I recently stuck my neck out by suggesting that when it comes to “economic sanctions” being placed on Russia, the West – especially the EU – are what that old paedophile Mao Tse Tung used to call “Paper tigers”. Now a Slog reader points to further confirmation of Russia’s relative safety in the face of Western threats, given that ‘exported commodities represent 20% of Russian GDP. Additionally, commanding over 10% of the global gas and oil market, Russia is a huge marginal producer of the most important commodities on a global scale (and with over 40% of the produced palladium, one can see why its price in recent weeks has exploded)’.
But it doesn’t end there: ‘ Russia supplies literally all of the natural gas that Finland and the Baltics consume and 70% of what Ukraine consumes, a key point of Russian leverage in the current dispute. Dependence is not limited to smaller, immediately neighboring countries; Germany relies on Russia for around one-third of its total gas supplies. Although seasonal and other factors could lessen the impact of disruptions to these flows, there is no doubt that such potential disruptions would negatively impact European growth….unlike the great powers of the developed world which have been unable to grow at a BRIC-like pace, and thus were forced to borrow heavily from the future for some very modest growth today, Russia did not have that problem. As a result, Russian total external debt is tiny when viewed from the prism of an insolvent G-7 country.’
I’m grateful to Christo for so robustly confirming my viewpoint. To use the technical term, the EU is full of it: it made a stupid move in getting into Ukrainian politics, and now Vlad the Lad is going to make them pay bigtime.
Another Slogger points out to me David Hencke’s piece on how the Coalition is busy destroying as many jobs as it creates. This is something I’ve posted about before, and while Hencke’s Tribune leanings are well-established, the piece certainly rings true. In a classic Francis Maude stealth operation, jobs are being outsourced abroad via a company that is 75% owned by the French. So the usual two idiotic contradictions are present: loss of British jobs, and loss of sovereign control over the operation. Added to the long term loss of car manufacturing to Asia and Germany, the installation of EDF here in recent years, and the upcoming employment of Beijing to build our new generation of nuclear power stations, the trend is there for all to see. The fanatics of the Rabid No Turning Back brigade don’t GAF about nationality any more, being as they are fiercely (and greedily) loyal to the Global Corporatocracy now gradually taking over everywhere. Central Banking having been handed to Goldman Sachs, I assume it’s only a matter of time before the control of fracking in the UK is awarded to G4S. Were that to come to pass, I for one would be delighted: it would ensure that the thing never got off the ground.
The Coalition has, of course, two component parts: a LibDem part supporting illiberal and undemocratic policies; and a nutter part hiding behind the branding ‘Conservative’….although by the time they’ve finished, the fanatics will have conserved about 0% of what made being British something of which one could be justly proud. Previously on Westminsters, senior libdems had dismissed Cyril Smith’s kiddy-f**king as “a bit of harmless smacking”, but these days Nick Clegg denounces The Fat One’s actions as “utterly repugnant”. This is odd coming from a bloke who (a) refuses to even discuss the idea of a public enquiry into Nice One Cyril and (b) is close to former Elm House visitor and report-burier Leon Brittan.
Slog follower Pavan Amara informs me that at noon on Saturday 26th April, Change.org will be holding a protest outside the Houses of Parliament in an attempt to get that enquiry underway whether Slick Nick Cleggover wants the bloody thing or not. While there’s a lot about the changeorgers I don’t endorse, I do think it would be good if they could, at the very least, get some sort of comment out of the Prime Minister about Big Cyril….and, um, Dave’s decision in November 2010 to give a temporary Cabinet-level post to, er, Leon Brittan.
Meanwhile, another Slog reader shows how the RBS frauds in the SME sector are being teed up ready to swing that whitewashing brush. The Telegraph reports how the bank “may sue” the author of a damning report that accused the taxpayer-backed lender of deliberately putting customers out of business for profit. Given the size of the SME group lining up civil suits against the bank, this piece has all the hallmarks of a corporate plant to wrong-foot the SME ginger group – which numbers over 1500 people. The Telegraph reports:
‘Senior executives at RBS believe the bank may have grounds to pursue a libel action against Lawrence Tomlinson after an inquiry into his allegations found no evidence to support claims that the lender’s turnaround unit had systematically engineered the collapse of small business customers.’
This is of course the standard line RBS has taken from the start, and it is, to be frank, complete cobblers. Is it really likely that 1,680 businesses would complain about a rarely changing MO of confiscation if it was a complete scam or fantasy? Well if the bank had the evidence that this was the case, I’m sure we’d have seen it by now. But as always, the brass neck is breathtaking. If brass necks ever do breathe in; I’m not entirely sure.
Finally, veteran Sloggers French News Online note that France’s new Prime Minister Manuel Valls has unveiled a freeze on State benefits, designed to cut Sovereign spending by €50 billion. The Left is, of course, incandescent about it; but I can’t believe they don’t know the reason behind President Hollande’s sudden conversion to austerity.
As I posted in January (you have to scroll down a long way to get to it) Hollande was brought into line on neoliberal austerity by a blatant attack on France’s borrowing costs.