Sunday, April 14, 2013

And in other news

Estimates for attendance of yesterday's Thatcher hate party in Trafalgar Square vary from "as many as 1,700" from a photographer who was there to "about 3,000" in the Grauniad, whose hack may or may not have been there. Either way, these are not numbers that deserve any kind of consideration though the flying of the Argentinian flag shows a crassness and stupidity beyond the usual left-wingery.

It seems various other groups have decided to protest against ... well, what exactly? They can't be protesting against Thatcher's death, surely. Apparently, they are protesting against her legacy, which they seem unable to define. Then they are surprised that nobody takes them seriously.

According to Sky News there were former miners from various parts of the country (or, given the time that has gone, presumably off-springs of former miners), UK Uncut, Liverpool fans who think she personally murdered all the people at Hillsborough and many people who, as has been pointed out before, were not even born when she was Prime Minister. One can't help wondering whether these political geniuses have even noticed that she has not been that for over twenty years and that much of her supposed legacy has actually been overturned by her successors.

Just to give one an inkling of what passes for thought among these people we get this straight-faced reporting on Sky:
Among the crowds in Trafalgar Square was four-year-old Jack, who was stomping around shouting "Thatcher's dead, Thatcher's dead."

His father Howard Garrick, from Islington, north London, said he was determined his son should come to the party.

"This is about his future as well, not just the past," he said.

"He needs a grounding in life and to understand how we are not going to be made into wage slaves."
Well, how nice. So the future, according to this moron (the father not the unfortunate little boy) is to consist of his son growing up to be a lay-about. He must be the little boy spotted by Robert Hardman of the Daily Mail. His account is hilarious. Read it here.

Enough of this obsession with events of several decades ago (and yes, I am going to write about the late great Prime Minister any minute now). Let us turn to the future.

The anti-euro Alternative for Germany party (here is the official website in German)  is being launched officially today, as reported by Der Spiegel and on their site.
The Alternative for Germany party wants to shake up the traditional party landscape in the country during federal elections this September with its message of "putting an end to the euro." The party is calling for the "orderly dissolution of the euro currency zone." So what do they want to do, return to the deutsche mark? Lucke describes that path as "one option." The party still hasn't defined much in terms of its party platform, but its founders have argued for the right to hold national referenda as well as streamlining tax laws. More than anything, they aim to attract voters with their "no" to the common currency.
The accepted wisdom is that the party is not likely to win any seats in the federal parliament but there is some uncertainty behind Der Spiegel's somewhat dismissive coverage. What if they do attract support, is the clear message behind this and other articles. Well, what, indeed. It has always been my conviction that no other country can destroy the European Union. The whole box of tricks requires endless feelings of guilt from Germans, none of whom can be said any longer to be responsible for the horrors of Nazism and the war. The people of Germany have, on all evidence, understood that but not the political class. Not yet.


  1. Well, German industry wants the Euro, for it makes sure that most of the countries that are top importers of German goods and services can't devalue their currencies vis-as-vis our own.

  2. An overvalued DM is not likely to be helpful, I agree. But there is the problem of endless resources being wasted (and they are endless) on rescuing the other eurozone countries.

  3. Yes, but industry reaps the rewards, it is tax-payer that pays for the rescues ;)

  4. The distinction is not altogether clear to me. I suppose we shall have no clear idea until the election.

  5. The distinction is that the Geman import from other Eurozone countries is kept to a minimum because the German household economy is one of the poorest in the EZ.

    There are definite problems with this statistics but even if it does not tell the whole truth, no wonder that the German authorities tried to hide it for as long as possible:

    Total Fiasco: Germans Are The Poorest, Cypriots The Second Richest In The Eurozone



  6. Which might make the German taxpayer and voter somewhat irate.

  7. Yes, the German taxpayers will be a tad irate.

    However, as I mentioned above, there are difficulties with these types of comparisons, and that is not only how the statistics is gathered, but how to interpret the results.

    Wolfgang Münchau has a completely different take on this report:

    The riddle of Europe’s single currency with many values

    His conclusion is damning:

    "This leaves me to conclude that the unit of account is really not the same across the eurozone - that Spain and Germany have a different euro.
    Of course, I would not expect the ECB or any other European institution to conclude that the euro is not the same in Germany as in Spain. It is their job to deny this. But the imposition of capital controls in Cyprus has set a precedent. It now has a new currency. I call it the Cypriot euro. According to the ECB's study, Germany also has its own currency - the German euro - and it is massively undervalued."

    None of the interpretations tell the whole truth, but Münchau's is probably closer to the reality. But how come? Shouldn't the Euro make the whole Eurozone into a single market??? Well, that was what we were told, but already a year or so after the introduction of the Euro, it was seen not to work. Fritz Bolkestein, finance commissioner at that time, gave a talk to the Kangaroo club in 2003, and warned that the price convergence had stalled since 1999. This is in concordance with Münchau's statement that "the price gap also affects tradeable goods: European cross-border retail markets are not working efficiently."

    Some currency union!


  8. "The distinction is not altogether clear to me. I suppose we shall have no clear idea until the election."

    It basically is a case of "privatizing the profits and nationalising the losses"

    The Euro allows German industry to sell more to other countries in the Euro zone than they otherwise would be able to. The problem is that the resulting German export surpluses are at the same time a large part of other countries' deficits that make it necessary to bail them out.