage wouldn’t even exist”

          Just remember, the term ‘European (Union) democracy ‘is an oxymoron and ‘European democracy’ only a memory!

          Also, if the EU didn’t exist, I would expect that Nigel would still be working successfully in the City, the main financial hub in Europe, and we, and the rest of Europe, would be enjoying prosperity that now we can only dream.

          Where, in Europe, do MEPs automatically ‘get a seat’ in their own parliament?

          It is an aspect of EU-democracy of which I haven’t heard.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Voters choose who is the PM – TV or no TV.
      Not the Commissioners in Berlaymont.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        @Mike Stallard: Those who own the media, tend to control the public opinion, whether they’re called Berlusconi or Rupert Murdoch

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          If you are going to analyse the causation of UK public opinion, do the job properly. The media only report what leading politicians are saying. Their editorial opinions count for little or nothing.

          Ask yourself a few questions about past British elections:
          What accounted for the late swing in the final weeks of the 1970 and February 1974 elections? Why did Lord Carrington desperately try to stop the BBC broadcasting Enoch Powell’s speeches during the latter election? Why did Neil Kinnock lose so much support late in the 1992 campaign if it wasn’t for his own inept and embarrassing performance at a Sheffield rally?

          The medium is undoubtedly NOT the message.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Peter–Are you saying that only the less successful should be allowed the vote? Berlusconi is patently a very effective man and talks more sense than all the euromaniacs in Brussels put together.

      • Credible
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        Leslie, are you serious?

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          Credible–My next Reply to Peter refers

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        @Leslie Singleton: Of course successful people should be allowed to be voted prime-minister (assuming that’s what you meant), but among candidates there should be a level playing field. Certainly, possessing the major channels (media) for influencing public opinion is not a level playing field. Imagine one of your UK contenders having ten times more time on prime TV than all other candidates together. Would you call that fair elections? Berlusconi only is interested in the impunity that being elected would grant him, in order to avoid the many court cases and sex schandal mounting against him.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

          Peter–You of course have a point in your own terms but why is the situation, in Italy, Berlusconi’s fault, meaning I cannot see it as his fault (there is BTW an analogy with the Tax Avoidance discussions in the UK) if there are no (as is apparently the case) laws to prevent him doing whatever you think he should not have done? The idea of this Monti fellow being parachuted in on Brussels’ say-so because he is supposed to be a “technocrat” filled me with horror–this is what the EU is doing to a lot of us in the UK , viz driving us crazy.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

            @Leslie Singleton: I see a connection between Monti’s appearance / disappearance and the reaction of financial markets but no connection between Monti and “Brussels’ say-so”. You don’t expect me to believe each and every desperate euroskeptic myth do you? There are more media around for those on the continent then just the British tabloids.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted December 13, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          Once (if?) the 17 State fiscal union is created, the EU will parachute people like Monti in all of the time.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      Dear Peter,

      For your information ALL Prime Ministers in the UK are appointed. None of them are voted for by anyone other than their constituency voters. The Monarch appoints our government. That is why we are in the mess we are in with a political class that continues to ignore the wishes of a majority of the voters

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 12, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        @libertarian: Thank you, same procedure in the Netherlands, be it with one important difference: A Dutch banker could be suggested as e.g. minister of finance without having first been elected as MP, or e.g. a hospital director as minister of health (experts rather than political animals). All ministers will have to be accepted by the new parliament of course. Maybe that is why there is less resistance in the Netherlands against country-proposed and appointed European commisioners, which all have to be accepted by the EU parliament before taking office.

        • David Price
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          I believe we have had at least one minister who was not an MP but appointed based on experience and expertise – Lord Young of Graffham

          Reply There have always been Lords Ministers, as peers are also members of Parliament.Peers
          Ministers usually operate alongside Commons Ministers in their department, and often accept the views of the elected Ministers.

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          Peter, before criticising British customs you need to improve your knowledge of the country. Otherwise your suggestions and proclamations will fall at the first fence.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Was there much real democracy in Italy before? With the (now even convicted) Silvio Berlusconi controlling so much of the media and with so much corruption (unspecified by whom, or where or when)). Meanwhile as the EU stokes up the conditions for civil unrest across the Europe the EU are yesterday awarded a Nobel prize.

    (followed by various personal attacks which I don’t have time to research)

  3. Alex Powell
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    When are we going to stop messing around and speculating about what other countries might or might not do? We need to lead out of this mess by leaving the EU ourselves.

    Mr Redwood, you’re one of the good guys, please either challenge Cameron or even better defect to UKIP.

    • Duyfken
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      I reckon that is too much of an ask (defection to UKIP), but I should like to see Eurosceptic MPs, MEPs and others sharing a common platform for a concerted assault on the Europhile Lib/Lab/Con power axis.

    • zorro
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Indeed…..I see that Cameron thinks that if we took a Norway option it would be “government by fax” as opposed to “government by powerpoint”, another trite phrase used by him before the election……

      Well, he doesn’t want the UK to be a ‘Greater Switzerland’ though he won’t tell us why, and he doesn’t want to be a ‘hip Norway’ because it would be government by fax……Thanks for the insight Cast Elastic. I must behave, and tell you that the real reason and I hope that you are listening John……is that we ‘will be unable to influence/have no place at the top table/have absolutely no say over the rules of the market (delete as appropriate)……. Although he does admit that we will have full access to the EU market…….Of course, imagine the lack of influence, when they listened so much to the UK’s views on all manner of social and economic, and we are all so happy with the current situation…….Except that they haven’t and we aren’t…..

      It must be clear to anyone that Cameron has no intention of negotiating anything and Barroso will not offer anything because he knows that Cameron has no powder in his weapon and will acquiesce to anything if threatened with expulsion…..


      • zorro
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Why do you put with such utter guff from Cameron? He’s probably to busy wondering who to vote for on X factor, or forgetting who he had/hadn’t voted for previously (SPAD to check….)


    • David John Wilson
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      It is this sort of atitude that leads to the UK isolating itself within the EU. As members of the EU, however much you may dislike it, we need to clearly understand what is happening in our partner countries. If we are to participate economically we need to join in and where possible influence what is happening in the other countries.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        David–These references to “isolation” are out of date and getting tedious. Why cannot you understand that they do not stand up, given, as is the case, that a majority now WANT isolation (though we are very far indeed from really being isolated of course). Is Japan “isolated” from Asia? Is New Zealand from Australia? Canada (recently flavour of the month) from America? Absolutely of course not.

      • Jon burgess
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Dream on. In the EU if it does not suit German or to a lesser degree French domestic policy, it does not happen. Britain was marginalised when it joined the common market and things have just got worse over the years. Tell me, what did Blair get in return for giving up some of the rebate?

      • Timaction
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        So what’s wrong with beautiful isolation from the EU. No more mass migration or £10 billion net annual cost, £50 billion net trade deficit and rising, our fisheries and agricultural policies returned, no more £9 billion costs of implementing its directives. We’d still have access to their markets as does China, Japan, Norway, Switzerland etc without being in it! We don’t need its influence, no jobs are at risk but listen to our leading clown politicians and they wheel out the usual rubbish. Its time they were challenged by patriots as we also don’t need the 3 million Eastern Europeans taking our peoples jobs either!

      • David Price
        Posted December 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        We appear to have been trying to join in for the last 40 years or so. All we seem to have got is an empty wallet and a lot of criticism.

        The EU is a club set up for the sole purpose of keeping France and Germany prosperous while impoverishing the rest of us. Perhaps we should instead put the effort into more mutually beneficial relationships.

    • Norman Dee
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Dream on Alex, nothing that disturbs the status quo will happen. Heaven forefend that risks will be taken with safe seats and luxurious pensions.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      The UK could easily show the benefits of not being in the euro by having a rapid economic recovery. Given that the UK isn’t recovering faster than the eurozone and in some cases some countries in the eurozone are recovering much faster than the UK it’s unlikely that the UK is going to lead the way.

      • Richard1
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        The UK is not recovering because taxes are too high, regulation too burdensome and the state has too high a proportion of GDP. Being outside the Euro is not on its own enough. The UK Govt has the flexibility to pursue market-oriented growth policies but chooses not to.

      • Jon burgess
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        That’s an interesting observation – the UK is not in the Euro, so why are we not storming away in terms of growth compared with the Euro nations? Maybe some of the answer is that half of our trade is with EU nations, maybe the Blair Brown legacy of a bloated state has made us much less able to be nimble? Maybe our concentration on services instead of manufacturing is now no use when banking is in a tailspin. All things that will take time to rectify, but I don’t see that LibLabCon have any convincing answers.

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

          True, apart from the ‘half of our trade is with EU nations”.

          It is not. What is true is that half of our trade goes through European ports, including Rotterdam. A large part of our ‘exports’ to Rotterdam get loaded straight away onto bigger ships to be sent outside Europe. The figure is more like 40%, and it is getting smaller and smaller as the dysfunctional Continent continues to worship the Euro, ignoring the suffering of the poor in Southern Europe.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Unanime5–Fat lot you EUphiliacs care about economics. All you care about is the Euro at all cost and pretending that borders and nation states no longer exist. You have brought many of the people of continental Europe to their knees but don’t under any circumstances let that worry you.

  4. Steve Cox
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Most of the Continental Europeans seem unable to have a rational debate on this subject. In the end, the blame for their problems is usually laid at the door of the City of London and its unchecked, hostile Anglo-Saxon (spit!) financial institutions. They are unable to see the forest because of all the trees that are getting in the way.

    • Steve Cox
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Point in case. I was getting my motorbike washed this afternoon and a young Italian chap came over to chat with me. On learning that I was British he started asking me, evidently in amazement, why the British are so anti-European and don’t want to be in the Euro? I tried to explain that we are not anti-European at all, but we simply do not wish to be governed by unelected officials in Brussels (which I am sure he took to mean that I am totally anti-European!) I attempted to explain the damage that the Euro has caused and how it has happened, but he was simply incredulous. He was young, well-educated and clearly intelligent, but there was no way that he could follow my explanation, which was basically what is written over and over by pretty much everyone in the UK media. Perhaps I’m not very good at explaining things, or else perhaps his English simply wasn’t up to following me, but I rather suspect that the media in Europe have peddled a totally different explanation for so long that he has absorbed that and believes it completely, just as we have absorbed the British (or Anglo-Saxon) take on matters and believe that. As we are not quite in the mire that the Eurozone is at present, I am guessing that we have got it right, but I have to admit that this chat made me feel uneasy. What if we are actually wrong, and somehow the Eurozone sorts out its problems and goes on to low-inflation growth, while we end up stuck in horrendous stagflation for a decade or more as the insidious effects of massive QE money printing begin to work their way through the system? I have to admit that I still have my doubts as to which path is better.

      • A Different Simon
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        “He was young, well-educated and clearly intelligent”

        And suffering from being brainwashed by the sound of it . Damaged for life .

        Was he living the European Dream working at the bike-wash too or unemployed ?

        • Steve Cox
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          No, he was a well-off tourist, I live in Thailand. And brainwashing is exactly the point. He’s been brainwashed just like the Germans and French and Dutch to believe the EU point of view (Anglo-Saxon capitalism/finance = the devil incarnate). OTOH, have we been brainwashed to believe the non-EU view that the Euro is the root of all evil? Given how pathetic Britain’s economic performance has been I have my doubts about which of the brainwashings is actually the more accurate version of reality.

          • Wireworm
            Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

            Imagine how popular we would be if we withdrew and the euro immediately collapsed. We would be blamed and relations would be soured for decades. Economic reprisals could take all sorts of forms. We will simply have to wait for the collapse before leaving, as Cameron realises, although he can’t say it, obviously. Hague calls it ‘strategic patience’. Before leaving, however, the new circumstances would allow us to negotiate a better deal. An in-out referendum could then be won by the government (no government will advocate ‘out’).

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted December 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        I had the same experience! We spoke to two Dutch people and they didn’t realise that, for us, the EU is only part of the problem, it just makes everything worse and leaves us powerless and not living in a democracy. They were amazed that we couldn’t stop foreigners from claiming benefits after ‘stepping of the boat’ (or plane). They couldn’t understand that we used to be able to use any weights and measurements, until the man sold a pound of bananas to a woman who asked for a pound of bananas, and was gaoled!

        When the head of the BoF said London should be stripped of its status as the European Finance Centre, did he think someone, a long time ago, had appointed London to this position? How, displaying this ignorance, could he have become the head of the Bank of France? (Don’t tell me! I know! It’s a prerequisite for being appointed to such a post!)

  5. lifelogic
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Off topic, I see that Osbourne’s shameful and further attack on pensions will conveniently not affect the MP’s over generous pension scheme. Although their full pension is often worth rather more than the maximum £1.25M (to be allowed for most mortals), the 20 times pension valuation method, used for such pensions, will allow them to escape this new mugging tax he has reserved for the rest of us.

    Still we are all in it together as they say are we not?

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      I also notice that in relation to £90,000 expenses claim a spokesman for Mrs Maria Miller MP has said: “Mrs Miller’s elderly parents have lived with her family for nearly two decades, an arrangement that has been in place long before she was elected as an MP seven years ago. “(Her) financial arrangements have been audited twice, and have been found to be wholly proper and above board. She sought guidance from the fees office in regard to her expenses and acted in accordance with that. Any suggestion her arrangements are questionable is simply untrue.”

      (post wishes to raise issues about this statement, without explaining what is wrong with it-I am reluctant to pursue individual cases, as I do not have staff or legal advice to help, cannot check out allegations and do not have time to put them to the person concerned as you should do. As you will be aware I did not publish personal allegations against Labour Ministers when they were in office either, for the same reasons)

    • zorro
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      A convenient oversight doubtless…..


    • Bazman
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      How about his shameful and further attacks on benefits? Your gripe seem to be based on the jealousy of MP’s pension benefits Jealousy? Funny huh? The breaking of the link between benefits and wages proves conclusively that we are not in together if you ever though we were.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        No I am not Jealous that is a left wing emotion. So long as I and my family are healthy and I can go for long walks and listen to the better parts of radio 3/4 then I am quite happy thank you. Anyway I am better off than most MPs and certainly would not wish to be an MP and have to live in the UK and pay 50% taxes. Anyway I would then have to mix with the, perhaps 80% of MPs who are truly bitter, twisted, manipulative of peoples emotions and often rather dishonest and revolting too. The other, perhaps alas just 20%, seem rather pleasant and to be quite principled though.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 13, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

          Jealousy is a left wing emotion? If that is not indoctrination then what is? Could be true though as the most sickening jealousy is often found among those who are very rich having great envy of the super rich and believing that they are somehow hard done by. Many do believe they are in some way poor, laughably. Communism for the rich supporting them at the same time with the MCSSS telling the poor they should do more work in order not to be poor. Ram it.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted December 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        But benefits have been rising faster than wages (20% vs 10% during the life of this government) and the country is broke. That’s the problem. What other solution can there be except to cap benefits?

        • Bazman
          Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

          As I have pointed out unemployment benefit is £71 per week a 10% rise would be less than a tenner and those on benefits spend more on food, fuel and water than the rest of the population and absolute poverty. The choice between heating and eating is being seen in many parts of the country. Historically as a percentage in 1948 the single rate of assistance was worth 18% it now worth 11%. Of the 53bn rise in spending only 2bn was on unemployment benefit. 10bn was on housing due to the lack of affordable homes being built. Another £17bn is spent subsidising low wages. Was that ever factored into the benefits system at in 1948? The pensioners take another £24bn. 60% of children in poverty live in working households and four in 10m are self employed, temporary or short term contracts. 60% of the cuts will be weathered by working families. The welfare state has become into something that props up a risky labour market, corporations and landlords while a nation of strivers are called shirkers and work for less than what it takes to feed and house a family in this country.The country is far from broke and your simplistic mean minded idea of blaming the poor for being poor needs putting in its place. Cuts will be celebrated by the nitwits on this site until they are made redundant at fifty years old. Ram it.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted December 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

            Do you know why Boris Johnson is about to pay his low tech workers £8.55 an hour (the London ‘living wage’) rather than the minimum legal rate of £6.19 an hour? It’s because he’s enlightened. He wants his workers to be productive, which includes ensuring that they waste less time dealing with the tossers who run the Welfare State.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

            Sounds like a bloody Communist. Local councils take note.

    • Jon
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      There could be an issue for ministers and MPs with long service and those who pay for the higher accrual rate of 1/40th (I think its still on a final salary basis rather than average) and outside earnings with a pension benefit attached. It could also affect some of the top ranking union leaders once any past 3 years relief has been used up. Existing members could be able to secure some protection of existing benefits, details are awaited.

      • A Different Simon
        Posted December 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Another reason to shift to defined contributions isn’t it ?

  6. NickW
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    We have now reached the point where Brussels governs by fear; Britons, and all the other nationalities in Europe will be made to fear the consequences of leaving the EU so much, that they will probably reluctantly agree to stay in.

    This is the final stage of any abusive relationship, when the abusive partner realises their goal and is given implicit consent to do whatever they want, in the certain knowledge that the chains of the relationship are strong enough to stand anything.

    Humans cannot live under permanent threat; it is necessary to have the courage to overcome fear.

    The chains of an abusive relationship have to be broken; there will be a period of chaos when this happens, but this period is a time of opportunity which should be exploited to the full, but it takes courage to do so.

    • NickW
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      On considering things further, we realise that the Conservative Party persuaded people to vote for it because they were fearful, (rightly) of what damage Labour might do if re-elected, and Labour voters are manipulated almost entirely by fear of the “Dreaded” Tories and their (non existent) cuts.

      No one votes for either Labour or Conservative for positive reasons, and now Cameron has removed the fear factor by having the same economic policy as Labour, and the same social policy as Labour and Liberal.

      It is time that voters had the courage to vote for a Party for positive reasons, not negative ones, or it is going to be downhill all the way.

      • zorro
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        Most governments seem to tend on the abusive schizophrenic partner scale……hence the Tories pushing through with this wretched Communications Bill saying that ‘people will die’ if it’s not voted through….


        • zorro
          Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          Off topic, but topical…….I sincerely hope that Lord Dear’s amendment to Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 is passed (removal of the word ‘insulting’) so that this rather iniquitous bit of legislation is tamed somewhat as it has certainly been injudiciously used by the authorities in recent years to clamp down on people expressing views…..


          • lifelogic
            Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink


      • ChrisXP
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        I think this resonates with many millions of people. As I have found, sadly even within my own family, that courage is lacking. It is as if some dire oppression is required to trigger it.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        Well is has indeed been “going downhill all the way” since the appalling John Major ousted Mrs Thatcher and rather accelerating down hill too.

    • Norman Dee
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Nick, it is not the citizens of Europe that live in fear of leaving the EU? it’s the politicians, now that a further career in Europe, with yet another massive pay packet and pension can be put into the career structure, there will be escaping. Our gutless politicians are far too comfortable.

      • Norman Dee
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        thats NO escaping obviously

    • uanime5
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Got any evidence that Brussels Governs by fear? Thought not.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        They govern by “buying” the powers that be with others cash not so much by by fear.

      • NickW
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        What you may have noticed is that no one in Europe is persuading us to stay in the EU because of all the benefits we get; the story is universally about “How terrible things would be if we left”.

        It would be better for the Greeks if they ditched the Euro, but they are too afraid to do so. Fear is binding the EU together.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Great idea! But it is not in the Plan, as we all know.
    And what is the Plan?
    Well, just one huge European central authority which will not only control national government but which till also regulate the national banks very closely too.
    And how do I know? Well, Our President has openly declared it:

    “The current European arrangements for safeguarding financial stability remain based on national responsibilities. This is inconsistent with the highly integrated nature of the EMU and has certainly exacerbated the harmful interplay between the fragilities of sovereigns and the vulnerabilities of the banking sector. The set-up of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) will be a guarantor of strict and impartial supervisory oversight, thus contributing to breaking the link between sovereigns and banks and diminishing the probability of future systemic banking crisis.”

    So, Mr Redwood, it really does not matter much what you – or anyone else thinks, really, does it?

  8. alan jutson
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Italy seem to change Prime Ministers more often than Chelsea do a Manager.

    One has to ask what difference changing a Prime Minster makes, if you are fully signed up to EU government policy.
    Yes you can tinker around the edges, but the real decisions are made in Brussels.

    • Alan
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      I just don’t think that’s true. The EU’s current problems would, I think, be easily solved if it was really a superstate run from Brussels (although others would arise in their place). One reason for the EU’s difficulties is that it is an assemblage of individual nations, each seeking its own advantage. It isn’t effectively run from the centre.

      • alan jutson
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink


        “I just do not think that’s true”

        In part I agree with you.

        A one controlled state where everything is run from the centre, with the same taxes, the same laws and legal system, the same pension rights, the same employment laws, the same Social Benefits, the same holidays, the same business laws, the same armed forces and the same money.
        Would be very much easier to run.


        Yes it would be far more simple, and perhaps would make more sense for those who wanted it.

        What we have at the moment is a bastardised Democracy which is different in each countr,y but which the EU try to influence and run.

        This is very, very different and not what I want at all.

  9. Horatio McSherry
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    You wouldn’t have a clue that anything has happened in Italy if you rely on BBC News to keep you up-to-date with…err…news. Nothing on the News Channel; nothing on their website; and you’d think with a European PM resigning it might be one of the top stories. Unless you know the BBC that is.

    Scandalous. The BBC know no shame.

    • Bob
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      @Horatio McSherry
      ” The BBC know no shame.”

      Are you still supporting them financially?

    • David John Wilson
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      The BBC news that I watched yesterday covered the Italian prime minister situation fairly fully. Some of these BBC knockers need to get their heads out of the sand and watch and listen to the BBC news instead.

      • Horatio McSherry
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        I did watch the BBC News and I had another good look through their News website before I published my post. Not a mention. Sky News did cover it, and did again quite fully on Jeff Randall’s hour. Not that’s I’m a fan of Sky News either. My point was, as the beloved national broadcaster (or the evil State propaganda channel in any country we don’t like that particular week) not only should it be covering the event, something as potentially momentus in the EU dabacle should be covered fully (i.e. why Monti was put there in the first place rather than being elected, why other parties have taken away their support, why Berlusconi even has a chance at coming back, what effect this will have on the control of countries from Brussels etc.). If it wasn’t the fact that people like me (and you, and others) read a range of websites like this, we wouldn’t know it happened at all…like many who rely solely on the BBC News still don’t.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Yes today’s news that the declared population of England & Wales has grown by 7% in 10 years (the real figure is a lot higher), an unprecedented rise solely down to mass immigration, is being declared an ‘increase in diversity’ to celebrate. Straight out of the Common Purpose, universal socialist manual.

      • alan jutson
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink


        Yes the true scale of Labours open door policy has now been revealed.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Most other TV channels also haven’t mentioned this because they’re too concerned with stories that involve the royals and the USA, rather than Europe.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted December 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Now the immigration facts ARE out in the open, what are your proposals for dealing with the situation created?

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, meanwhile the EU get a Nobel Prize, it is like some horrible black comedy.

      Another absurdly pro-warmist tame BBC type of interview with Lord Stern that I heard on radio 4 a few days ago. Surely he can not actually believe the nonsense claims he makes can he? Has he not looked at a thermometer recently? He did mathematics at Peterhouse, Cambridge after all not PPE so how can he not understand the difficulties of predicting the future of systems for 100 years. Systems as complex as the weather? Particularly without knowing most of the input variables.

      Is he really just deluded or a merely paid advocate for a scam one wonders?

  10. Alan
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I know little of the Italian constitution and so won’t comment on that except to note that Mr Monti appears to be losing office because of lack of support in the Parliament, so it can’t be that bad. Dictators and leaders imposed on nations by a higher authority can’t usually be removed by the parliament.

    But what has prompted me to write is my sense of embarrassment at the British tendency to lecture the world on democracy when our own constitution is deeply flawed in that respect. We have an unelected Head of State – very popular and does the job well, so I have no real complaints, but never the less she is unelected. One House of Parliament is unelected, chosen either by heredity – I mean I ask you, what could be stupider? – or by selection by the Prime Minister – well, yes, maybe that is stupider. The other House is grossly unrepresentative of the people, elected by a system that almost ensures the continuance in power of one or other of the two major political parties. And that method of election was actually endorsed by the electorate in a referendum, where the issues were badly explained and the people misled into thinking that they were voting for a ‘fairer’ system.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Don’t stop half way through! There are the regional irregularities and the Mid-Lothian question needs a mention.

      I am inferring that you think democracy solves all problems. You will need to explain how that works. Our second chamber used to be a very good revising chamber and our monarchy has been a great asset to this and other countries. It only leaves the Commons and of course all the QUANGOs to be discussed in more detail! Nearly forgot that “pure as the driven snow” and “80% of our laws” EU and the BBC with its Balen_Report, coverage of climate change and the EU.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Monti wasn’t imposed by anyone; he was made Prime Minister by the Italian President.

      Also Monti could have created a minority Government in the Italian Parliament rather than resigning and calling for new elections.

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Do you really think that the dictators in the EU having put Monti in post will now sit back and allow free elections in Italy? They will ensure that they have another puppet government. Did you see the three EU Presidents taking their bows on the balcony in Oslo yesterday like some latter day monarchy? They are megalomaniacs and to think they, Merkel, and Hollande will meekly stand by and allow the Italian people to make a real democratic choice is not credible. They have dictated to the Italians once why won’t they do it again?

    • Alan
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Well, yes, I do think there will be free elections in Italy.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      It was the Italian president who put Monti in this post, not the EU.

      The rest of your rant is devoid of any facts.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Unanime5–Truly if you believe that you will believe anything (as in fact you demonstrate frequently). You don’t think that maybe a little pressure was put on him? Please!!!

  12. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Italy should not have been allowed to join the euro, and indeed according to a footnote on page 7 in this 2006 retrospective by Willem Buiter:

    “Historically, a key albeit unstated objective of the (mainly Dutch and German) drafters of the original fiscal financial Maastricht criteria was to keep Italy (and perhaps also the two Iberian nations) out of the EMU.”

    However Kohl insisted that Italy must be allowed to join:

    “The documents prove what was only assumed until now: Italy should never have been accepted into the common currency zone. The decision to invite Rome to join was based almost exclusively on political considerations at the expense of economic criteria. It also created a precedent for a much bigger mistake two years later, namely Greece’s acceptance into the euro zone.”

    “… the Kohl administration cannot plead ignorance. In fact, the documents show that it was extremely well informed about the state of Italy’s finances. Many austerity measures were merely window dressing — either they were accounting tricks or were immediately dialed back when the political pressure subsided.”

    It may be added that Kohl’s decision that Italy must be included in the first wave of the euro was over the express objections of the Dutch, but what about objections from the British?

    Having agreed that the EC/EU could issue its own currency, despite his publicly stated misgivings, Major could have at least insisted that it must start off on a sound footing, and at that stage he had a veto that he could wield.

    Likewise Major could have insisted that the EU treaties must include a mechanism for a country which had joined the euro to subsequently make an orderly withdrawal, as recently, belatedly, suggested by the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte:

    “We want to allow a country to leave the eurozone if it wishes to. At the moment that is not the case. A country can only give up the euro if it leaves the EU. We should revise the Treaties to change that. We are ready for this.”

    So Rutte is ready for it, but is Cameron ready for it?

    • zorro
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      I doubt it…..good test of his intentions though. The EU deliberately framed the legislation that way because they have no intention of letting anyone escape their currency. They rule by implicit fear…..


    • Winston Smith
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Too complicated for Dave. He prefers the fluffy stuff like windmills and gay marriage.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper: You are right Denis, that the Dutch (minister of finance) had strong objections against Italy joining the euro, which probably only illustrates that the euro was never a purely financial or economic project.
      As far as Mark Rutte’s expressed opinions, I would be careful, Rutte has (had to) come back on so many pre-election promises, now that he governs in a coalition with the social-democrats that his party has lost almost half of its pre-election support in the most recent polls.

  13. Lord Blagger
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Will they vote for remaining in the Euro and applying more of the austerity medicine that goes with the current version of the currency?


    Delusions. The delusion that its the ‘Euro’ that’s the problem. The delusion that ‘gold’ will solve the problem.

    There no difference between gold or the Euro, Italy Greece etc, can’t devalue under either, so the problem remains.

    The reason is the problem isn’t the currency, the problem is governments running Ponzi frauds and hiding the debts.

    Now people want their money out of the ponzis, government’s can’t pay because they’ve spent people’s contributions.

    No way out of that one bar default.

    So that’s why we’re going to get MPs going on about the better off not getting a state pension. Isn’t that the plan John? There was that post of yours that disappeared on the topic.

    It’s going to be a drip drip drip.

    Heating payments, then bus passes, then paying for NHS treatment, then the state pension goes, then its not the rich, its the middle class, then the poor.

    MPs and Key workers of course get exempt from the cuts.

  14. M Davis
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    JR – …I suspect they will choose another government which signs up to the full Euro scheme for fear of worse…

    Yes, the mentality of ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’, unfortunately. I hope they have the guts to vote for change.

    • Bob
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      @ MDavis
      ” I hope they have the guts to vote for change.”

      Are you referring to the Italians?

      • M Davis
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Point (spoken in jest?) taken!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Well, in any case as things stand under the EU treaties leaving the euro can only be achieved by leaving the EU altogether.

      So becoming “isolated” and facing a very uncertain future, with your businesses excluded from the EU’s all-important single market – or otherwise with your country reduced to the “fax democracy” status of poor old Norway, according to Cameron – and also with your political leaders excluded from those chummy EU meetings, “family photos” and all.

      And while Hague has famously described the eurozone as “a burning building without an exit”, unlike Rutte neither he nor Cameron has the slightest intention of proposing that should be some way out, but instead they both prefer that none of the occupants can ever escape.

      • zorro
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        ‘Government by fax’ indeed……At least Norway has access to the Single Market even though not in the EU…..but what is the bet that the EU would try and make an example of any country that tried to leave the Euro, and, by consequence in their eyes, the EU, and deny them access to the Single Market on favourable terms? It’s all part of the honey trap….


  15. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    What is the point of Mr Berlusconi ousting Mr Monti unless he wants to restore an independent Italian currency and reduce the degree of austerity?

  16. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I cannot believe that a well informed Italian Public would knowingly vote for a System that prevents them from controlling their own Currency, it’s bad enough in the UK with Private Banks controlling 97% of our money – but at least we have some control over it.

    The Italian Media will be full steam ahead to convince the Italians that the EURO is the same as Freedom.

    If the BBC did it’s job properly, the UK Public would understand how our own Bank Lending increased Aggregate Demand – but they listen to Paul Krugman who believes that Banks act as intermdiaries. Why are people who peddle lies rewarded?

  17. Bert Young
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I hope the Italians will see sense and vote themselves out of the Euro ; this would trigger Spain , Ireland and Greece to do the same . There are too many cultural differences in the Eurozone for them to be brought under the same fiscal discipline – it was always a forlorn hope to believe it was possible . There was nothing wrong in the approach Monti was taking ; it is simply not in the Italian style to accept an austere economic regime for more than six months . I worked in Italy with a prestigious consultancy organisation for two years in the mid 60s attempting to knit together companies of common identities and products for the emerging Common Market . The Italians were always most enthusiastic and rational when approached , however , when the consequences of the mergers were properly understood and the corporate disciplines were in place , they were not at all happy and wanted to go back to their old ways . It was always a pleasure to deal with them and to explore all the potential of their products and services in wider markets , it was in the required follow up discipline where they fell short . Leopards don’t change their spots !

    Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    There is no reason why the recession in Italy should be over in TWO years. IMF (which to the best of my knowledge has never been involved in programmes of AUSTERITY without DEVALUATION (to price in exports and make imports more expensive so that NET TRADE produces GROWTH – 1 of 4 components of growth along with government spending and consumer spending and business investment – clearly the last 3 will not be contributing anywhere in the ‘Arc of Depression’) + DEFAULT (to reduce debt to a sustainable amount).

    The arrant nonsense of the policy is revealed by Greek debt going up to 180 % GDP AFTER PRIVATE BONDHOLDERS HAD TAKEN A WRITE-OFF amounting to about 75% in real terms.

    The problem with Professor Monti is not that he is an expert but that he was one of the chief architects of Euro entry. To quote Irwin Stelzer he sees reality through an ‘IDEOLOGICAL PRISM’ as does another economist Dr Stounaras, M.Phil (Oxon.) -the Greek Finance Minister – and the political class across the Eurozone.

    There are some causes for optimism:-

    1)Maroni ex-Minister and with Bossi the leadership of Northern League called for departure while in office – ? 10% vote
    2)The insurgent anti – Euro ‘5 star’ party – 17%
    3)Berlusconi’s party – 15%
    10+17+15 = 42 %.

    Berlusconi will be running on anti-Euro ie anti-IMMISERATION platform. If he can boost vote to 25% then with N League and Allianza Nationale (say 5%) he has 40 % – perhaps enough to form a government. (5 Star might well not want to go into coalition, particularly with Berlusconi.)

    Of course most politicians are capable of not implementing platform, but the misery will go on until southern electorates finally grasp the nettle, stop equating civilisation = EU = EURO and elect people who will restore growth, which they have every right to expect in the 21st century.

  19. pete
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    If their path is to stay in the EZ then I’m afraid it makes little difference who is their PM – whoever it is will have to follow the same path wearing a different frock, a bit like comparing the UK coalition and labour

    – their overall policy is roughly the same with a few chips round the edges – the deficit reduction plan presented by the tories and labour were along the same lines give or take though I would back the tories every time because I fear another labour govt would make things worse especially with stammer balls running the treasury.

  20. uanime5
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Well I guess if Monti was in the UK he’d be elected in a by-election, then be made Prime Minister. Just like a certain other Prime Minister.

    I doubt Italy will leave the euro because any new currency will greatly devalue and will make it more expensive to borrow money. Given that the UK has austerity, recession, and high unemployment, even though we don’t even have the euro, there’s little evidence to show that leaving the euro will be beneficial.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Also the decision of the regulators to downgrade English GCSE papers is being heard in court. It will be interesting to see if this change is considered an abuse of power.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted December 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        It is not an abuse of power. On the other hand, the decision to dumb down GCSEs and A levels over a 20 year period undoubtedly WAS an abuse of power, all the more contemptible because the governments of the day strenuously denied that it was happening.

        And these decision makers expect today’s young to look after them in their old age. That’s not the way to bet.

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted December 12, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      It’s true to say that they will have to go through a harder recession for a while, but after that they will be able to conrol their own currency and interest rates.

      If you remember, in the early nineties, John Major and Norman Lamont were increasing interest rates dramaticaly (upto 15% briefly) to align the UK economy with that of Europes (i.e. Germany).

      Just the attempt of trying to join the ERM was enough to cause a massive Housing slump which put many Home Owners into negative equity.

      When the attempt at joining the ERM was abandoned, interest rates dropped and the Economy began to recover.

      Italy should leave the EURO – they will be better off both Politically and Economically. And Germany won’t get it’s hands on Italy’s Gold.

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted December 12, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      One of the advantages of leaving the EURO is that they will have their own currency. Government’s have the Authority to create and destroy money – just like Private Banks do now.

      Italy won’t have to borrow money to get the Economy going. They can just create more LIRAs to increase aggregate demand and employment. Currency is an Accountancy device.

      You wouldn’t go to a Footbal Game and if a large number of goals were scored hear the announcement -” due to lack of Points the last few Goals scored can not be awarded – as we’ve run out of points”.

      • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
        Posted December 12, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        In the Football match scenario above, what would happen if one of the Football Teams could create their own Points – without authority from the Referee or Stadium?

        That Football Team would go on to win the World Cup.

        • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
          Posted December 12, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

          In affect, that Team who created it’s own Points or Goals independently from the Referee and Stadium would have an unfair and destabilising effect on the Game of Football. The Fans on the opposing side would soon Revolt or not bother going to see their own team lose all the time.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted December 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      But one way or another the five PIIGS are going to default to some extent. Even Christine Lagarde is advising their sovereign creditors to make provision. Allowing the PIIGS to convert their Euro debts to restored local currencies, with an agreed cap on their inflation rates, would be a partial default and would be the least bad option for everybody.

      The Euro as a hard currency and a 17 Member State Euro zone is a combination that cannot survive. The 3 viable options are (1) PIIGS leaving the Euro zone (2) Printing loads-of-Euros in debtor contries or via the ECB, creating a soft currency (3) Internal transfer payments inside the Euro zone.

      Germany has vetoed (2) and (3) so that leaves (1). QED

  21. Max Dunbar
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    I remember holidays in Italy as a child and being intrigued by bank notes that were worth thousands of Lire. Its hard to imagine that the Italians would want to go back to that while Germany is prepared to support them. The Germans humiliated them politically at the end of the war anyway so no change there.

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted December 12, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Currency is an abstract item. It’s backed by the amount of Goods and Services in an Economy. so long as there is consistency throughout th area it is used, it does not matter what the quantities are so long as they are proportionate to everyone who uses it.

      They could reset the Quantity and start off with a Parity with the EURO – One Lira to One EURO. It will fall in value of course, but the quantity of Liras in the Economy will be under the Control of the government – well; sort of. The Central Bank and Private Bank Lending will be the biggest source of Money Printing. Not the Italian Government. Just look at our own M0 and M4 figures. It was Private Banks who when baserk printing new credit money – not the Government.

      Italy should follow Iceland’s lead, who didn’t bail out the Banks and are now considering Full Reserve Banking. That way they prevent the source of the problem of future crisies. Banks Lending too much thereby creating too much debt money.

      Ben Dyson of PositiveMoney has recently put forward a proposal to Icelands Parliament to support FRB. FRB is better that the Gold Standard because it is not necessary to control Gold to control one’s own local currency supply. The stabilising factors would be aggregate demand and inflation, allowing Government’s to make decision’s on proper allocation of resources through the currency Supply without the threat of outside influences in manipulating the Currency.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted December 14, 2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink

        Thanks for that interesting reply. I would be curious to know if the currency turmoil in Germany in the early 1920s could be repeated and the various scenarios that could trigger such massive inflation.

  22. Jon
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    I can’t imagine in the UK our PM and Chancellor being booted out by the EU. Yet I don’t remember huge demonstrations or shock in Italy. After all they keep voting back Berlusconi. I get the impression the Italian voter outside of Rome are not that bothered.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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