Did you know, for example, that not one photograph of Annie Leat exists? Well, it’s true: Google Annie Leat images, and this is a sample of what comes up:
Ms Leat has carefully ensured that all we get is tantalising shots of picture books, jewellery, handbags and bums, but not her face. This proves beyond any reasonable doubt the enormous power she wields. She runs the world….and yet nobody knows anything about her.
All we know is that Annie Leat is, by nature, very small. She may even be sub-atomic, which would account for no picture of her existing. Either way, for one tiny person to be running everything and yet be too small to be seen let alone accountable is a disgrace. We simply must get to the bottom of this mystery and sort it out: I have a hunch the Hadron Collider might somehow be involved, but I couldn’t be certain about it.
We have awoken this morning here to bright, clear sun for the last day of the year….and seven degrees of frost. It is a twinkly white winterland, punctuated by some informally arranged line-washing which has the consistency of cardboard. These items are testimony to the memory-wiping powers of alcohol, things having got slightly out of hand last night following an uproarious dinner. The entire meal was purchased from one of a chain of Underclass Survival shops here called Noz.
95% of the merchandise and food in Noz is profoundly awful, it being gathered from three sources: end of series stock the manufacturers dump, things salvaged from retail bankruptcies, and naughty grey imports from Italy, Germany and Spain. But the small niche of things left over is a treasure chest of astonishingly cheap, high quality bits and bobs of household good, socks, underwear, food and drink.
One learns the tricks of Noz as one goes along: never buy spray paint there, as the paint inside is petrified; never buy wine over seven years old as it’s off; and avoid the Christmas lights at all costs. Most of the rest of the rubbish there makes the sort of statement in a home that would shout loudly, “This person is devoid of any taste or discernment” – and thus for readers of The Slog, no further guidance is necessary.
So I took my two house-guests here for a browse round Noz, and they were smitten immediately. It’s like being an antiques dealer, and going into a daily jumble sale….knowing that most of the customers don’t know which way is up…so you can’t fail to find a bargain. Last night’s meal was calamari tapas with olives followed by penne alla Neapolitana….the sum total cost of which was €4.90. The wine, predictably, was off. But other items washed the Noznoh down rather well.
The upside is, we all came away with enough cool place-settings and dish cloths to last into the next decade. And the downside is some aluminiumesque clothing wafting about on the washing line.
Meanwhile, the attack of the Euro-American axis on Greece and Hungary continues to build. The latest member of the Telegraph to go mad on neolibscalin is Jeremy Warner, who headlined his piece yesterday, ‘This Greek tragedy could end in utter ruin’. Poor old Jezzer has never been good on the grammar thing, which explains the unusual use of a future imperfect tense there, when the present tense would more than suffice.
It is of course all about who the utterly ruined might be when the Greeks finally stand up for themselves, and in Warners Wacky World of Wonder, the answer is unashamedly “Other people – for instance, me”. As for the Greeks themselves, most of the ones doing any useful work (before the second German scorched Earth policy in seventy years pauperised them) have nothing left anyway: unemployed and taxed into financial oblivion – with the important food and welfare infrastructure reduced to mocking bribery – you only have to talk to any intelligent impoverished Athenian shopkeeper or Mani olive-grower to grasp that they already have nothing. As the man said, “People with nothing left have nothing to lose”.
The outcome whereby a Party as Left (albeit social-democratic) as Syriza was forecast to hold twice as many seats as any other offering in the next Parliament would have been unthinkable ten years ago. The idea of the Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn polling so many votes would’ve been dismissed as ridiculous doom-theory. But this is what Brussels-am-Berlin (with suitable prods from American business and finance) have fashioned from a country whose original debt was, in European terms, piddling.
Consider: there are roughly 13 million people living in Greece. In 2010 (Autumn) the sovereign debt stood at €303bn….about the size of two UK annual NHS budgets. Because the moneylenders demanded the full kilo of flesh – and nobody stood in their way – between 2010 (end) and 2014 (Spring) some €240bn of taxpayers’ money – most of it notional paper – was made available from EC rescue funds and the IMF. But such was the escalating weight of the flesh being carved up between a dozen Wall St banks, the debt-to-gdp ratio of 127% in 2009 has reached 174% today…for two reasons: usurious bailout charges, and a gdp that has collapsed like no other since Nazi Germany in 1945. By 2012, The Hellenic Republic of Greece owed €304bn, and today the debt is in the region of €312bn.
Now the question to ask here – one would think would one not? – is, given the Greek sovereign debt in money remains very much the same, whatever happened to the €240bn of taxpayers’ money (now closer to €300bn) that was ploughed in as ‘aid’ to Greece?
And the answer, largely, is that it morphed into bonuses for hedge funds, banking firms and grubby vultures who bought bond crap for 10c on the Dollar. So five years on, the Greeks have the same hole in their boat, European taxpayers are €300bn worse off (US taxpayers a little bit worse off) and Wall Street €300bn better off. The technical name for this is Fractional Reserve Banking. Or more colloquially, hypocritical fraud.
Equally fraudulent was the way Goldman Sachs charged a fortune to the pre-Papandreou (right wing) Greek Government in order to give them the lowdown on how to hide their debt problems from the EC and the ECB in the years leading up to 2008. The delegation that did so was led by Gary Cohn, and as a result of the scam, Goldman came under what has been described as “intense scrutiny for creating or pitching products used by Greece to obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels”. You see, when you’re Goldman Sachs, things rarely get beyond intense scrutiny, or “setting monies aside” without admitting guilt. But when you’re 13 million people in a sovereign State, you get to pick shit out of garbage cans, lose all your money and your job, and have your taxes doubled.
Strange as it may seem, none of these factors are mentioned in today’s Warner column. He opines:
‘So desperate has their position become that Greeks may be about to vote for economic and political suicide rather than tolerate any more of the medicine prescribed to them by Berlin and Brussels….On present polling, this could result in a government led by the radical Left-wing Syriza party, which is intent on rejecting the austerity and structural reform of the EU and the IMF, as well as seeking another write-down of Greece’s national debt.’
There’s no real explanation about why escaping from certain economic death and political civil war is suicidal, or where in its manifesto Syriza says it’s intent on rejecting reform: reform, in fact, is exactly what its leader Alexis Tsipras intends…which is why the corrupt and fat-headed Greek professional classes don’t want Syriza to win. And there simply isn’t any evidence at all to support the ludicrous claim that the EC/IMF axis of atrocious forecasting (not a single one right in five years) was about reform: as we have seen above, it is about protecting Wall Street and making an example of a defenceless People….over 93% of whom had nothing to do with over-borrowing in the first place.
There’s little the EC-US-IMF-Wall Street loons would like better than to dump Hungary into the same Chateau D’If in which Greece sits rotting away; but following the attack on the Ruble, the times they are a-changin’. This week the Hungarian Parliament’s Speaker Laszlo Köver told his People that:
“The US undermines European governments. East-Central European states affected by this should stand together, and we need to find allies elsewhere…The recent events cannot be distinguished from when [the US] monitored the conversations of the leading politician of the Western European alliance, Angela Merkel. They boasted that they “invested” millions of dollars in changes in Ukraine. The United States’ interferes where it sees ‘unconventional’ views…this will affect not only Hungary but all of Europe….it is apparent that a world political power struggle is under way, and at stake is the chance of European nation-state sovereignty and true democracy…”
Not far behind Hungary in realising this will be, I’m sure Poland….and then Slovakia, and then Greece. But on Planet Warner, Alexis Tsipras is taking shape as a bogeyman to rival Putin:
‘By threatening unilaterally to default on Greece’s debts, Syriza’s leader, Alexis Tsipras, is in essence engaging in a high-stakes game of poker: give us what we want, or we’ll trigger a new eurozone crisis.Sadly, the most likely outcome of this strategy is utter ruin: this would certainly be the case for Greece, which would find its bluff very rapidly called…’
For unspeakable tosh from start to finish, you’d have to look long and hard across the spectrum of half-baked economists to find quite such a pure example of it than the above. And it is ‘journalism’ like this that is turning off the traditional Telegraph reader at a rate of knots: in 2004, when the Barclay Twins bought the Torygraph Group, the main paper enjoyed a circulation of 920,000. In 2013 it was 550,000. By March 2014 it was 520,000. Losing 2,000 readers a month thereafter, last Month saw it dip 4,300. The Telegraph is dying in a no-man’s-land between Government toady and braindead tabloid. It’s not hard to grasp why.