Posts Tagged ‘Euro’

Golden Dawn’s neo-Nazis came third and wait in the wings. Europe must remember that when negotiating with Syriza

26/01/2015, 09:36:33 AM

by Ranjit Singh Sidhu

It has been a few years since the great financial crash, which started when the US financial houses saw the products they created out of junk and sold as pure gold turn back to worthless junk. One by one they were either scarified or saved, with a notable survivor being one of the biggest culprits of all: Goldman Sachs.

We can look back and see how the contagion spread across the world leading to government after government instinctively cutting back spending, this in turn leading to an inevitable spiral down first to recession and then to a depression, every area of the globe entering a period of unrest.

In Europe one country, being bound by a financial accord that meant it was dictated economically by others, suffers worst of all.  Unemployment had risen from 8% to 30%, it has also  lost 42% of it’s economic output. With the old political order seen as failing the people turn to alternative radical parties. In just 3 years one party that polled 2.3% now is on the edge of power: It has 1.4 million members and stands on the edge of gaining power with 37% of the vote.

Sound familiar?

The party is the National Socialist Party, the country Germany in 1932 ,the financial crash that of Wall Street 1929 ( and yes, Goldman Sachs was pivotal in selling junk in that crash as well) .

On the 31st of July 1932 the Nazi party received 37.4% of the vote and became the largest party in the Federal Elections.  The German people’s rising anger towards the financial reparations of the Treaty of Versailles had been shown a few years earlier when the referendum calling for the abolition of  the ‘Law against the Enslavement of the German People’ received  94%  of the vote.

As Syriza goes about building a government,  Greece stands with 30% of its economic output gone since 2009, unemployment at 26% and youth unemployment at 50%. We must not be deaf to history and what can arise when economic destruction is imposed on a country.


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Don’t let the Tories hide their economic debacle behind their euro farrago

12/12/2011, 09:28:00 AM

by John Woodcock

The European summit may end up being bad for Britain, but it has had at least one notable up-side for David Cameron aside from getting him back on Bill Cash’s Christmas list.

The drama of the summit has filled a space in the domestic media that would otherwise still be occupied by scale of the problems Britain faces after the failure of the Tories’ reckless economic gamble.

So let the pages of Labour Uncut, at least, return to the fray over the consequences for Britain of the Tories choking off the recovery too early, despite Ed Balls’ warnings. They are terrible and ought to dent the Tories’ reputation for economic credibility for many years to come.

There has been lasting focus on these pages on the excellent pamphlet that marked the birth of In the black Labour. But, in the brief window of interest before attention was diverted by the euro, most observers failed to probe and discount the crude Tory line that sentiments of the pamphlet were outside, and in opposition to, the party mainstream.

In fact, as, to their credit, its authors have tried to point out, the pamphlet is simply picking up what both Eds set out in their speeches to Labour’s annual conference on the fundamental importance of re-staking our claim as the party of economic responsibility.

What they said then stands us in good stead to recapture the public debate now on how to deal with the fall out of the failure of the Cameron-Osborne plan.

First, rebalancing the economy. Our opponents continue to mischaracterise and under-estimate the importance of what Ed M said in Liverpool. Far from being a flight of fancy, his words were driven by Labour’s basic recognition of the need for an era of increased responsibility to build sounder economic foundations after the global recession. At a time when we continue to reel from the crash, and when so many families worry that that their ability to make ends meet is hampered by things beyond their control – from the turmoil of the eurozone countries to the collapse of the banks – there has rarely been a more pressing need to re-examine how governments can encourage greater longer term success and stable prosperity. It is up to us to make that vision add up to a convincing programme that we can present to voters.

And critically, our opponents have under-estimated what both have said on the need for fiscal discipline to get the country back on track. Ed M said back in September that he would deal with the country’s deficit if the Tories fail to do so in this parliament. Given the mess that the Tories are making of returning the country to growth, that pledge to the British people could prove to be the most important we make. Similarly critical to delivering it will be Ed B’s commitment to new fiscal rules – independently monitored by the office of budget responsibility – to get the country back to balance and national debt on a downward path.

We should give way to no-one on the key battleground of economic responsibility. The framework that Ed and Ed have set gives us chance to win. We need to get out and make that case.

John Woodcock is Labour MP for Barrow and Furness and a shadow transport minister.

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Osborne has dug his hole; Balls shouldn’t dig one too

29/11/2011, 08:00:26 AM

by Jonathan Todd

“What he is now doing is the equivalent of ripping out the foundations of the house just as the hurricane is about to hit”.

Ed Balls said this of the government’s economic strategy in August 2010. It is curious, then, that last week David Cameron told the CBI that controlling Britain’s debt was “proving harder than anyone envisaged”. That’s anyone besides Balls and an increasing number of others convinced by him.

The day after Cameron’s CBI speech The Financial Times reported that it now looks impossible that George Osborne will be able to fulfil the boast made in the March 2011 budget that the structural deficit will be eliminated by 2014/15. Indeed, The Financial Times went on, achieving that goal in 2015/16 also appears unlikely.

To acknowledge that the structural deficit can’t be closed this parliament, John Redwood concedes, “is a defining moment … This, after all, was said to be the (government’s) fundamental point”.


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Step change in Spain

22/11/2011, 04:06:37 PM

by David Mathieson

Labour Uncut? Maybe, but our sister party in Spain, the PSOE has just been sliced, diced and stuck through the democratic mincer. The general election on Sunday put an end to the centre left government in Madrid. It gave the conservative Popular party an overall majority, a rare event in a country used to being governed by coalitions of one sort or another.

These results come on top of some disastrous regional election results for the PSOE earlier this year when voters handed the PP power in almost all of Spain’s powerful autonomous regions. 2011 is without doubt the PSOE’s annus horribilis and will rank amongst the troughs for a party which has had more than its share of bleak moments since it was founded well over a century ago.

For Spaniards and the Euro zone the key question is what happens next? But first a quick post mortem. The numbers were always against a PSOE victory. A rocketing deficit, near doubling of the national debt since the onset of the current crisis, five million unemployed, and eight years in power left the socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero without much in the way of a narrative or alibi. And Zapatero played a poor hand poorly. Until early 2010 he appeared to be in a state of denial about the extent of the problems, insisting that the Spanish economy was fundamentally sound and “playing in the Champeon’s League”. (more…)

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The Euro: no more agonising stages

22/11/2011, 09:58:27 AM

by Jonathan Todd

“If your action must be drastic, do it in one fell swoop, not in agonising stages”.

This was Isaiah Berlin’s interpretation of one of Machiavelli’s maxims. The Euro crisis unfolds in stages; each more agonising than the last.

A couple of weeks ago rapid and drastic action may have created a firewall between Greece and the rest of the Eurozone. Shock and awe of 2008 proportions did not come. The markets remain ahead of the politicians.

Henry Kissinger still wouldn’t know who to call if he wanted to call Europe. If he did get through he’d say: “Why don’t you fix your biggest economic crisis since the 1930s”? (more…)

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Someone somewhere needs to paint a picture

03/11/2011, 07:30:07 AM

by Peter Watt

Boy oh boy do we need a vision. Let’s face it; our politicians look pretty rubbish at the moment. The Eurozone crisis means that to all intents and purposes, they are not free to act, not free to decide and implement and not free to make meaningful decisions.  Instead they, and we, are all now waiting for – well whatever the end game is in the Eurozone. All plans for growth are effectively just words. Office for budget responsibility forecasts are meaningless and future treasury planning looks pretty much fantastic.  Merkel and Sarkozy’s grand plan to save the Euro didn’t even last six days.

And this enforced paralysis is affecting all of the parties.

George Osborne, for instance, must be dreading his autumn economic statement. What the hell is he supposed to say? “Tax receipts are down, borrowing is up and the economy is stagnating but it would have been worse under Labour”. Well that will have them jumping up and down in excitement in marginal seats across the land. It may be true, or have an element of truth, but it’s hardly the stuff of political legend. (more…)

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“Same old Tories” trumps “same old Labour”

27/10/2011, 07:30:50 AM

by Peter Watt

Politically, life suddenly seems a little easier at the moment. Well from a tribal Labour perspective anyway. The last few weeks have been dominated, domestically, by stories and events that are, on the face of it, very bad for the government, and therefore good for Labour’s electoral prospects.

The economy is flat lining at best and possibly dipping into a downturn. Unemployment is rising and the private sector isn’t creating jobs as fast as the Tories hoped. And all of that before our friends in France and Germany finally decide, or more worryingly don’t decide, how to save the Euro and at who knows what cost to the rest of us.  Then there is the NHS which the Government seems intent on screwing up.

I actually don’t buy into the line that says the NHS is about to implode, but what is in little doubt is that the Lansley “reforms” have been a right cock-up from the start, unnecessary at best and gratuitously stupid at worst. And then there are rising crime levels, increased levels of public and business pessimism and Liam Fox reminding people of the impression of corruption that dogged the Tories in the past. (more…)

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Fiddling while Athens, Lisbon and Rome burn

29/09/2011, 08:44:38 AM

by Peter Watt

I am worried, really worried. And not just about where the Labour party goes after this week’s leaders speech. Although I certainly am worried about that.

No, what really worries me is the economy. Although I am no economist I can read the runes. Europe and America’s economies are in trouble, big trouble. Unemployment is rising. And every day seems to bring a new round of the latest economic indicators – and they indicate that something really bad is happening.

Think back to when Gordon Brown was busy saving the world. We were shocked that banks, those rock solid bastions of capitalism, could actually fail. I remember the uncertainty and fear in those months, when it seemed that the economic system, as we knew it, could collapse. Shops started closing on our high streets. Where were you when Woolworths closed?

Interest rates and the stock markets were in free fall. And the numbers being used to describe the scale of bailouts were so big that they seemed meaningless. In fact, what we now know, thanks to the memoirs of Alistair Darling and others, is that in reality the situation was even worse. Some pretty big high street banks were hours away from turning off their ATMs. (more…)

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