Daily Archives: April 28, 2010

So, spain gets downgraded?

The Greek economic tragedy has finally started to wobble the other more ludicrous economies of this little continent. For years Greece has been one false step away from their economy collapsing in a fiery heap. Entry to the Euro as well as a buoyant world economy saved them from this much earlier; and many pointed fingers at them for fiddling their euro entry details, forgetting their responsibilities as a government to their international commitments, and at their general populous who seem to regard tax avoidance as a national sport, are unionised beyond belief, and in the eyes of many of their European neighbours seem to harbour an almost pathological dislike of a full day’s work.

So it comes as no surprise today that another of our neighbours that for years has taken the whole european community for a ride has finally been downgraded – it’s a comeuppance they’ve had coming for some time in the eyes of many. Spain has personified the scrounger for years: as one pro-euro commentator said earlier:

They’re Europe’s council house, the one we all know where none of the occupants work, but take 2 holidays a year, enjoy their full sky subscription and their booze, fags and nights out. They’ve taken from the community claiming poverty – while spending everything they can get their hands on, not repairing the roof, just splashing the cash.

Harsh words, but frankly not unfair in the broad scheme of things: Spain is a classic example of what needs Anglo-German co-operation to solve within the EU: states that have abused the CAP, European Development Grants and more general European state support services: Spain has had it very easy for the last 15 years, it’s grown fat on a healthy world economy, it’s built roads, schools infrastructure… I could go on. But it’s not modernised, it’s not changed it’s working practices and it’s not attempted to move it’s economy toward self-sufficency – or at the very least some level of debt clearance that’d allow them to sail forward without being mortally holed below the waterline.

Reform is needed right now: the basket case economies of Greece, Portugal, Spain and even Ireland need to make cuts now, they need years of austerity governments, high taxes (that are collected) and no support for fripparies from the stronger economies. The problem is that this isn’t going to happen, what’s going to happen is the larger Eurozone partners plus international aid is going to prop up these basket cases to keep the larger economies afloat: and that’s terrifying.

€120 billion is what the IMF is proposing is needed to stop Greece’s financial flu from devastating other economies big and small: that’s €120b that was only €40b last week: and that Goldman Sachs is predicting could be €150b by next week. It’s no wonder the German’s are taking to the streets to harangue their politicians for answers. We should be doing the same, because no matter how big we perceive the mess in our economy to be, we’re one of the big stable boys in comparison: and we’ll no doubt be asked to chuck money into this pot at some point.

The Mic is Always On

It’s one of the first things we tell people in media training whenever we’re asked to do it – it doesn’t matter how well you know the hack, it doesn’t matter how quiet you think you can do it, it doesn’t matter how flippant your remark might be, the open mic of the news media is guaranteed to pick it up.

So to see such a huge cock up today, from a seasoned political operator, clinging to power  desperate to stop his party not just losing power, but losing the right to form the official opposition was stunning. To call a voter you’ve just patted on the back a bigot for asking questions (which incidentally weren’t in my opinion bigoted at all – just concerned) is naive beyond belief.

Of course, behind a closed fader or a slammed phone or door, we’ve all said what’s on our minds – “tosser” is my favourite insult to hurl – but in the middle of an election, to someone that you’d probably just won around to your side again, an easy win – jesus. Brown was right, it was a disaster!

In between the chuckles and gawping at the slow-motion car crash that unfolded all afternoon, Brown made his appearance in a radio studio and looked like a broken man, head practically on the table, perhaps the funniest part of that interview wasn’t shown much after the initial live encounter: when challenged on losing the election, he chucked his head and arms back and rolled his eyes so hard he looked like he might damage himself. It was a tragic display from a broken man, and a broken party – there was no defence from Mandelson, Prescott or any of the others in the cabal: then the squatting in the poor old dear’s house until an awkward apology was no doubt extracted… it was just a car crash.

As a communications specialist I think this will be an important nail in the coffin of the Labour campaign: I don’t think it’s the stake through the heart that certain commentators are predicting it’s going to be – but I do think that Brown’s now a wounded animal, and that’ll be a dangerous game for both Cameron and Clegg to play with. CCHQ have been remarkably restrained all day, LDHQ slightly less so – but it shouldn’t be forgotten that wounded animal’s lash out – sometimes fatally – so it’ll be interesting to see how they both handle him.