Thursday, 29 January 2015

A GRECIAN EVENSONG. Van Morrison - These Are The Days

When I was a kid I knew a fine Belfast soul singer, the late Sam Mahood. Sammy and his brassy band, the Soul Foundation, could sing Sad Song sweeter and sadder than Otis Redding, himself. 

I was with Sammy the night Otis Redding died and he showed me how Otis Redding's guitarist, Steve Cropper, played Sitting on the Dock of the Bay in open E. Tricksy, secret stuff, then but he was a lovely, generous man, Sam Mahood, from Banbridge town in the County Down but like my street-child self, 

haunting the University quarter of Belfast.  
Sadly, there's nothing of his sweet, soul music on youtube, just some poorly-recorded blues jams that would be better deleted.

Sammy never made it big 

but the pushier, rowdier Van Morrison did
 and as with so many whose audience only listens to pop music, Morrison's output is significantly over-valued, much of his stuff is shouty, sub-Ray Charles  R'n'B that was shit even when Ray Charles did it  but there are gems, especially on Astral Weeks and this, from much later, is almost enough to make one forgive his churlish, shouty abominations.

My friend, the poet, Felix Hodcroft, bought me this, even though, like mr bungalow bill, he probably preferred Mahler's Ninth. Instrumentally, this sounds more Aegean than Strangford Lough-ish, and the arrangement, especially the sawing strings in the coda,  remind me of Wagner's Tannhauser overture. The Christian leitmotif, too, probably transfers to all faiths, even to that greatest of all, fervent atheism.

I don't know what's going on in Greece,
 how would I ? 
Certainly skymadeupnewsandfilth are preaching the one true gospel of Greed uber Alles and foretelling cataclysm for non-believers but they would wouldn't they; mr mongoose, a thread back, was a little more plaintively optimistic, admitting at least to Punishment's Alternative, for Greece and for us  all.

I don't know, either, about the new Greek government, as Mr George Showbiz Galloway constantly proves, it takes more than suits without ties to denote a revolutionary 

but at least they're not Angula Merkel and Christine la Vache.  

Mad crow blues.

Good luck to them, the Greeks, in pissing on this pair;
turning the water
into wine. 

Shit or bust, these are the days.


Bungalow Bill said...

I see Mr Hodcroft has only recently started publishing his poetry after retiring from his other work but does live performances too. Enviable.

Yes, here's to the Greeks - they gave us one civilisation, another would be very welcome.

Mike said...

The Greeks are about to be taught a very painful lesson - pour encourager les autres.

call me ishmael said...

He was ever a poet, Felix, a fan, a critic; wrote speeches for Merlyn Rees, before doing a proper job; he was very kind to me, once upon a time. Dunno about live performances, though, he's a handsome devil but showbusiness is showbusiness, whatever you call it.

As I said, I don't know about Greece, it is a wilderness of fiscal mirrors and banker propaganda. Good luck to them.

call me ishmael said...

Watched an interview, last night, mr mike, with former hereditary Greek PM, Papandreou and as pampered greysuits go he seemed halfway decent. I may be wrong but I can't see him conspiring in the lesson you mention, as would, in our case, Cameron or Miliband, both long bathed in the blood of national betrayal.

Nor am I sure about the willingness of les autres to be so schooled.

I genuinely don't know if this Filth-O-Graph theme - Rich Northern Europe Supporting the Oily Idle South - is true; it all sounds as though it could have been written by Nigel Farageopolous, that's his schtick, his form of fascism; the wogs, I love 'em, I really do but they need to be kept in their place and nor do I entertain this Osborne stupidity that a country's finances are just like a family credit card, horrid little sperm-guzzling trollop, filthy, jumped-up Oxbridge degenerate. Papandreou, and many others have credibly protested that Greeks, especially public sector workers have been slaving their bollocks off for three hundred quid a month. All has the tang of untermenschen, this blackguarding of the Greeks by rotten fucking bastards down on their knees sucking Murdoch's knob-anciene,felching at the arsehole of GlobaCorp.

Fuck the German bankers, and fuck the German taxpayers, in their discreet spectacles and their neat haircuts and their morning-time fecal examinations, dirty bastards; when did the blood get washed from their Nazi hands?

Bungalow Bill said...

I take Mr Mike's point and think he has it right but only if the Greeks lose their nerve. This is a contest between one of the highest conceits of anti-democratic capitalism and the right of people to live together decently. How dare Merkel with her s&m economics - we mustn't of course be drawn into any crude suggestions that this is the Fourth Reich without guns - the impertinent old shrew, how dare she sit in judgment on the Mediterranean Untermenschen.

I think this is a big moment, but I can already hear the sound of shuffling feet beneath the coalition table in Athens and Mr Tsipras asking his comrades whether the perquisites of EU compliance are not, actually, somewhat better than they had thought.

So it goes.

Bungalow Bill said...

Sorry I have echoed some of your thoughts and indeed vocab there Mr I but hadn't read your last post. Yes indeed may Berlin fall again.

mongoose said...

I think it is time for the poor Greeks to stand firm and brazen it out. They are already skint in international terms - no more Mercs for them. There are no more sanctions which can be applied if they just tell the ECB to stick it. Apart from all those inconvenient energy pipelines which might stop flowing. (Oops. Ssshhh. Mind, I think Italy gets a fair whack of that hydrocarbon magic.)

What would happen? They'd be kicked out of the Euro - and the EU too, I shouldn't wonder - and they'd have the Drachma and economic carnage on a scale not seen this side of WWII. They'd then have to arrange their domestic economy as best they could - as they are not free to do at the moment. At least they'd be masters of their own fate.

That the Euro could not be allowed to fail, even in part, is the problem. The Greeks would have to be seen to have been at fault - or the Spanish and the Irish might pack it in too.
The Greeks will be the idle bastards, loafing all afternoon, ouzoed up, their bellies groaning. And hence all the blather at the moment. The Irish "growth". The Spanish "recovery". You could not make this shit up even if you were a psycho-federalist-uber-alles trying to hoodwink an entire continent.

It will be a stitch-up though. The debt will be kicked out into the second half of this century and quietly buried in mega-corp bunce - subsidy, renewable this and co-operational tariff-adjusted that. An electronic soothing of the fevered brows of Frankfurt, and London. Lies and cant, and pass the port, if you will. This must be the gamble. And if not? If the new lads cannot be inveigled to behave, to play up and play the game, well the Colonels are all still in the Mess aren't they?

Whatever happens, the average Greek is about to get hammered seventeen ways, and then another seventeen ways backwards. There isn't enough money to paper over these cracks. The Germans will not do it willingly, and if they are made to, they'll be mighty cross. Already they too are being levered into line as partially at fault. I don't see how it can end well.

call me ishmael said...

It is only to be expected that anyone or any group adept enough to grasp national power will prove venal enough to so shuffle those feet, mr bungalow bill, and those principles, should that become necessary. Perhaps the new Athenian order is not made of the same shoddy stuff as are our own political elites, perhaps their voters will hold them to their task; certainly, the demonstrators have had, for some years, more fire in their bellies than have we; perhaps, also, the wider, less noble dissatisfaction with the EuroReichsCorp - the neoNazi right in Germany, Madame le Pen, in France, even Poundland, here, will inadvertently move public opinion in Athens' favour.

As mr mongoose says, appearances are important and a Euro-collapse, political or monetary, would entirely discredit current and recent political elites, as well as their owners. The fact, therefore, that such upheaval is being publicly contemplated and may even happen must be grounds for mild optimism. the way things were going, maybe, for the Greeks, being hammered seventeen ways is better than what was already their portion.

No matter what is rammed down our throats by skymadeupnewsandfilth, many others will belong to the same shitegeist which saw both mr bungalow bill and I independently reach for the same epithets regarding the New World Order and its vile sergeants.

My enemy's enemy is not my friend but the Poundland platoons may yet help us defeat the big battallions.

yardarm said...

Even talking about kicking the bankster entitlementistas in the bollocks is something our knee padding, grovelling, political quislings dare not.

Who the fuck is Osborne to be lecturing anyone about the propriety of debt ? Cunt has never paid a gas bill in his life or worked. And he`s borrowing a hundred odd billion and following Darling`s lead he`s printed £375 billion of Magic Money to keep this Cartoon Cat economy running in thin air over the precipice.

As in the Great Tits Up of `08 whatever happens, the whole sham edifice can`t be allowed to crumble; the dosh jugglers and their political puppets must continue in their damned careers and meal tickets. The Greeks aren`t the problem: its the whole entitlement class of global dosh jugglerati hanging from the teat of debt.

Didn`t the clerk running the European Central Bank claim last week he would create as much Magic Money as needed ? He`ll rattle his keyboard a bit more and that`s the entitlement classes; banksters, spivs, dosh jugglers and puffed up clerks kept in their non jobs. And Merkel, Juncker and the ham faced inbred in Downing Street will continue, safe in their damned careers.

call me ishmael said...

Yes, mr yardarm, a trillion wotsanames, just like that, borrowed into existence, in order to shore-up all the rest of the MickeyMouse money, funding the Kingdom of Delusion, while dusabled people must forfeit their spare room, leave their wheelchairs and declare themselves able, for we can no longer suffer their weakness for them.

Mike said...

I can't see the Greek coalition backing down, whatever the bribes from the EU. They would be burned alive by the mob in Syntagma Square. For all their faults, the Greeks do have big balls.

I'm with other commenters here - this cannot end well; blood will be spilled.

mongoose said...

And even since I wrote that a couple of hours ago, the French are saying that a) debt write-off is out, b) payback lengthening is in, and c) interest rate change is in. Well b) and c) make a) just a sop to keep the Germans onside. That's like the bank saying to me that I may pay my mortgage off over as long as I like and at whatever monthly payment suits. The proposed fix is now in the open. The debt will be kicked down the road, the Germans will pay in the short term - and the long term will never arrive. But will Angela allow it? Soon to retire Angela will not want the blood on her shoes.

Mike said...

Mr Mongoose: this is just the frogs freelancing, as well as shitting themselves because frog banks are on the hook, bigtime.

If b) and c) are allowed, what do you think the reaction of Spain/Portugal/Italy will be? And the Irish won't be too happy either. The whole bullshit edifice loses any credibility.

I can't see any logical room for fudge - though its more than likely it will happen.

Doug Shoulders said...

Apparently Iceland, who removed their government and nicked some of their parliament are doing quite nicely thank you very much. They told the banksters to stick their debt up their arse. They never voted for their elected to put them under globacosh.
If Greece does the same, which they seem to be trying to do…sticking two fingers up at the banks vis a vis the debt, then Spain may do the same..and why not the Irish? It difficult to determine if UK economy is as fucked, cos we never learn anything from the papers other than what gov wants us to know..but were in the same queue.
Seems to me national debt is another resource to be plundered. All those countries invited to join the EU, bringing wogs out the jungle with jobs, new money for all..but mostly fat remuneration for politicians.
Handing over money made out of thin air and then asking for it back with interest. The mind boggles. Debt money backed by debt.

Roger said...

I was sad that a group was never formed round Van Morrison. There could have been Van Sainsbury, Van Tesco, Van Asda, and others, who could have been Co opted!!

mongoose said...

Hence the need, Mr Mike, to frame this as a special needs case. "The useless Greek loafers are the ones who will burn the house down and therefore the rest of us will have to stump up and save their arses" - because the consequences of not doing so are too ruinous. The markets - who have already discounted effective default and grexit - and the politics are being prepared. It has to be a wholesome, orderly spectacle or the game is up. All the snarling is without sanction because the sanction burns the house down. This, I think, is the Greek attempted masterstroke. Everyone knows that the Emperor has no clothes but the little Greek boy must be paid off or he'll say so.

Three is a line in the film I mentioned when the Irish PM effectively says "Aww, feck. What can they do if we let the banks fall?" And the answer was that the whole of Europe would look at the Irish as the ones who killed the universal Euro project and would never forgive them. It is the same threat now. But it is toothless. There is no gravy train to lose your place on. It is over. Whether another country raises its hand to ask for more is the crucial question. The just announced new bucketful of QE magic money was meant to stifle those pleas.

Anonymous said...

Dude, if I lend you money (magic or otherwise) I expect you to pay it back. Without interest of course.


call me ishmael said...

One for mr mike. It used to be that a billion was a million million and a trillion was a million billion - 1 followed by 18 noughts and counting, one-at-time, to a triliion would take you thirty-five years. What is it now?

If it is the former - million million million - and there are only five hundred million citizens in the EU, then, if we can magic-up a. trillion, why the fuck don't we just give everyone a lorryload of cash? That would fix the economy, once and for all.

Even if the trillion they are printing is only a million million, US style, even if they have devalued not only the money but the numbers in which we count it, then a million million, split between five hundred million citizens is still significantly more than the price of a baguette and a bottle of red wine. isn't it.

I remember hearing JK Galbraith growling that the then North Seal Oil bonanza should have been used to give every man and woman in the UK. fifty grand, to use as they wished; some would have been pissed away but into the conomy, nonetheless, but some would have been put to the production of more money, which is man's primary purpose.

But it is obvious that it would be improper for all to share in national treasures, I mean, how would rich people manage to exploit poor people,if there weren't any poor people, they'd have to take it to the European Court, I suppose, insist on their God-given right to have more survival tickets than other people.

And of course, the fly shitting in my ointment is that ordinary people simply cannot be trusted to use money sensibly, which is why banks came into being and why we must guard against other people luring our bankers away from us, the banker's bonus, in short, tax-free, preferably, is the only thing keeping Equality's wolf from the door, the only thing saving us from the ravages of a decent standard of living.

call me ishmael said...

Dudes and nations are different entities and it is not only mistaken but immoral to see them as the same, whole populations should not be beggared by the actions of their own or anyone else's parasite elite, especially when the supposed debt can be as easily magicked-away as it was borrowed into existence; all this e-shitmoney is just electronic feudalism, wherein ours is theirs. Fuck the nasty little tyrant, Osborne and his robber barons. I owe nothing to anybody, anywhere. You accept a deficit if you want, ms suki; I take no part in international usury and I'm fucked if I'll worry myself about it. C'mon, Ajax, c'mon Achilles, c'mon Socrates and kick these fuckers up the arse.

mongoose said...

Everybody played their parts today, I see.

Mike said...

Mr I: this is what Asutralia did after The Great Crisis of 2008. Every Aussie was given $1000 by the Govt. People like me just put it in the bank; some used it to pay off existing debt; most of the spending was on drugs and gambling. I think the general consensus was that it was not a very efficient way to boost the economy.

The other thing the Govt did was spend like mad on infrastructure. A lot of builders got rich very quickly.

Anonymous said...

Sure, I'm immoral. But I am in good company here.


call me ishmael said...

Isn't our government now including drugs and prostitution in our growth figures, mr mike? And a thousand dollars per head isn't the sum suggested by the trillion Euro QE innovation.

I heard something very interesting, a while ago, on this subject. Part of the increase in UK growth is caused by some billions of pounds entering the economy via the banks' compensation payments to customers mis-sold payment protection insurance. Surpising that Dave&Co haven't weighed-in against compensation culture, like they do. But then we will find that we are actually compensating the banks for them compensating us; how could we not?

call me ishmael said...

Which parts were these, mr mongoose, everybody Winstoning their arses off or everybody trying get a rise from the Battered Professor? That's all the news I've consumed so far, today.

You know how you often repine that you have lived too long, well, I am Winstoned-out, Auschwitzed-out; the NewPeople will make of it all what they are told to make of it all, essentially, on balance and in a very real sense, hopefully.

Mike said...

As you say Mr I a trillion ain't what it used to be.

Thats only 3000 per person in the EZ. More than we did is Aus ($1000), but of the same order of magnitude - but then there was no need to do it here. No Aussie banks were in trouble and the economy was still growing. Daft really.

I read today that the Greek finance minister (who incidentally lived in Sydney for 12 years, so he's used to the easy life) is refusing to talk to the self-appointed "troika". Its going to get ugly.

mongoose said...

The two principals at least, Mr Ishmael, the ever-so-sensible Dutch guy and the sticking-to-his-guns Greek. I am not sure that it was all just theatre that the Dutchman was annoyed, and even somewhat startled, to be told to bugger off home as they had nothing to say to the Troika or its message boy.

It's a high stakes game now. The pressure - between now and the next deadline day - will be remorselessly cranked up on the poor Greeks. Christ, I wouldn't put anything past any of them this next fortnight or so. Oil turned off, imports stopped... Every legal trick and more than that to get them to buckle under. Of course, when you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose.

yardarm said...

As Mr Mongoose said, the Greeks are in a very strong position: they owe so much they have the EU by the balls and if the Spanish, Italians and Irish grew enough balls the whole thing could come down like a rotten shed.

Not here of course, all the filthsters are bankster quislings and too many people love the lash of Gideon`s austerity whip or the thrill when others are bedroom taxed, food banked or tipped out of their wheelchairs.

Merkel could find bankster puppet Wysteria Dave her last ally, maybe the EU will unravel beyond Poundland Nige`s dreams. I also can`t see how this will end well.

If Bad Vlad`s on the ball he`ll buy up the Greek debt, offer them a million years to pay it back, whatever, then tell the troika to come and negotiate with him. Christ, the sewers in Berlin, Brussels and London will back up as every filthster, bureaucrat and bankster voids their bowels in terror.

call me ishmael said...

I read in Private Eye, some years ago, that Beardy Branson was in that position, that he owed so much money that he held all the cards, they couldn't touch him, really, and so they coined newer, cleaner, friendlier words for bankruptcy and found innovative approaches to fleecing and overcharging ordinary, small customers, increasing their own bonuses and giving Beardy more money. I think this was before he was licensed to rob the British travelling public, sorry, I mean invest heavily in a modern travel infrastructure, out of the goodness of his patriotic, non-dom heart, the filthy slimeface.

The Daily Mailers are, indeed, a caution, mr yardarm, stupider in their way than the McKenzieites; do they really think, fulminating about the poor, that the lash will not fall, in turn, on their shoulders? I believe they do think that once the poor have been shut up in the workhouse, the sick forced to confront and rectify their helplessness; all the nignogs sent back home that they, the deserving, will have the very best social and health care, the very best pensions and a service infrastructure run entirely for the benefit of people like themselves by kindly and principled America corporations. Just like Winston would have wanted for them. Only he wouldn't.

I have been wondering, too, about Vlad and about the Chinks, especially the Chinks, they have all the money don't they, own all the debt, anyway, same thing. Why don't one or both just buy up the Greek stuff? Obama is heavily militarising the Pacific, hoping to do he same in India, why shouldn't the others buy a stake in the Med and the blue Aegean?

call me ishmael said...

One you might not know, mr mongoose:

Gentlemen, he said, I don't need your organisation, I've shined your shoes, moved your mountains and marked your cards, but Eden is burning, either brace yourself for elimination - or your hearts must have the courage for the changing of the guards.

I went off the Dutch. Rembrandt and Vermeer are a long way down the line and one of the sorriest, shit- assed, pussywhipped betrayals of modern times was the Dutch, clogging their arses away from Srebrenica, it was blood curdling. Since then, for some reason, always seems to be some shiny Dutch cunt fronting-up NATO's latest extra-legal venture, demanding more weapons with which we can police and punish ourselves. At least the Greeks fought the Nazis, didn't they, helping blow-up the guns at Navarone, with Gregory Peck.

I was out on the isle of Hoy, one day, giving a tour to the father of a friend, we were at the Martello Tower and barracks, and we got talking to one of those old Orkney bachelors, in his thick, blue boilersuit. The military buildings were on his land and he acted as a voluntary custodian and guide - they are amazing, by the way, if you're ever on Hoy - and he kindly spoke to us for ages about the historical purpose of the tower and of routine life in the barracks and the magazines and lockers, I fully expected to see Sharpe and his riflemen come marching round the corner, singing o'er the hills and across the main, to Flanders, Portugal and Spain. He spoke for a good while, anyway, and it seemed he'd lived all his life on this strange, brooding island.

Miles, who, having a daughter in LA, considered hinself part of the international Jetset said, Not travelled much then?

Ah, travel. No, I dinnae travel. Well, not unless you count the war, d'ye ken? I fought in North Africa, agin Rommell. An' I was in Palestine. An' I was in Italy. An' Greece, fightin' the Nazis. Wi' the partisans, ken? Mercy me, they were bold fighters, communists, ken, but great, great fighters, those lads. Aye, an' lassies, ken? They had lassies, too, fighting. An' when the war was over, ken, I cam hame tae Hoy, where else wid I go?

Miles, so smooth, so urbane, came away with a different understanding of travel. I think we might, I hope we do come away from this time with a different understanding of the Greeks. And of ourselves, cowering, here, sad believers in our own fault, our own need to be punished, S&M Britain.

Bungalow Bill said...

Beautiful idea about Bad Vlad, Mr Yardarm. I see Bootface says she's having none of it - but "not envisaging any further debt cancellation" isn't at all the same as not envisaging the grand fudge predicted by Mr Mongoose.

Interesting times though, just wish I could believe that these fuckers are really on the run.

call me ishmael said...

It already is ugly, mr mike, I suggest; no jobs, slashed wages, asset-stripping and, thinking about it, since these comments, How bad can it get, before Vlad, quite properly intervenes, on humanitarian grounds, as he would put it, to avert an (in)humanitarian disaster, all those words which we use so freely, he can use them, too.

call me ishmael said...

The tiniest events can bring cataclysm, mr bungalow bill, and renewal. I think I'll email Greece, with some kind words. Why doesn't Ed Miliband, eh

call me ishmael said...

Yes, just google contact Greek Embassy, London and select political section. They are all probably still members of l'ancien regime but I suppose anything which counters the obedientiarists' theme of Oh, fuck me, bad debtors, run a mile, quick, can't do any harm.

The Global Kleptocracy will be employing thousands of hacks and trolls to blackguard Greece, still, they know best, eh, a man must pay his bankers their due. Even when it isn't.

Bungalow Bill said...

Have just done it actually, a short message of good cheer. Made me feel better. Yes, what a chance for Miliband, his cowardice and stupidity, though wholly predictable, are a disgrace.

call me ishmael said...

Made me feel better, too.

Viewed through any prism, left or right; judged by reason or emotion; as husband, son, brother or comrade, Ed Miliband is mere slimeface. No use mourning the Labour Party - prancing, twittering; thieves, warmongers, pimps, ponces and slags, 'twas they, in service of themselves, brought us here. Fitting, in a way, that their last, lost leader is Ed Miliband, worse, in his way, than Gnasher, Nick, Dave and Sid are in theirs.

I said, a few months ago, that I would not mention him again, it's just that here was a chance for even a once-socialist party to speak out against cruel Austerity and for revived Optimism and cowering, he ran from it.

mongoose said...

Nope, got that one too, Mr I. Yet another of the ones that one plays a couple of tracks before flipping it over for another one or two. Senor was worth starting the other side for but precious little else.

I see Angela is on the radio shouting "Nein! Nein!" - but only to any cencellation of the debt. b) and c) will be invoked to destroy the debt but only if the Spanish stay in their hutch for a few weeks. Otherwise an example must be made.

call me ishmael said...

Some great words in Senor. Can ya tell me where we're headin', Lincoln County Road or Armageddon? It was a battle, I believe, in the Civil War, Lincoln County Road. And Let's overturn these tables, disconnect these cables, this place don't make sense to me no more. And, Their hearts're as hard as leather, gimme a minute, lemme get it together......

If term of loan and interest rate are negotiable isn't this just debt cancellation by another name and if they do formally cancel the debt, what's to stop them just printing more money and paying themselves back? Tell me that, somebody, please.

yardarm said...

It is possible, just possible that the Greeks might just be the uranium pellet that generates critical mass. We could had a Euro spring of telling the austerity fetishists where to stick their bastard cuts, everyone realising the Emperor doesn`t have a fucking stitch, as Mr Mongoose said.

What is more likely is that there`ll be a counter attack by the chair polishers with even more austerity. For us. For filthsters and MediaMinsters around the world have successfully weaponised the Great Tits Up and fired it at us; class war and social engineering, cloaked as austerity.

Their foolish collaborators, Mr Ishmael, the Daily Mailers and Filthographers, puce with indignation and not having the guts or brains to realise who is really responsible for this shit blame those whose ranks they could so easily join. Illness, bereavement, redundancy, a host of factors beyond their control could deposit them among those they label the feckless, the underclass, the workshy, the scroungers, those dependent on ' entitlements ' or handouts '. They`re in for a shock when they feel Gideon`s whip across their back.

Miliband, the pathetic fool hasn`t guts or imagination either, to ride, to generate, an anti austerity wave. I think he`s bottled it, realised he ain`t man enough to run a parish council. The most relieved ' man ' in the country after he`s lost the election to the Top Hatters will probably be himself.

SG said...

But where is the money to 'end the austerity' to come from? There is no 'magic money'. What is being extended is more credit - ergo more debt. Somewhere, somehow, someone pays & it won't be the bankers (whether they take a so-called haircut or not - Syriza simply propose to transfer their 'credit card' debt onto the shoulders of someone else's taxpayers). Doubtless some of it will find its way back to the good old British taxpayer and / or 'consumer' in some form or other.

The Greek state is bankrupt by any measure you care to use (and so, for that matter, is ours...). Expenditure vastly outstrips revenues resulting in borrowing to fund consumption (a pay day loan economy) and 'on paper' liabilities exceed assets by orders of magnitude.

The problem is that we (the collective 'we' of the so-called 'West') have not been operating properly functioning market economies. Instead a deviant 'quasi-fascist' economic system has arisen in which profits are distributed to the controlling interests (big business and the big state) while losses are distributed to current and future taxpayers (all state debts are simply deferred taxation). This is what Max Keiser bangs on about (no 'lefty' he for all the 'Occupy' talk...).

For markets to function well they need strong regulation and the strongest agency in this should be the competition authorities whose mission should be to prevent the formation of the sort of oligopolies and monopolies that Marx warned about and that currently represent existential threats to national and international security - political as well as economic (the so-called  'too big to fail' outfits - they are the corrupt 'Heart of Darkness' in this system along with their cronies in the big state). Clearly the current competition regime has failed and is unfit for purpose (not surprisingly since it is operated by the aforementioned controlling interests).

Fundamental reform is needed at every level, particularly the re-introduction of the idea that it is the investor that takes the risk as well as the rewards rather than offloading the former onto the taxpayer whilst pocketing the latter.

I doubt anyone in the 'Troika' really believes that the Greeks will repay even a fraction of their 'credit card bill' but who wants to tell that to North European taxpayers, investors and savers (who will continue to pay for all this shit - the barber awaits them - us - and he is brandishing a 'number one')?

I don't like Syriza, far left firebrands or socialist solutions but I see opportunity, light at the end of the tunnel for the Greeks, in all this but I'll post something on this later. The battery is running out and food and wine beckon.

Mike said...

If you haven't see it:

This bloke is impressive.

I wanted to slap the woman for keep interrupting.

He's right: whats been happening in Greece and elsewhere is the problem not the solution.

Anonymous said...

I hate Van Morrison, the fat hat-wearing bastard. He would make a good headline if his minibus was damaged in an attempted theft , ie "Van's van handle vandal scandal" but that's it.
Christy Moore as a musician Is as much above Van the Man as a swiss army knife is above a chewed lollipop stick. Plus Van's an ignorant prick, I know the guy that organises his private planes. I would kick VTM up the hole, if it wasn't illegal, in payment for"Inarticulate speech of the heart" which I foolishly bought. What a talentless fucker he is.

call me ishmael said...

Greece won't trigger critical mass, here, mr yardarm, all the stupidities you list, added to racism, Otherism and some bizarre confusion between national and household finance will keep working class John Bullers from supporting their natural allies, their natural comrades.

Paddy, though, and Miguel and Silvio, they might kick off. Dunno about Sinn Fein, what they might do, they are fuckwits and their top men are all well sorted, moneywise, very well sorted, especially since all the ones I knew, back in the day, were devout Marxists. The average Paddy, surely to Christ, can have no faith in Brussels, in Angula and Christine, can he?

Gnasher is supposed to be socialist but I can't see her supporting a FuckOffSpring, between them Mrs and Mr Gnasher will be happy little ugly millionaires, not gonna be too keen on taking to the barricades, Tommy Sheridan destroyed the hard Left in Scotland, who does that leave us but George Showniz, and he's, deservedly, a laughing stock. Can't see it happening here. And if the youth take to the streets they'll be jailed in some MickeyMouse all-night court, like last time. And serve 'em right, criminals, stealing stuff, whoodtheythinktheyare, Royalty?

A lot of people are mad about fracking but that's a safe little protest, won't translate to a revolution and the NewPeople, all it takes is for there to be launched a new i-thing and they'll be wetting themselves, slavish consumption's the only direct action they understand.

As I said at the top, these ARE the days, if only they could be seized, if only people could keep their eyes wide.The chance won't come again..

Your passion however. mr yardard, always heartens me and, I am sure, others.

call me ishmael said...

Not entirely, mr richard, there is some blessed artistry among the Vanisms. I used to make your argument against my late brother, a Vanista, and every one of them words rang true; Cypress Avenue, however, Healing has Begun, Lost Dreams in America and These Are The Days, there are probably a few others, these are ensemble pieces tres spirituelle, maybe just a studio coincidence but they always move me. As I said, I consider him most over-rated but every dog has his day. Inarticulate Soeech Of The Heart, title like that, whaddayaexpect.

I have listened to. fair bit of Christy Moore and I think he has, what was it I said, about Bob, I think his trajectory has overshot his merit. There was a good one, an age ago, Wise Christian Brothers, one about Don't forget Yer Shovel, Nancy Spain, I enjoyed that a lot but recently he seemed to overstretch his vocal and instrumental limits, doing things like Richard Thompson songs, which he can neither play nor sing. And I would walk over ten thousand Christy Moore albums to hear a few bars of Paul Brady,as you probably know.

Never heard of Sammy? I was hoping you would have.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mr I, I think he was before my time. First single I ever bought was "Since you've been gone" by Rainbow. Thanks for steering me to the incredible string band, sheer delight, but Sam Mahood is too much archaeology for me.
"Dah da da Dumm, dee dee da Dah - I get the same old dream, same time every night"
seems like yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Do it with your credit card debt. Ask for a copy of the "actual accounting" plus a contract with two wet signatures. These documents will not be fothcoming because they don't exist. No credit card company has this because they put your agreement on the books as worth whatever the credit limit is. The money they advance to your card is generated by your agreement and costs them nothing. It is produced from thin air. I had a £16k debt five years ago and stopped paying. The only difference from the first letters to those they now send me is that the threats have turned to "please contact us..." But if there's no proof of claim they can do nowt.

mongoose said...

Perhaps there oughta be a law - anyone is allowed five albums and then it's off to night school for compulsory retraining as a plasterer's apprentice or similar. It would save all the unpleasant wringing out of a new work every year whether the poor bloody muse is exhausted or not.

We might even find a parallel arrangement for politicians, like the Cousins and their two terms.

call me ishmael said...

mr richard, Mike Heron, of the IBS, did a couple of great solo albums, Smiling Men With Bad Reputations and Diamond of Dreams, both are more rock than worldfolk, more urban, even Glam, he had a tremendous rock band. Diamond of Dreams, Do It Yourself, Residential Boy, Singing The Dolphin Through, I think they are on youtube and the albums are available from his website, they'll make you smile.

I had a similar experience with Amex, years back; they were acting outrageously and I told them to take me to court where I would counterclaim, they didn't.

Best thing of course is not to use corporate credit, easy said, I know, but potential customers should simply reflect that the only way that these usurers make money is from those who can't make the monthly clearance payment, they want you to be struggling to repay the money advanced. Sensible people, who clear the debt every month, well, they're no good to Barclaycard.

call me ishmael said...

It is only two terms for Protus, though, isn't it, the rest of the filth are there for life and it is now as dynastic as the House of Battenberg - the Kennedys, the Clintons, the Bushbastards.

You are right, though, about the Trajectory of Merit conundrum. i like and admire Richard Thompson but the half dozen albums I own are quite enough, he's hard work.

There was a BBC4 show about the symphonic composers, last night, Haydn wrote a hundred, Mozart forty-odd and Beethoven nine (and a half;) imteresting for those who didn't already know that but proof, in my opinion, that less is more. I saw Haydn's Creation, a while back, and I thought it his only work which even approached a Beethoven quartet, much less one of his symphomies. I never heard any Haydn from which I shrank, it's all very nice but...y'know. Volume of output is no guarantee of quality. And if it wasn't for showbusiness, those who name themselves Artist would know that.

call me ishmael said...

Well, I agree with almost all of that, mr sg. Your puzzlement, however, as to where the money will come from and your denial of magicked money contradict everything else in your comment.

Maybe there is no return to regulated capitalism; maybe it did eat itself and if it did, what's to be done?

Well I'm fucked if I know.

What I do know is that They all laughed at Christopher Columbus.....they told Marconi, wireless was a phoney....they all laughed at Wilbur and his brother, when they said that man could fly....and so on.

Once, the world was definitely flat; once, slavery was the only conceivable economic system; once, the authorities said that even if the world was not at the centre of the universe, actually it was; once, only priests could read the Bible and once, recently, women couldn't vote but they could be paid less than men for the same work. The same people as enforced all this atrocity, mr sg, they're the same people as those who now screech that Austerity is the only Remedy, that, should the fucking sky fall, usury gangsters must have their pound of flesh.

It may help if we call money what it actually is, survival tickets, and if we call the stock market what it now is, a rigged casino where the house always wins. In this situation the odds are rigged so that the casino owners acquire infinitely more survival tickets than they could ever exchange for survival, whilst most have only barely sufficient survival tickets and many have none at all. That is not a system worth maintaining for one more second. Money, instead of evening-out the irregularities of barter, has massively distorted human potential and endangered planetary preservation merely in order for a tiny, tiny number of unpleasant people to steal from the rest of us. But you know all this, mr sg, so why do you worry about so-called money? If there arises a global rejection of the money system, that will be good, not bad and anything which undermines GlobaCorp, anything, is to be welcomed.

I see on RT, the noo, as well as the repulsive farce that is George Galloway, reporting of a massive, left-wing rally in Madrid, shouting Bollocks at Austerity. Ole!

call me ishmael said...

I will have to look at that later, mr mike, the ouijapad won't let me cut and paste, as well as much else, in Blogger.

Mike said...

Maybe Marx was right when he said that capitalism would sow the seeds of its own destruction.

mongoose said...

More austerity in attendance to a 25% fall in Greek GDP - nervously mirrored by a 25% unemployment rate - is burning down the house to save on roofing costs. And it is all to save the Euro. The notion that I - or anyone - should be enslaved to the debt consequences of some outlandish political project is bollocks. And just because it may be the law or may be treaty does not make it morally transferrable to me. Not in my fucking name. And I believe I may have mentioned, even here, some long time ago that the Euro was a bastard child. So this isn't hindsight.

And so what is real money and what is not. And the truth is that end-user money is money and the rest is just electronic chains for biomechanical slaves. And the Euro was the most fantastic set of chains ever envisaged. It was supposed to weld the whole of Europe together forever in irreversible complexity. It was a mechanism for the political powers-that-be to enforce their arranged marriage upon the continent. This is not a morally enforceable bargain - cetainly not in Greece, or Spain, or Ireland, or Portugal. None of those countries was ever in a shape to really make the Euro work as their own currency. They were hookered in - bought in with bribes highlighting their own relative poverty compared to northern Europe. And now that economic circumstances have tested the stupidity of the idea, well, it is time say "Fuck 'em".

call me ishmael said...

Amen to that, comrade mongoose but it was not just the Euro; the banking collapse, too, was rooted in the same strategy of hookering-in and capturing people who would never be able to repay their loan or mortgage and then, madness of madnesses, selling-on those bad debts, as though they were, as in old capitalism, valuable goods or services, these "products" were then purchased by supposedly canny fund managers with the result that many, especially in the States, have lost their pensions completely, many have lost their homes, many have lost their jobs, all, save the wealthy, have seen wages tumble and prices rise; despite this world-wide criminal larceny, enough of mr yardarm's puce-faced indignantistas, stupid fucking bastard morons - the Education Act wasted on them - are happy to blame the poor, as though they were to blame. And now, every man woman and child in Greece is said to owe organised crime £35,000, in payment for their hunger and unemployment. Not in my fucking name, either, mr mongoose and anyone, the Nazis-lite, who would piously beggar their neighbour and his kids, mouthing, Oh, well, I pay my debts, a debt is a debt, reveals not only their own wretchedness but their inability to find the hole in their own arses. With both hands.

call me ishmael said...

As you know, mr mike, I describe myself as a Zen-Presbyterian-Marxist: shit happens; take what you have and give it to the poor and workers of the world, unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains.

I am not smart enough, however, to understand Marxism, all I know is that some of his writings have now become slogans because they do express almost scriptural truths. That capitalism contains within it the seeds of its own destruction is, I think, an axiom which is now demonstrated vividly. If the future of the planet and its seven billion souls is to be determined by the greed of a rotten handful, then, as capitalism eats itself, we must wish it bon appetit.

mongoose said...

We're not looking at capitalism, mr Ishmael, or even the consequences of it in Greece. This is politics. And btw the ordinary capitalist people of the land in Germany have paid, and are paying, an appalling price for this folly.

Now, should the banks have had to burn their bad paper all those years ago, and to have taken the capitalist consequences? Yes, they should. Would depositors deposits have been "lost"? Yes - because they had already gone. And they won't be back. And would the game have been up? Yes. That would have been capitalism.

call me ishmael said...

And so say all of us. This is not capitalism, with which we had made some regulatory accommodation, this is larceny and only politics in the sense that the politicans are accomplices before and after the fact. Gordon Snot should have done as you say and let capitalism run its risky course; when I was in business I might, some days, have lost our home, piffling overdrafts being secured against it, my risk. Snotty and Balls assured Globacorp that it faced none of the risks attendant upon capitalism, shame on them.

SG said...

I completely agree with the last two posts. That is the root of the problem. Under a genuinely competitive market system poor decision-making is rewarded by failure. Under the system that now pervades much of the global economy, poor decision making is rewarded with bonuses paid to the 'top teams' of enterprises that are manifestly failing, corrupt or, as in the case of the so-called 'Zombie Banks', even insolvent - with the tax payer stumping up for all the losses arising from incompetence and recklessness.

By the way, I see no contradiction in my initial question Mr I, which was intended as a rhetorical one that I later answer, or the comment about 'magic money' - the point being that we cannot continue to expand indebtedness indefinately without consequence (whether that be for the debtor or more likely those who are currently forced to underwrite the so-called creditors as Mr Mongoose points out so clearly).

Regarding the plight of the Greeks, as far as I can see membership of the euro is a debtors prison for them. No doubt the Greeks have behaved irresponsibly with their euro-credit card but so too have those that gave it to them (a proper enquiry into the circumstances of Greece's admission to the euro needs to be carried out and, where malfeasance has occurred, those responsible brought to book in some form or other).

My preference would be to see the Germans and other strong eurozone economies to leave the euro, as the Swiss have effectively just done by unpegging the S.Fr. from the euro and allowing their currency to rise. Greece, and the other 'Club Med' countries desperately need to devalue and have long past the point where this can realistically be achieved by the internal mechanisms favoured by Frau Merkel et al (which have resulted in massive  economic contraction and mass unemployment). However this seems unlikely to happen, in which case Greece should exit the euro. If it did I doubt that it would be long before the other 'Club Med' economies followed suit.

As for the Greek debt burden, clearly this needs to be substantially relieved - though perhaps not written off in its entirety (a mix of severe 'hair cuts' and maybe some 'debt for equity' swaps). If this cannot be agreed then the Greeks should simply default on all or part of the debt - my guess is that de facto this will happen anyway as they will simply reach the point where they can't pay.

Whatever scenario plays out, much of the Greek population will continue to face extreme privation and hardship but if they can externally devalue they will at least have a chance to get their economy growing again. The light at the end of the tunnel for them is that all of this shit is also an opportunity. An opportunity to rebuild their economy and society from the ground up. There are already signs of this happening in all sorts of ways from individual acts of kindness and charity through to entire communities sticking their fingers up at the eurocrats, bankers, taxman et al by establishing their own markets and mediums of exchange that allow goods and services to be traded between individuals without so much as a cent changing hands. There is hope in these small green shoots.

mongoose said...

I apologise for a Johnny-late comment but...

"However, Wolfgang Schäuble, his German counterpart, maintained that Greece must be held responsible for its own problems, saying: “We have to appreciate their efforts and their situation, and above all we have to appreciate the progress that has been achieved in Greece over recent years. At the same time, however, we must say that the reasons, the cause for the difficult journey to be undertaken by Greece, that the reason for this is to be found in Greece, and not outside Greece, and definitely not in Germany.”

It has been decided that the cabin-boy can, and indeed must, be eaten.

call me ishmael said...

A favourite of yours, mr mongoose, the edible cabin-boy. Yes, I heard it and thought much the same. Also heard how the German people would not tolerate being blackmailed. Good for them, eh?