Friday, 9 December 2011

Some naive observations about the siege of the euro

1. Why, if the euro is a failing currency which had only 24 hours to be rescued, has its exchange rate against the pound sterling remained constant within two or three pence for the last year? (and 1a. why have there been so many "24 hours to save the euro"?)

2. Why is it so disastrous for the euro if Greece has trouble repaying its bonds, while similar troubles in California and other States do not impact the dollar?  California would have the 7th highest GDP in the world if thought of as a country, well ahead of Greece and not far behind Italy. (The dollar is on credit watch, but only because the US is deemed to be paying too much for welfare benefits, it seems.)

The news that China is riding to the rescue of troubled euro-zone nations reminds me of a couplet* from the 1960s when we were alerted to the fact that communist China had the hydrogen bomb: "the little yellow uncle, with his billion-candle sword". Since then, China has come to realise that the renminbi is more powerful than the bomb, and could soon become pawnbroker to the world. Uncle indeed.

*The full poem, a prize-winner in a 1960s Guardian competition to update Rudyard Kipling, follows. It was perhaps a sign of the times that the first prize-winner was also dedicated to a white supremacist regime in Africa, that of Southern Rhodesia.

The Song of the Munt

For the bullwhip in the morning,
And the hunger in the sun,
For the fly-embroidered corpses
From the bloody Gatling gun.

For the puddle in the schoolroom,
And the eyeball at the chink,
For the short, contemptuous glances
As the frosted glasses clink.

For the fraudulent redemption
Of that butchered Jewish priest,
For the pass card on the tramway,
And the laughter of the feast.

With the certainty of sunrise,
As the vengeance of the Lord,
Comes the little yellow uncle
With his billion-candle sword.


I wonder if the author is a relation of Tony Juniper, one of the more competent junior ministers in Gordon Brown's government.

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

I have now heard two Labour spokesmen - Douglas Alexander and Wayne David - try to explain what they would do differently from David Cameron in Brussels last night. I am afraid that all it boils down to is "we would have kept talking" - no mention of a specific goal. Could it be that they daren't commit themselves? Labour is clearly still as Eurosceptic as ever.