I do not get enough chances to blog. I thought it would be easier, but the reality is, time slips by at a pace that is stunning.
I brace myself for the week ahead and think that there are a few decent issues for a blog - and then the week is gone, the events are history and my thoughts are irrelevant.
This weekend, I am bracing myself for one of the more challenging election weekends. France has the parliamentary elections. The Greek population return to the polls to try and decide on a national government. This might be a weekend of highs and lows for the respective Greens but, regardless, it will be a thrilling weekend. My money, for excitement, is on Greece.
Frankly, I do not think this is a near-referendum on the future of the European Union, Eurozone, or the Euro currency. Stakes that high do not ride on mixed issues - this is a national election, for a government. It is not a referendum on the Euro et al.
Someone will have to blink. I think both sides. The Greek government cannot simply refuse to pay and expect to simply walk away. But the Euro side will have to relent and find a solution that will not mean generations of austerity and a national destruction.
The Green European Foundation published something today... a meander across the Greek situation and how badly it will hurt the Greens. But they managed, yet again, to present the Green solution. Well, the Green strategy for how to address the issue.
"What we need to do is to stop the blame game within the European Union, to stop focusing on numbers and statistics and to start paying visits to poverty-hit areas throughout our Union, to stop adding more austerity measures and come up with a plan that can revitalise our common vision. The road ahead is not paved with roses, but hey, did anyone say we Greens in Greece or elsewhere are made for the easy?"
Read the entire article here...
Read the entire article here...
This is something that I can stand by. There is no quick fix, but the thinking is, work to solve the problem, not apportion blame. We need to solve the problem, not punish. Of course there have to be corrections and repairs so this is less likely to happen again.
While I think there have to be corrections and repairs, as if that is obvious, is slightly dumbfounding. The banks talk as if they have recovery in hand, and that is all that matters. The people they have pushed beyond their limits, far from 'recovered'. But while the banks are heading to recovery, the rest of us are still looking at punishment.
And if I am going to mention punishment, I still wonder why the banks have escaped any real blame. Oh, there has been a public outcry and spokespeople have said stern words to bankers and financiers. And then they were given wheelbarrows of cash. Truckloads. Lots of truckloads. Did not see a truckload of punishment.
But have seen loads of punishment lashed out at the individual. And the punishment is still going on.
Banks borrowed with no limit, no sense of control. Everything was justified in pursuit of short-term wealth. This money was offered to the general public at rates that could not have made sense, but the public were sold a bill of goods. And you can say whatever you want about the small print and what they signed and I will always look past the sheet of paper at the people who wrote the contract and put the paper in on the table. The ones with everyday exposure to finances and risks. The ones with degrees in banking and finance. The ones who set up this disaster.
These people knew there was too much money being borrowed, that levels had been surpassed, that this was pure financial brinkmanship.
And now the people are paying the cost.
And if anyone believes this is the exclusive fault of the Greek bankers, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.
Now this is a blog and this is my personal opinion. That said, I was in Ireland in the week leading up to the austerity referendum and I would have cast a 'No' vote. I watch Greece and, keeping the issue simple, I will watch for a coalition design that will press back against the Euro austerity package and look for a way that Europe can grow its way out of this situation.
Punishment has been meted out and blame cast (even if not accurately). But now it is time to stop the blame game and design a recovery that extends beyond threats, intimidation and games of chicken.
But this weekend, I will be Googling Greece and France and watching the developments.