#eurozone

An open letter to Peter Fitzsimons

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Dear Peter,

It wasn’t so long ago that Fact Not Fiction Media penned an open letter to your lovely wife Lisa after she suggested to newly elected PM Scott Morrison – the man who won the unwinnable election – that he should pick up the phone to NZ PM Jacinda Ardern if he was ever in doubt about policy positions.

Never mind the election results that showed, not only how he managed to ‘unite’ the LNP after the wilderness of the Turnbull Coalition, but his ability to read the pulse of the voters, especially in Queensland. The rest is history.

Never mind the realities that 570,000 Kiwis (11% of their population) choose to live here vs 39,000 Aussies who live there. Can anyone point to the tidal wave of New Zealanders returning to their homeland to embrace the policies pushed by the high priestess of woke? Thought not. Quelle surprise that Australia already outranked her Wellness Budget even before her superior social media skills caused the press to lavish endless praise without lifting a finger to provide context.

So it is with little surprise to read your dig at the British and Tony Abbott after the resounding landslide won by Boris Johnson this week. We get that you don’t like the former Member for Warringah.

Your remark about “Little Britain” is utterly baseless. Did you see sterling rally on the result? Did you see the positive reaction of UK stocks on the FTSE? Financial markets, as you know, echo economic confidence. Not quite sure what bigger endorsement Boris Johnson could have got?

If you let your olfactory senses go wild at the Avenue Rd Cafe over the aroma of the election, it seems way more Brits side with Mr Abbott by that metric. Plenty of Aussies, including me, relish Brexit as a massive opportunity. We’ll get to that. First things first.

Even if we were to indulge your ‘Little Britain’ theory a little further, which part of not being a part of the EU, which presumably is the basis of your negative comment, will the Poms or Aussies miss out on? What adverse externalities would ensue for Australia?

Australia ends up being a winner from Brexit. We already do as much with the UK in bilateral trade than Germany & France combined. Bilateral trade with the UK is 1/3rd that of the Eurozone based on a population 1/8th the size. A strong UK economy is much better for Aussie businesses per capita. They understand this.

Should Aussies celebrate the fact that poverty levels in the EU have ballooned by a further 30m people since 2006? That is right, c.109.2m people (21.7% of the total EU population) live below the poverty line according to Eurostat. No, it is not due to the entry of so many new EU members, many which joined in 2004. Poverty has been a consequence of grossly incompetent centralised control out of Brussels. Yet where is the media on this? Deathly silent.

Eurozone growth has crawled to a trickle. Pent up uncertainty in the UK will now dissipate as the clear majority won by BoJo will allow the free hand of capitalism to turn the financial spigots on. President Trump will have no hesitation in putting an FTA together. A deal with an economy comprising 25% of world GDP is no bad thing. I’m sure ScoMo will oblige 10 Downing St too. Japan will be lining up to make sure Mitsukoshi can stock Fortnum & Mason teas in Ginza. All will be spiffing. Aussies benefit from a stronger UK. Little Britain?

Maybe Brits felt uneasy signing over more sovereign rights to unelected bureaucrats like former EC President Jean-Claude Juncker who was often found stumbling around drunk? Maybe they saw Juncker threatening to cut off voting rights to the Austrians if they democratically voted in a right-wing eurosceptic president was a tad totalitarian? Did you see that 18,500 Austrians signed a petition to tell the EU to respect their nation-state democracy? Therein lies the point. The EU is all for nation-state democracy as long as it aligns with Brussels. Anything else sees reprisals. A mouth-watering prospect no doubt.

Perhaps we might question why Switzerland voted 126-46 to tear up a 24yr standing invite to join the EU? Lukas Reimann of the Swiss People’s Party, who proposed the bill said:

“It is hardly surprising that the EU looks like an ever less attractive club to join. What, after all, is the appeal of joining a club into which the entire world can apparently move?”

Maybe the British saw through the recent EUP announcement of a ‘climate emergency‘ ahead of the COP25 summit? How much faith can the British have when EU MEPs rejected the following amendment of that legislation by 563 votes to 59:

that climate change is one of the many challenges facing humanity and that all states and stakeholders worldwide must do their utmost to measure it scientifically so that policy, and especially spending is based on observable facts and not on apocalyptic fearmongering or unreliable models; emphasises that there is no scientific consensus on what percentage of climate change is anthropogenic and what percentage is natural

Surely this is not a big ask to demand that any decisions are based on fact, not fiction. Yet the EU is no stranger to ludicrous policies.

Who could forget when the EU legislated to heavily fine companies and hand out jail sentences to bottled water companies that claimed their products rehydrate after a 3-yr study? It is probably this type of brainless stupidity that was a swing factor in encouraging Brits to want to jettison from such insanity. All self-inflicted wounds at the hands of the EU, certainly not because British voters somehow lack intelligence.

Could it be that the EU left the UK, not the other way around? Is it possible that the British were plain fed up with the prospect of having even more EU oversight? The idea that the EU thinks that fixing the problems of the EU are best served by having ever more EU regulations.

If Brexit proved anything, it was the idea that the EU has to reform. Unfortunately, the EU seems willfully blind to look in the mirror and admit that is indeed the problem. Now the UK has a strong mandate to leave, the power of populism will only be emboldened among other member states. The more successful Britain shows itself outside the bloc, the more other countries can have the confidence to leave this utter joke of an institution, a close second only to the buffoonery at the UN.

In closing, there is a touch of irony to know that the media beat-up of Trump’s endorsement of BoJo caused a landslide while Obama’s blessing of ‘remain’ ahead of the referendum caused a resounding defeat. We shouldn’t forget that every candidate poor old celebrity Hugh Grant endorsed lost their seats.

Probably because the average Joe and Joanne are the ones living in the real world.

Perhaps your title should have been, “who wants to cling onto the EU?

All the best,

FNF Media

EU climate emergency vote is way worse than you think

What took the group thinking EU so long? What better way to justify more taxation and wealth redistribution than to declare a “climate emergency”? What you are about to read is a perfect explanation of how little credibility exists in the European Parliament (EuroParl).

In black and white, EuroParl noted,

EU countries should at least double their contributions to the international Green Climate Fund, Parliament says. EU member states are the largest providers of public climate finance and the EU’s budget should fully comply with its international commitments. They also note that pledges by developed countries do not meet the collective goal of 100 billion USD per year as of 2020…Finally, they urgently call on all EU countries to phase out all direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies by 2020.

Now, this is where it gets curious. Take a look at this file (from page 8) and ask yourself, how many amendments to resolutions within the “climate emergency” conversation were rejected supporting the overall declaration passing 429 in favour, 215 against, 19 abstaining?

Here is one amendment that was rejected 95, 563, 9 by MEPs (you can’t make this stuff up),

Recalls that climate change is one of the many challenges facing humanity and that
all states and stakeholders worldwide must do their utmost to measure it
scientifically so that policy, and especially spending, is based on observable facts and not on apocalyptic fearmongering or unreliable models; emphasises that there is
no scientific consensus on what percentage of climate change is anthropogenic and
what percentage is natural

Seems fair enough! Basing decisions affecting 550 million constituents on real hard data is the right thing to do, no? Clearly not. Shut up and follow the religious cult and demand followers cough up twice as much into the collections pot. The lobbyists must be well pleased.

Or,

“Text as a whole without the words: ‘urgently’, ‘and implement’ and ‘to net-zero
emissions by 2050″ defeated 101, 555, 15.

Isn’t it striking that the majority of MEPs won’t even consciously vote in favour of making sure funds are spent appropriately? Nope, bow down and shut up. Otherwise face being cut off as we get to observe from the EuroParl documents below.

This is what an MEP from Northern Ireland, Claire Fox, had to say,

Madam President, I voted against the climate and environmental emergency motion because I’m really concerned at the hyped-up anti-science scaremongering that’s terrifying young people, telling them that billions will die, that there’ll be a collapse of civilisation, a lot of the rhetoric coming out of Extinction Rebellion and echoed in the debate over the last few days. I think that the fact that we voted against an amendment today that said that we should be committed to bringing the environmental subject back to rational discussion, and we rejected it, admits that actually, we’re having an irrational discussion. This becomes advocacy and propaganda, rather than science. There’s no scientific evidence from the IPCC or anyone else about the extinction of humanity, and we should be very careful about claiming that anthropological climate changes cause floods and droughts, which we have been doing quite casually during the last few days. In fact, the IPCC says that such issues are probably caused by socio-economic conditions, and we forget socio-economic conditions too much and demand, in fact, as this Parliament has done, decarbonisation, which will lead to eco-austerity, massive price hikes in energy, and ordinary working people paying the cost for scaremongering and...

(The President cut off the speaker)

or another Northern Irish MEP Robert Rowland,

Madam President, I’d just like to reiterate what my colleague said. I also rejected the COP24 resolution. I may not be an Economics Professor, but I do profess to understand economics. They also call it the dismal science, but when it comes to the climate emergency, I would describe the apocalyptic forecasts as nothing but science fiction. The adoption of these policies today, and the aim of carbon neutrality by 2050 is nothing short of reckless and the most extreme example of economic illiteracy I’ve ever seen. The fact that amendments were rejected demanding a full impact assessment shows rank indifference to the cost and practicality of aggressive climate policies.

One thing I can say for certain is that the impact of net-zero makes the consequence of any form of Brexit look puny by comparison. Dieter Helm, Professor of Energy and Economics at Oxford University, was right when he said: ‘We should be honest that it is a huge industrial undertaking, and it will have significant cost. These are enormous industrial activities, there is nothing in history that looks like this outside of wartime.

In my own country, our own Chancellor has put that cost at over one trillion pounds, or almost 2% of GDP per annum. It is an insane policy.

If the EU truly wishes to make itself even less competitive, in the face of some of the world’s highest electricity prices, they are only self-flagellating in an already flailing economy which continues to slow to 5-year lows. If the EU truly looked at its record since 2007, it would see its policies have delivered 40 million more people into poverty, a number which totals 118 million people, or 23% of the EU population!

If there was ever a bigger load of intellectual dishonesty posted by the EU it would be this. It states that,

Climate emergency declarations in 1,195 jurisdictions and local governments cover 545 million citizens with 53 million of those living in the United Kingdom. This means in Britain now roughly 80 per cent of the population lives in areas that have declared a climate emergency.

The irony if such a statement is that there is no way in the world that 545 million citizens are in agreement within those 1,195 jurisdictions. 53mn Brits? Seriously? In Australia’s case, many declaring climate emergencies have been local green-left councils who have made idle gestures without backing it up with realities. Constituents have not been asked. Windfarm plans for Warringah are not on the agenda.

The greatest irony with the EU is that they classify biomass (which is more polluting than coal) as a renewable and gives it a zero-carbon emission weighting provided a tree is planted per tree burnt. Sadly trees take 40 years to fully grow to be able to offset that produced. However, we will discover that the fine print taketh away the wonderful headlines.

Will the Poles ditch their coal industry to comply or face savage reprisals from Brussels? Will the EU guarantee Poland gets huge subsidies to pay for its termination? Which country would be so blind as to put their livelihoods into the hands of the EU!? The Greeks might have a view as do the Brits.

This action will spectacularly blow up.

By all means ride the short term wave of renewables stocks but be sure to line up all of those nasty fossil fuel companies into the portfolio that get pummeled by financial markets because the type of economic disaster that will beset the EU will only create the conditions where the peons will revolt and force a return to the way things were. Efficient, cheap and reliable forms of energy that will make a proper dent in the poverty line rather than promises and handouts.

The EU needs to learn the lesson that “Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.” It won’t be long before the youth of today get to embrace their love for socialism. Experience is a hard teacher. They’ll get the test first and the lesson afterwards.

Juncker deserves a stiff drink after that

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President Trump strode into the Rose Garden with EC President Jean-Claude Juncker where, together, they announced the elimination of tariffs on industrialized goods.

No stranger to slapping people in the head, Juncker understood that when the leader of the strongest nation in the world slaps you back it is often worth paying attention to. There is much left to be desired about the unorthodox methods used to achieve such outcomes but if such deals are achieved that should be hailed as a success.

On top of that, Trump received commitments from Juncker to increase purchases of soybeans from American farms and to purchase large amounts of LNG, something likely to upset the puppet-meister.

So NATO members have promised to get their act together on honouting commitments to spending to display their new bonafides and the EU has seen that they are no longer dealing with a pushover.

Undoubtedly the mainstream media will overlook this and devote coverage to a tape recording instead of acknowledging that sometimes bluster works when the counterparts are truly pushovers in the end. Theresa May, are you listening?

If the status quo is so good why would we vote out the incumbents?

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Almost everywhere we look, we’re told by the political class how good our lot is. Our blessed Aussie PM told us, “It has never been a better time to be an Australian.” Boosted asset prices, low unemployment and tepid inflation gives the illusion of real wealth for everyone. As an electorate, if all of that were true, why wouldn’t we be going out of our way to make sure the status quo gets voted back in with similar if not greater majorities? As it stands, more and more incumbent parties are hanging on by their finger nails, being forced to create alliances to stay in power rather than stick to the principles their parties were founded on. The irony is that these grand coalitions are formed on the tenets of ignorant ‘un-populism.’

The latest election cycle shows us that a growing number of people aren’t buying mediocrity. They’re sick of incumbent politicians ignoring them. The current crop of leaders seem to think that being less worse than the opposition is a virtue to be proud of. Yet poverty levels continue to rise and wealth is not trickling down to the masses. Even rising state entitlements have a finite life and the electorate knows it. Being married to the government is not seen as a desirable strategy long term. Deficits keep rising and look increasingly hard to pay down.

Searching through the St Louis Fed database, civilian employment under Obama managed to grow 2.5% on pre-crash levels. So the US loaded up on $9 trillion in short term debt to create 4 million net new jobs. That works out at $2.25 million per worker. Hardly an achievement. Yet despite that economic growth has dithered at the lowest post recession rates ever. As much as we might want to celebrate record low unemployment these are not proud statistics. The quality of jobs keeps going down. $8.4 trillion of this federal debt load needs to be refinanced inside 4 years. $12.3 trillion inside 10 years. While politicians can call the average voter stupid, the daily struggles of the average punter shows how out of touch the law makers are. This was the grand mistake made by Clinton. While she hung out with her elite mates at $1,000 plate dinners in Democrat strongholds in LA, NY and Chicago expecting a coronation, Trump hit the little people and had crowds flocking to see him.

While Trump’s trade tariffs seem daft on the face of it, it was done for the forgotten people who voted for him. He is not concerned about the consequences. That’s the point. So much of his platform appears abhorrent but he is the only politician in danger of being raked over coals for keeping his promises. That’s why he was elected. The status quo had failed to deliver over decades. 80% of the population didn’t benefit from the asset bubble post GFC. The 1% took 42% of those gains. The average Joe and Joanne see this. While they might not fully comprehend it they know enough to see their situation is not much better.

Take a look at Trudeau’s India debacle. Apart from the embarrassing wardrobe saga, the bigger problems came when he blamed the Indians for letting a known terrorist attend a state dinner. The Indians, unsurprisingly, were most unhappy at the accusation. Many look to Trudeau as the posterchild of the left, pushing peoplekind. Telling Canadians that he will convert returning ISIS fighters with haiku poetry, podcasts and comparing them to Italian migrants at the end of WW2 is utterly preposterous to his constituents. Telling his veterans they’re asking for too much flies in the face of love of one’s country. No wonder his popularity continues to dive. His speech to the UN – where he rattled off how Canada was ticking all the UN diversity boxes – was only a quarter full. Not even his own liberal mates rallied to show unity in numbers. It was telling that virtue signalling is all about appearing to do good rather than doing it.  Yet the day before Trudeau presented, Trump spoke of America First and the audience was packed. They might have hated every word that dripped from his tongue but they didn’t miss it for the world. It is hard talk. Not carefully prepared politically correct nonsense.

Take the recent European elections. Germany gave Merkel the worst ever performance of the CDU post WW2. The SPD was even worse. The anti-immigrant AfD stormed to 16%. Is it any wonder that when Merkel’s misguided altruism  showed up on Election Day even she finally conceded we have a problem with “no go zones”. Some may wish to look at the Merkel miracle of growth and low unemployment but the public service in Germany has exploded from 9% pre 2008 crash to 16% today. Not private sector growth but public sector.

The Italian election showed over 60% of the vote went to eurosceptic parties. While volatility has always been a feature of Italian politics, this results showed the discontent underbelly of Italy which has seen poverty jump 50% to one third of the population since Lehman collapsed. While M5S said it wouldn’t form a coalition, all bets are off if it tied up with League. There are plenty of overlaps on the party platforms but the M5S would have to insist on the PM role. The EU would go into a tailspin on such news.

Austria voted in a wunderkind who put the right wing anti immigrant FPO in charge of immigration. Holland saw Wilders claw more seats. Nationalist Marine LePen in France doubled the number of seats ever attained by the Front National. Even Macron is changing his spots looking to introduce national service and take a harder line against migrant crime.

Whether the real statistics of migrant crime are wholly accurate or not is beside the point. It is increasingly seen as an election issue and more EU countries have had enough. They feel their lot is getting worse and view forking out billions in aid for people to settle here is pennies out of their pocket. If the stats are as the government sugar coats them to be in terms of the prevailing prosperity surely the citizens would overwhelmingly back them. Sadly the opposite is true meaning politicians aren’t selling their “compassion” effectively. Too many examples of gagging the police and muzzling the press have surfaced.

That is the thing. If the economy was rosy and bullish and more people felt secure there is a likelihood they would look at the immigration debate in a more positive light. All they see now is millions flocking to Europe as poverty is on the rise and the economy is on the back foot at ground zero. European EU-28 GDP hasn’t grown since Q4 2015. Despite a quadrupling of ECB assets net jobs created post GFC numbers 4 million, labour force participation remains below the peak. However we should not forget that Romania and Bulgaria joined in Jan 2007 and Croatia in 2013 which would add (at a 50% employment ratio) c.20mn meaning that employment in the EU on a like for like basis as a whole is down 16mn jobs ceteris paribus. Even if only Croatia was included then net jobs creation in EU-28 would be a paltry 2mn, or a smidgen above 1%. Anemic.

Yet the political class still doesn’t seem to be learning, especially the EU. Poland and Hungary have formed a pact to reject proposed quotas on migrants. The EU has failed to address the most important question. The wishes of the migrants themselves. It is one thing for the EU to appeal to voters as saving asylum seekers from war torn lands (when 80% are economic migrants by the EU’s own numbers), it is another to forcibly send them to countries that flat out don’t want them. Ask for a show of hands of asylum seekers looking to stay in Germany or head off to Hungary to settle and the likelihood is 100:0. Trying to make Hungarians or Poles feel guilty for being incompassionate is a price they’re clearly willing to pay with losing EU membership. Would we take kindly to a neighbor telling us how to arrange our furniture in the living room or sign a petition to prevent us building extensions even though it is not even in their way? Of course not. Still wagging fingers in disapproval is only likely to steel their resolve.

Flip to the Southern Hemisphere and Australian politics is also exposing the sordid state of the swamp. 5 PMs in 10 years. Now the Deputy PM has had to resign to the back bench and in a last ditched effort to claim some sort of moral high ground with the staffer he was having an affair with. He claimed he would still look after her even though a paternity test might show the kid wasn’t his. What a grub and a slap in the face for his partner to imply she may have been promiscuous. Once again the popularity of the incumbent parties in Australia continues to sink to all time lows. The Labor Party looks to have the next election in the bag but even then the popularity of the opposition leader is woefully tiny.

While the world seems to be in this state of blissful tranquility on the outside, we needn’t probe too deep before seeing how bad things continue to be on the inside. The little people may not have any financial fire power but at the ballot box they have an equal opportunity to stuff those that aren’t listening. Once again Italy shows us it wants change. Call it populism if you must but it is truly a reflection of just how bad things really are and how little ammunition to deal with any future crises remains. The little people are raising their voices. Best heed their words. It is the same reason why as zero chance as Trump looks in 2020, don’t bet against another 4 years in the White House. If the Dems hope that celebrities that talk of #METOO and gun control (all the while they attend Oscars semi-naked and collect their millions doing action films full of explosions and automatic weapons fire) will sway them to a return to the swamp they’re sorely mistaken.

Austria proves again why the EU needs to listen more and talk less

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God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we’d listen more and talk less,’ so the old saying goes This is what the EU gets for trying to bully its member states. It wasn’t long ago that EU President Jean-Claude Juncker was telling Austrians that if they democratically elected Norbert Hofer of the right wing FPO then the EU would remove Austria’s voting rights and cut off any transfers. Well the Austrians have voted for a conservative anti-immigrant party (which wants a programme to get immigrants to assimilate with the local culture) with a 31yo leader, Sebastian Kurz. His People’s Party garnered 31.4% (+7%) of the vote with the far-right wing FPO coming in second at 27.4% and incumbent Social Democrat Party coming in third with 26.7%. The Greens will probably not make the cut off of 4% to make a party, So once again the EU has had yet another major repudiation of its totalitarian ideals.

CM has been making the point for ages that forcing one’s beliefs onto others must be done in a way that listens to the other side. Otherwise it delivers results like Trump. It seems the EU hasn’t learned a thing.

So what have we had?

-Le Pen garnered 1/3rd of the French vote (double the best ever achieved by Front National),

-the far right Freedom Party’s (FPO) Norbert Hofer still managed 46% in Austria farcical re-run presidential election),

-Geert Wilders’ 25% increase in seats for the anti-immigrant PVV in The Netherlands,

-the surge in the Sweden Democrats to the top of the recent polls, Elections in 2018.

-Italy’s referendum which turned into a backdoor vote to oust PM Renzi. Elections in 2018 likely.

Brexit (although PM May is handling negotiations in true British efficiency – Fawlty Towers ring a bell?),

the Swiss handing back a 30yr standing free ticket to join the EU,

-the AfD in Germany getting 13% of the vote (Merkel may have won but it was her party’s worse showing in 7 decades)

…these don’t look like promising trends for an EU which is already badly listing. Despite ample warnings the EU refused (and still refuses) to change its course or exercise due care. It just issues more threats.

While the left openly voices its rage at these ‘right-wing’ parties growing in support, they never bother to seek reasons why. The right are generally just dismissed as racists, bigots or worse.  Major party loyalty has never been worse. The fabric of the loyal party voter base is wearing thinner. Take Australia’s One Nation Party led by Senator Pauline Hanson. The popularity of the mainstream LNP and Labor Parties is at record lows. One Nation is now 10% of the vote from 2% several decades ago. While some parties may claim their loyal base has abandoned them the stronger case to be made is the clear shift of the parties away from their once faithful constituents. Why?

Incumbent governments seem to cower at receiving negative news from the 24-7 polling cycle that is social media. Being careful to avoid inviting attack, they pander to all of the socially acceptable agendas – climate change, gender fluid bathrooms, laws clamping down on free speech, open borders and afffirmative action.

However political correctness is clearly not the answer as these results across Europe and elsewhere show. People are sick of the brow beating by socialist activists. Tired of the constant protests and social justice bleating. The NFL might find that most of its fans are against police brutality but they aren’t wanting a weekly lecture in grievance politics with the price of entry or their cable TV channel. Growing weary of the idea that it is ‘free speech’ and anything against those ideals are deemed ‘hate speech’. It is not to deny some positions are not necessarily palatable but in the marketplace of free speech, ridiculous positions can easily be disproven. Better to give extremist voices a chance to talk and invite public opinion on them at their own peril. Shutting it down forces it underground., making it inherently more dangerous.

Too many mainstream political parties are moving off the policy reserve that defined them so their once loyal followers are actively seek ones that will. While Hanson’s One Nation or Senator Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives may not tick every box to existing LNP voters, they cover enough of the positions that matter to them that they’ll tolerate some of the more out there ideas. It is not uncommon to hear the left complain at One Nation’s is growing popularity at the expense of the Greens but it is a devil of their own making.

So will the EU listen to the Austrian call? Will it pay attention to the Hungarians who voted over 98% against accepting forced migrant quotas? Think through the logic. If you were an asylum seeker, would you think your chances of unincumbered settlement would be best placed where 98.4% of the population doesn’t want you? It is irrelevant whether we think the Hungarians are insensitive brutes not to extend a welcome to those that are legitimately in need. It is their country and their democracy has spoken. If Brussels assumes to dictate to Hungary how it wishes to protect its culture and whatever it holds precious, why shouldn’t the EU have the same rights to enforce income tax, housing benefits and anything else it sees fit? Of course it is a preposterous notion.

It will not be long before the EU will be front and center on Greece. Let us not forget that the EU colluded with Goldman Sachs to ‘fiddle’ the accounts to make Hellas much prettier optically than it was. Was this pig without lipstick it wouldn’t have gained acceptance to the club. So the EU is not in a position to claim innocence over a deliberate ploy to ram-road the Greeks into its federal state yet have no qualms treating it with disdain. Talk about double standards.

In all seriousness the treatment of the Greeks by the EU is despicable beyond words. So for all of the left’s blind love for the EU and its socialist agenda, 36% of Greeks live below the poverty line and 58% of the youth are unemployed. So for all of the EU’s shared sense of purpose and equality, that means many can’t access affordable healthcare because it is generally provided by corporates and when you lose a job you lose the healthcare. This means many are forced to use A&E of major hospitals which are now overcrowded and understaffed as more doctors are leaving to seek better fortune for their services elsewhere.

If that wasn’t enough, mothers who had given birth were being restricted from taking their new-borns home if they couldn’t pay the hospital fees. While the government has banned this practice they have introduced new laws to allow the seizure of assets (e.g. homes) if debts are not settled.

Shortly, the Greeks are coming up for discussion over its debt position and austerity. With just months left before Greece’s latest lifeline expires, officials directly involved in the country’s bailout say they don’t have the stomach for contingent aid program when the current one expires in August 2018. While the EU and Athens are battle worn after 7 years of this knife edge rescue,  Greece will need to show it can go it alone but it’s eurozone creditors will be reluctant without further strings attached.

Here is betting that the EU doesn’t heed the lessons that have been ringing loud and clear for years. Sincerely hoping Greece leaves the EU and lets market forces revive its economy. Better to die on its feet than live on its knees.

Austria to go to an early election after OVP falls out with SPO?

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It seems the coalition of the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (OVP) and the Social Democrats (SPO) has reached breaking point. Austrian Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner (above) announced Wednesday he would quit the post and also resign as leader. Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz is viewed as the most likely successor to Mitterlehner but he said on Tuesday that the ÖVP leadership was not an appealing option when the OVP was in such disarray. The discussion is whether they stay with the Social Democrats or split and seek an early election. The next scheduled election is to be held in September 2018. Der Standard published a poll on March 20 showing the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) on 30%, the SPO on 29%, and the SPO’s coalition partner, the OVP, on 20%.

While Socialist/Green Alexander van der Bellen took the recontested Austrian Presidency  this year over FPO candidate Norbert Hofer, his recent comments have raised eyebrows suggesting Austrian women wear the hijab as a way of integrating with their new neighbours. In any event we could potentially have another election in Europe where the  market must weigh up the risk of yet another shift toward the right,

Brexit Bingo

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If the EU wanted to project cohesion, competence and credibility they would ‘t try to jack up the Brexit bill from €52bn to €100bn. Are EU leaders unaware that they’ve suffered 15 straight losses out of 15 referendums, 100% success record in votes of no confidence yet here they are trumpeting their supposed financial acumen. They’ve had almost 12 months to work out a thoroughly researched punitive sum for the U.K. yet they can’t help playing bureaucratic Brexit bingo. A doubling of a Brexit bill in the space of a month only confirms there is no scienctific basis for the fine. It is now nothing more than a bitter divorce where the estranged wife is going for the hubby’a ‘ jugular. If the EU understood the Brits they’d realize it is one of the few nations whose citizens will tell them directly what they think. Brits hate being told what to do.

However isn’t the UK a shareholder in all of the assets, buildings and infrastructure in the EU having invested over GBP 200bn net during its membership? Shouldn’t the EU have to buy out the UK’s stake in the project?

The EU is now dictating the UK can’t discuss potential trade deals with other countries while the exit process is ongoing. Are they mad? They are now saying that Gibraltar gives Spain the right to veto any trade deal with the UK. The UK is being treated like a hostage with a ransom note being sent to the Queen.

Article 50 must have been written in such a way that they never thought it would be triggered.  Moreover it was probably drafted in crayon. Now that it has been set off the Eurocrats are showing their true colours and likely to hand Theresa May an even bigger mandate. What they don’t realize is the more bullying from Brussels that transpires the more  it accelerates their ultimate demise.

It is the ultimate hubris. Even if Le Pen loses this weekend she is likely to scoop 40% of the vote. Her father achieved a best ever result of 16.9% in the second round. While celebrations might abound with a Macron victory, a strong showing by Le Pen doesn’t remove the underlying shift toward parties which demand change. This is what the EU keeps missing. The Dutch election saw Wilders one of the few parties to gain seats. Right wing parties took most of the gains.

The EU has no choice but to reform but stiff arming the U.K. sends hugely negative messages to member states. While the EU thinks it’s actions will prevent further risk of leavers, the reality is a growing number of citizens are happy to risk it.

Let’s be sure to remind ourselves that the €100bn bar tab won’t be the last number to flash across 10 Downing Street. As it stands Theresa May only needs to tell Juncker, Tusk and Verhofstadt that the cheque is in the mail.