I have to share this episode with you all, because it shows – more clearly than any biography could – just how poor Fifi Lagarde is on ‘the detail’. If God is in the detail, then for sure Mme Lafarge lost her soul a long time ago…if indeed she ever had one. For if David Cameron has all the social sensitivity of a scud missile, then Christine Lagarde is up there on the small print with Ronald Reagan.
I posted some five years ago on the lady’s awful bloomer at a press conference in Paris, at which she seemed unable to calculate a mean number properly in order to predict French economic growth for that year. Her first answer was insanely impossible, and her corrected one proved to be miles out. During 13 periods of forecasting while she was the French maitresse des finances, Lagarde was wrong up to but not including 14 times.
Fifi’s failing grasp of the detail has become more evident over the years. Her haziness over the detail of Bernard Tapie’s generosity to the Sarkozy election campaign is legendary and arrogant in equal measure. Last month, facing a formal investigation, she told the French media that the case against her was “without merit”, adding “After three years of procedure, the sole surviving allegation is that through inadvertence or inattention I may have failed to intervene to block the arbitration that brought to an end the longstanding Tapie litigation.”
The logic of Mme Lagarde never bears even the slightest examination. The fact that, by 1972, the sole surviving allegation against Richard Nixon was that he’d attempted to pervert the entire American Constitution didn’t make it any less important: nor does it in her case. She was the finance minister of France (an area of expertise in which she lacks only formal training and commercial experience) and now dismisses a charge of inadvertence, inattention and failure to block arbitration (between big UMP donor Tapie and the State for which she and Narkozy worked) as if it might be a parking violation.
Fifi’s inability to get a single fiscal prediction right, or face France’s endemic welfare and banking problems, made her a shoo-in for the IMF job, for this largely American run Trojan Horse has miscued every eurozone forecast for the last four years, and never once laid a punch on any banking scam anywhere. Higher and higher – beyond the clouds and into the stratosphere of global finance – the feminine Icarus has flown: but of late, she has been looking down upon the waters of her earthly domain. “Let there be light,” said the Goddess. And there was light. And She saw that it was Good.
The problem with looking down from three miles up is that the detail is a tad difficult to discern. But that’s how Chrissie likes it, because as we’ve seen already, detail is not her thing. Recently she was interviewed by Gillian Tett (easily the best asset the Financial Times has) for the paper’s Lunch With the FT column. Ms Tett is a mega-bright social anthropologist by discipline, who went into financial services journalism because it was clear none of the idiots involved in its reportage had the remotest clue what normal people are about. I’ve never had the pleasure of examining Gillian’s toenails, but their DNA would bring far more the financial table than everything contained within the aggregated hemispheres of Lagarde’s cranial contents.
Wearing solid lead boots bought specially for the occasion, Fifi waded in with fact that she is “very impressed by how Irish politicians have managed to implement tough reforms in recent years while maintaining social cohesion”. While Tett was still reeling from this one, the IMF boss added, “The way the Irish have played this is very clever. Portugal is the same – they have got everyone to pull together.”
I think Mme Lagarde should get to know Ed Miliband better: they’re clearly made for each other. They could hold regular soirées for the chattering classes, during which – instead of the Wilde/Whistler wit contest – attendees would marvel at their two hosts trying to break the banality barrier.
Anyway, I’m indebted to Slogger Brian for pointing out a letter. It appeared soon after the interview, and was sent to the FT by a Mr Hugh McDermott from Dublin. I offer these two extracts for your delectation:
‘I would remind [Lagarde] that there is no social cohesion in Irish society – as a society, we have been spliced in many ways by politicians, political parties and institutions and oppressed and trampled on by successive governments. Politicians in Ireland serve themselves and their parties. I know very little about Portugal but I know that everyone is not pulling together in Ireland and that it is easy to be clever in power when most of the population feel powerless and are living lives of quiet desperation in fear of bankers, increasing taxes and injustice.’
This was a six the second it left the bat. I would only add that I do know Portugal quite well, and those citizens with any sense have migrated here to France. It is, like Italy, a mess approaching anarchy. Only Greece is, in my view alongside Ireland, retaining any dignity whatsoever – and in the Hellenic Republic itself, the IMF and its fellow Troikanauts have pulled society apart, aided and abetted by the Dummköpfe in Berlin. All good social effects have been achieved despite Christine and her colleagues in the International Monetary Fund.
The last thing of any depth the fragrant, silver-coiffured one uttered about Greek debt was her stubborn opposition to the country being given more time to repay its debt…until 2022 rather than 2020. She opined, “What matters at the end of the day is the sustainability of Greek debt so that country can get back on its feet.’ Early-onset dementia is an appalling affliction, and thus her maths continue to deteriorate: the second bailout ensured that the Greeks can never repay the debt. But I suggest that Lafarge the IMF knitter – ever fond of Mme la Guillotine – should go (suitably disguised of course) and walk about in, for example, Athens. I think it would improve her grasp of the detail somewhat.
There she would find an entire wholesale food and retail infrastructure wiped out by globalist envy. Young people shooting up in every derelict shop entrance. People of every class and age rummaging in the garbage for food. Old people scared to leave their houses – and scared to use their heating because of the cost. Battalions of Golden Dawn strutting about. KKE demonstrations attracting more and more support. And politicians driving round in privately protected convoys.
In Greece – in ClubMed as a whole in fact – it’s the Devil that’s in the detail. Lagarde chooses not to inspect such ramifications at close quarters, because the IMF does not help countries get back on their feet: it traps them into perpetual servitude to a banking/hedge fund/bourse/neoliberal axis that lent money corrupt élites couldn’t afford…and then demanded the leading role in pauperising the citizens so badly served by those élites.
Such a process is worse than sociopathic, it is fundamentally self-defeating – a mad roundabout on which everyone loses, and there are no swings back to normality. You cannot kick-start a credit/consumption formulated economic system if everyone is refused credit, and nobody can afford to consume. That’s not ‘Page One’: it’s the economic equivalent of the health warnings on cigarette packs.
Among all the soi-disant élites of the world, there are myriad clones of Christine Lagarde: people giving great front, if only to disguise their lack of backbone and background. They have sweeping visions that seem able to see through the elephant in every meeting room, but a sort of desensitised myopia when it comes to human suffering and aspiration. From Wheelchair Wolfie via Gordon Brown to David Cameron, from Angela Merkel via Nicolas Sarkozy to Antonis Samaras, from Ed Balls via George Osborne to Mitt Romney – and yes, from Barack Obama via Hillary Clinton to Ed Miliband – they are – every one of them, as I often write in these columns – ill.
The other huge commonality between Lagarde and Miliband is that neither shows the slightest awareness of the root problem: a perverted, quasi-monopolist Quasimodo of capitalism run by about 10% for the benefit of 3%.
Compare and contrast their inability to oppose – to resist, if you like – with the courage of Viktor Orban in Hungary. A man now vilified as a fascist by the Nazis of Brussels-am-Berlin…but who nevertheless continues to grow in popularity because he says No to the euro, No to the IMF entrapment strategy, and No to globalist colonialism.
Orban is far from perfect, but his mind is open to creativity. Christine Lagarde doesn’t have an open mind: her mind is an open prison. Its occupants arrive and depart pretty much at will, and only stay if they are to her egomanic advantage. If the current lunacy results in violence, she would do well to invest in radical plastic surgery. Otherwise, a new role as lamppost pendulum could well be her Swansong.