Next album progressing well

The next album is really coming together now.  Over the last few weeks we’ve been adding in instrumentation on top of the foundations of drums, bass and guitar.

 

There’s a little bit of mandola in places, some violin and some great hammond.   It’s been a pleasure to work with such great musicians.  There are some seriously talented people out there, in fact, really lucky to get them.  Bass and drums were provided by Rex Horan and Evan Jenkins who play with the jazz genius that is Neil Cowley.   I managed to get Rich Milner off tour with James Morrison and play some hammond and wurlie and then virtuoso violinist Georgina Leach who plays with Seasick Steve when he’s touring in the UK.  To be honest man, my job is, firstly, to deliver a performance in the studio that is up there with their performance.  I’ve been working hard…  So a few more things to consider in terms of instrumentation, some strings in places, and then we’ll be into final mixing.   You know some songs can be with you a long time and you can remember where you were when you wrote them and it’s great to think about where they came from and then see them taking their place on the new album…

 

The year that was… Happy 2013

Time for a quick review, so in no particular order

 

Jessica

We all struggled through and continued to pay the price of banker failures

Government told examiners how to mark exam papers

Facebook went public and immediately lost millions for millions

The Queen was impressed by a hula hooping Grace Jones

Games makers all made us smile

Mitt Romney admitted to a little gay bashing in his younger days

The Suni and Shia continued their battles – same as it ever was

Syria planted landmines on its border…to stop its enemies getting out…

An English businessman was killed in mysterious circumstances in China

Julian Assange hid out in an embassy

There was talk of building pavements in the sky or ‘skyways’ for cyclists

Panorama falsely accused a politician of molesting children

MPs claimed expenses for second houses for their mistresses

I released the single “Don’t Ask Why”

Cover for "Don't Ask Why"

Oracle said that the world is running out of space for all its data

England reduced the New Zealand rugby team to just another team

Iran talked about nuclear deterrents in order to go nuclear

Felix Baumgartner fell to earth very very fast

Ash trees were reduced to ashes

More soldiers died for nothing in Afghanistan

Peter Higgs discovered the future

Less people applied to university

Hillsborough victims got their justice, a bit of a shock for Boris Johnson…

A new governor was appointed to the Bank of England from Canada… and Goldman Sachs

Ex Goldman Sachs technocrats ran European economies… for the benefit of themselves… but mostly Goldman Sachs

Argentina seized back its oil resources, Ecuador seized back its national grid, Putin went after Russia’s oil

The paralympians inspired so that the disabled went from being seen as sub-human to superhuman

For a few weeks the UK became a different country called Olympia where we all talked to each other for a while

The Olympians were heroes, heroes to the last

The son of India’s President called anti-rape protesters “dented and painted”

We missed the inflation target as if it ever was one

Boris Johnson invited over more bankers from France because we need more of them obviously

George Osborne made things worse as he always has and extended the recession

Bosses mumbled about values at Davos and then went back to the day job

The right wing press continued their sycophantic support of the right wing

The right wing continued their sycophantic support of the right wing press

Cameron abandoned a few ministers and policies as usual

Hockney had a successful run at the Royal Academy with his tablet paintings

The album “Fire in the doll’s house” received 4 stars in Guitarist and Q magazine

Fire in the doll's house

The banks and lobbyists continued to revise history to say it was all our fault and exonerate themselves of any blame… or involvement…they weren’t there in fact

Danny Alexander was a worry…is a worry

Fuel edged up towards £1.50 a litre and society became a little less mobile

The church remained in the dark ages and shunned women for another 3 years

Osborne nicked the Royal Mail pension fund for £35bn

Cameron kept on rambling on about dementia…

Andy Murray lost and cried at Wimbledon, so cometh the man

England attempted to play football at the Euros

Spain played football at the Euros

The suicide rate in Greece rocketed

Banks got away with murder for another year

The financial markets continued to prey on nations in financial difficulties

Pay day loans companies thrived like vultures over a wildebeest massacre

Rupert Murdoch was the acid in the blood as usual

Rebecca Brooks was unrepentant like the cold-hearted bitch that she is

Charlie Brooks fired a warning shot at the PM about tennis shots with the PM

A former TV presenter who used to fulfill children’s dreams turned out to have fulfilled children’s nightmares

Osborne called green campaigners the environmental Taliban

Scientists estimated that Antarctica is warming twice as fast as expected

The world population was 7.06 billion

We all learned a bit more about something called “Libor”

Hollande arrived in France

Nick Clegg said sorry

There was a lot of hot air over wind farms

Hurricane Sandy blew away hurricane Romney

Kids were blown away like a hurricane in Sandy Hook

News International was found to have had a blackmail team to ‘out’ politicians

Bob Diamond paid the price of illegally fixing the price in spite of calling everyone by their first name and declaring his love for Queen and company…

The Prudential threatened to leave the UK because of new rules they don’t like

Banks and insurance companies quietly bought water companies

Wheat and commodities traders (bankers) quietly bought wheat and commodities companies to control the food supply and own Africa and the world

Tony Blair brokered a merger between two major commodities traders so they can have even more control of the food supply and own Africa and the world

Tony Blair made a lot of money and went on about his philanthropy in Africa whilst at the same time aiding Africa’s downfall

China and Japan disputed some islands

George Entwistle was new DG of the BBC for about 3 months

Head of BP Bob Dudley, said casually that the world has enough oil reserves for the next 54 years…then what…

14 protected and endangered one-horned rhinos died in floods in India

Sir John Gurdon turned all cells into stem cells and was duly awarded a Nobel

The Nobel Peace prize went to the European Union…

Christies had a bumper year

Most people got poorer

Government said it can cut £4bn by cutting disability allowances

Government bank bailouts recently estimated at £700bn, half national debt

Interest on national debt approximately £50bn

George Osborne made things worse as ever

5000 tigers were estimated to exist in the wild

Mr. MacAfee went on the run

Sainsbury’s said that carrots on the shelves will be ‘uglier’ than normal

A women died of hunger in Uganda

Chavez remained in power

Many in the UK slid silently into fuel poverty

Many in the UK slid silently into poverty

Alcohol related offenders were told they would wear bracelets to monitor alcohol levels, the first personal black box, next will be an implant

The Olympics were awesome

Sideburns made a comeback

Arise Sir Bradley

People made heart shapes with their fingers and thumbs

Seb Coe brought home the gold…again

The Olympics was lit up by a Bolt not from the blue

A man called Mo lifted his arms and lifted the nation

A sailor got angry, people howled at the Weirwolf, rowers wept and Jessica smiled and cried and smiled

Andy Murray won at last

Swedish House Mafia broke up, the Stones kept on going

Some European golfers made an impossible comeback

Starbucks were busted, as was Google and Amazon and Facebook…

The Standard blamed the last government

The Standard blamed the eurocrisis on protesters and strikers

The Standard won Boris Johnson the mayoral election

Boris Johnson thanked the Standard for its ‘sterling work’

Rail fares went up, gas bills went up, electricity bills went up, council tax went up, food went up, water bills went up, airfare tax went up, car insurance went up

Most things…went up… incomes went down – something’s wrong there

High street shops closed down

It was almost £100 to fill an average car

Andy Murray won at last in America!

James Mini Murdoch quietly went back onto the board at BSkyB

Admiralty Arch went up for sale along with other bits of Britain, like rivers

HSBC was done for money laundering

Andy Haldane of the Bank of England said that Occupy had a point…

A US republican congressman stated categorically the world is 9000 years old

Arts were removed from the national curriculum

Students sold their faces for advertising

Apprenticeships programmed launch to make more lawyers and accountants

Tory funder and tax exile $Lord$ Ashcroft said we should stop giving to the third world

Barak Obama remained in power

Rihanna sang with David Guetta, Adele sang with passion and pain, Ravi stopped playing and the Stones played on

Bond was back

The Sunday Times said of me, “The protest singer has a pulse again”

The last shuttle was towed through LA streets

Lance Armstrong, if things seem too good to be true….

Blood proved thicker than water, gold proved thicker than blood, but love proved thicker than gold

What a year…

 

Here’s wishing you a great 2013.   Peace and joy to all.  Tom

 

 

 

Honey for the bees

Honey for the bees

 

It is the day after the budget, well the Autumn Statement, and what can I say.  Without going into the details one can say that this statement is more to do with the character of the man as oppose to the character of the politics.  I have always worried about him.  He seems someone who delights in deceit, revels in his power to dish out bad news, loves the fact he has risen to such lofty heights…if we can call a senior politician that.    He is both superior and inferior and that makes him a very dangerous man.   It is they who, given other circumstances, made up the henchman of the Reich, those zealots who saw their actions as a necessary evil and in fact most probably not evil, just necessary.  And so we see it with this Autumn Statement and the Tory line of being prepared to make the ‘tough decisions.’  Not so tough in reality, a simple and very ‘public hanging of the public’ and, as is always the case, a measure of demonizing sections of society in order that the ‘rabble’ turn on their own.   It was a statement about shirkers and skivers, and workers and strivers.    There were those that should be rewarded for getting up and going to work and those lazy leeching neighbors who were still in bed soaking up benefits.    And so benefits were cut although, as is the way of politicians and particularly this one, masquerading as a 1% increase.   That will mean little in an environment of 3% inflation.    For the rest of society, very little, apart from the cancelling of an ill-fated and much lambasted 3p fuel duty.  Crumbs at the table.

And so it is that society continues to pick up the tab for the bankers 5 years on from the financial collapse.  In fact, as if with pride of knowing at least something with some certainty, it was confirmed that austerity, the cause of this prolonged recession, will continue until 2017/18!  Whoo hoo!  Such a fun time to look forward to.   This is not the place to go into the deep social consequences of 10 years of austerity but needless to say society does not fare so well in many of the metrics that measure its health.    One hopes that there will have at least been by then a government change that can see the wood for the trees or the honey for the bees.

 

For now we saw an interpretation of the national economic metrics that surely only he could justify in his very singular mind based on political ambition and his awareness of the tendency for history to only remember the result, not the match.   And so it was that supposedly the national debt was coming down as was the deficit and GDP was going up.  None of this of course tallies with the wealth of statistics published about the health of the economy.  I can only imagine that he has learned, perhaps at school, that if you’re going to tell a lie, make it a big lie and tell it with conviction and without shame – thereby throwing all other commentators into the shadow of doubt.   He may have pulled some rabbits out of the bag with the raiding of the Post Office pension fund for the public purse, the estimated 4G spectrum sell-off income and made-up interest from made-up QE money, but the fear is that temporary plasters only make the infection worse and without deeper and more structural change we will all (well most of us) be suffering for a very long time.

 

 

Rivers of gold

I have to write about this one because this is exactly the kind of thing I fear is the long-term repercussion of the banking crisis and the imbalances in the current economic “arrangement.”   It turns out the government is trying to put the rivers and reservoirs up for sale.   Now that should ring alarm bells immediately.   Imagine who’s going to buy them.   I’m seeing signs next to rivers with JP Morgan on them, or RBS or Goldman Sachs.  Can you imagine the Prudential owning the River Stour?  You can almost imagine the pride in the faces of the Board as they tell people they own the River Avon or the Fleet.  No doubt Lebedev would want to buy the Thames.    One has to ask what bit of the country is not for sale and if everything is for sale and then to what degree does it actually belong to the people anymore.  After all it’s just a question of time which means that fishing, swimming, various pastimes will be at the grace of some ‘charitable’ bank who decides you’re allowed to fish there, or kayak on a Sunday afternoon.

Back to the River “Barclays.”  Two things come to mind and of course the first is, why are they having to sell off water infrastructure?   That’s what rivers is after all, part of the water transport infrastructure.   And of course that brings us back to the banking crisis, the bail out, the doubling of national debt, the blowing up of the deficit etc. etc.  So the crisis the banks caused have forced the sale of national assets to guess who….the banks.     I really would ask you to step back for second and think about what that means and consider to what degree the banks are controlling government.   It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, money talks.   Money really does.   What must the banks have over government?  Is it just party finance or is it actually the threat of abandoning the country or restricting funds to the people.   Don’t think that it doesn’t happen.   I remember once upon a time a technology Chief Executive telling me that if you can imagine it, then one day they’ll do it.   I can’t help believe the same with regards to the goings on in the corridors of power.   I would love to believe that those conversations did not happen, that the Chairman of banks might not sit by the fire with a government official and whisper that certain government action or policy might ‘force our hand’.   But the circumstantial evidence is surely just too strong the deeper you look.   The actions of the government are surely too dictated to be rational, too diluted to be effective, too contrived to be real.   It reminds me of a hostage forced to give a statement to camera in support of their captors gripes.  Oh, the powers that be.   And so it is that the banks get to  have their cake and eat it.

 

Of course the second thing which is just as disturbing is the thought of banks not just controlling our angling pastimes, it’s much more fundamental than that and you know what I’m going to say.   Yeah, they’re going to be in primary control of the water supply and that is fucking scary.    A few years ago Europe had a spat with Russia and just to make a point Russia turned down the tap on the gas supply, just so we remembered who’s who in that particular relationship.    And so it will be that when the government tells the banking industry that they can’t do this or they can’t do that, they might just, for a day or two, quite literally turn off the tap.   And what does that do for the supposed economic democracy we don’t enjoy.

 

Let’s say it’s not banks that buy them, one has to ask who else would.   It can’t be the water companies with their regional monopolies already.    The purpose is after all is to try and create some competition in the water provision market.    Of course the water companies are already saying that it will push up prices because of course it always get passed on to the monopolized consumer.   As such then, this initiative to make the market more competitive will have the exact opposite effect in terms of market pricing than it should do.    And let’s face it, with no limits on price increases, it always would.

 

Reading the article this is actually a case study piece in where we are right now in terms of our economic evolution.  Because the next point that is made is this, “…you continue with s stable, revenue-predictable business which has attracted billions of pounds of investment, or go with a new system based on an untried, abstract economic model.” So says a “water industry executive” …who no doubt won’t be paid his 6-figure bonus if things change.     So what he’s saying is that if there are changed to make the market fairer it will be bad for investors as well as being bad for consumers because they’ll pass on any pain they feel to the customer.   That reads more like a threat than a statement.    That’s what 20 years of running a monopoly does to you.   One thing has always struck me since they were privatized.  How difficult can it be to run a water company!?      So who’s more important, customers or investors?  And there lies the axis of the economic see saw – the people or the money.

 

The argument goes, of course, that in our pension funds are water company shares, at least there should be and we ultimately benefit from those holdings in our retirement.   Somehow it just doesn’t seem to pan out that way though.  I wonder if it’s possible to do the math between the negative effect of a lifetime of over priced water and the contribution of that to your pension fund.   It does not seem a benevolent cycle.     Somehow one feels that somewhere in the system the gains made by pension are not passed pro rated to the pension fund holders.  (They want to make their huge profits not doubt and there are management fees and massive bonuses to pay.)   It’s as if there are leaks in the system…..

 

The greater question has to be though at what point does this kind of company become not able to provide water to everyone or at what point do we say that in this developed society water is a human right?    As prices continue to rise we are going to see people increasingly not being able to afford as much water as they used to, who will shower less, and as difficult as it is to say it, yes, drink less.  And suddenly I am thinking of the way we pay for water.   It’s based on the building, not our actual usage.  So if we try and save water, economise on bath times and cups of tea, we won’t save ourselves anything.  They’ve pulled a very fast one there….!   All our savings efforts just get flushed away!

 

And so it must require a new approach and perhaps we will see some kind of neo nationalization of these industries, not the same as before but definitely a business that is run for the people’s benefit and not just to maximise profits and please shareholders, and not because it is the right to do, it will be the only thing to do.  We must ask the question then what is the company or entity to do that, what kind of hybrid could work?  If it is a hybrid….

 

For now the prospect of a sell off of our rivers fills me with fear.  I love rivers and apart from the economic nightmare of these ever so natural of natural resources falling in to the ownership of bankers I can’t help feeling a sense of the sordid about it, a kind of river pollution not as yet considered but absolutely as or more toxic and damaging to our lives then a leaking sewer…

 

The Times, “Water revolution will sell us down the river, suppliers fear” 24 November 2012

 

25 November 2012

Reasons to be cheerful

Reasons to be cheerful

 

Well finally.  After being derided, written off, deplored, denigrated, and generally slandered by the press and many others it was nice to see some public vindication of our efforts.   Andy Haldane, Executive Director of Financial Stability at the Bank of England, at an event organised by Occupy, argued that actually Occupy were “loud and persuasive” and that the finance sector is now going through the early stages of reformation, a “reformation, which Occupy has helped stir.”   And that we had attracted public support because, in his words, “they are right.”

 

I am happy to hear this because given the events of the last 12 months it would seem imbecilic to argue otherwise.  You would have to be blind not to have seen the various stories unfold that merely confirmed what we had been talking about right at the beginning.  I say this with some confidence on the basis I had quite a lot to do with an ‘initial statement’ published on our website in November last year by the Economics Working Group of Occupy.   In it we talked about making banks accountable for their actions, past and present, we said that austerity was not working and making things worse, we said the current system is unsustainable, that we must tackle systemic economic inequality, clamp down on tax avoidance and put in place tough, independent and effective regulation.  Any of that seem familiar?  I hope I do not need to list the wealth of evidence that has appeared since Occupy started in relation to the above but we only have to think of LIBOR, UK economic performance, shop-less high streets, money laundering, fuel poverty, pay day lending, and a widening of the massive chasm in socio-economic conditions within society.   You would have to be an idiot not to see that, you would have to have the pomposity and disconnection with reality of, let’s say, Boris Johnson not to get it.  You would have to have the depth of thinking of gnat to think that, for example, as he said in Clapham after the riots last year that civil disturbance had “absolutely nothing to do with socio-economic factors.”  He may have used “claptrap.”

 

So I really am glad that someone has, firstly understood the reason for our existence and also given us credit for being right.  We were right then, we are right now.   In terms of recognition, it is a bonus for us but I suspect that others might start to come round to the idea even if they would rather not have to admit they agree with Occupy.  I don’t care.   As long as they do see the need for change, and as long as they demand change as we do…in whatever way they want to express it.

 

I do hope that others, who would not otherwise entertain anything said by a ‘bunch of reprobate protesters’, do now listen carefully to Haldane’s words, perhaps they will feel it will legitimise their own protest on the basis they would never take Occupy’s word for it.   Perhaps they will also join the debate.

 

There are critics that will say he has not gone far enough and that this just scrapes the surface.  However that undermines the change in sentiment marked by such an event that signifies a much much more significant change deep within the financial super-structure, however faint at this time.  We are hearing the first creaking and cracking in the bedrock of the financial system that will in time fracture according to the pressures exerted by society to form a financial system for the benefit of society.  The sooner this happens the better.

 

In terms of Occupy’s strategy, it is a success and a result of an increased focus on outreach, education and positive engagement with other constituents of the greater system to effect a greater change.   Of course there are detractors, some within Occupy, who say we shouldn’t engage with anyone but then again they tend to say that about everything we do.  Instead of positive and progressive change through engagement, it would seem some prefer no change at all, hoping that leads to anarchy and chaos no matter what the societal or environment cost, which I presume they would see as ‘necessary.’   They might say, for example, that we were wrong to do this event but then again they say that about a lot of things a lot of the time.   It’s never easy is it.

 

One has to remember that as well as working together within Occupy and with others to come up with answers and solutions much of what Occupy is about is encouraging and empowering more people to ask the question.   From this comes critical mass, political pressure and behavioural change.  These are the facts, what are you doing to do about? It is interesting that both major parties have talk about responsible or moral capitalism.  It is interesting that Totnes refused Costa because they wanted to keep local money circulating in the local economy.    It is interesting there is a boom in wood burners.  It is interesting that nation states are buying back or seizing power and energy resources.  It is interesting that Anthony Hilton in the Evening Standard, of all places, supports the introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax.  It is interesting a representative from the Bank of England tells Occupy “you are right.” Who’s next?  What’s next?

 

These are all the early signs that signal a huge change in the way we operate.  It’s the little things that signal big positive change.   Reasons to be cheerful, part 1, 2, 3.

The flame still burns

If you’re underwater and you’re trying to make it to the surface, it’s best to keep your mouth shut.   It’s the image that comes to mind when I hear various commentators, journalists, politicians, analysts and the like talking about the latest GDP figures that showed ‘we are out of recession.’   There is talk about the Olympics having ‘kick started’ the economy.  Kick starting would appear to long lasting, as if firing up an old engine and getting it into gear again after having been in neutral for so long.   Never mind that bankers put us into reverse…

And here we are today talking about GDP figures and 1% growth and we have lots people talking about how encouraging that is. The Olympics and Paralympics supposedly generated 0.2% of that and what with the Queen’s jubilee holiday in the last quarter the overall effect is let’s say, 0.2% growth, apparently.  Not staggering.  Yesterday someone from the CBI was on the BBC sofa talking about how this is great news for everyone.  They can be more optimistic based on the good news and go out and spend their money.   That was the message…in so many circuitous words, presumably in the hope that people will actually go out on the streets and spend all the cash that they are ‘going’ to make in the future.   Presume the CBI would like them get a loan from Wonga to help perpetuate the Olympics effect.

It would appear people interviewed on the street beg to differ with the CBI’s optimistic outlook.  It might have something to do with rising travel prices, rising energy bills, further pressure on household budgets.   Maybe they are looking in astonishment as the thoughts of their dwindling savings go through their head and how much closer they are to bankruptcy than they were this time last year.   Oh and btw, for those that have wondered in the past about people supposedly illogically paying off debt in difficult times, it’s the fear of repossession that does it.   It only takes one organization to file for bankruptcy and the rest will come knocking.  It’s the fear of the mountain of debt that you know is there unless you chip it away to at least a manageable level. Otherwise one day you, like a marathon runner, will hit that wall.

I fear that we might well be counting our chickens and as we know neither the banks, the Bank of England or the Government has been shown to be much good at counting anything.   Best suggestion is they keep their ears to the ground and self-congratulatory words to a minimum.  If there are signs of life it has nothing to do with their efforts and more to do with our resilience and determination, traits so exemplified by the athletes that graced these fields over the summer and a fire as hot as the sun that burned within them.   It’s one thing for them to try and talk us out of a recession, it is quite another to get out of it, requiring strength, tenacity, and the courage and bravery of the people, most surely a true Olympian task.

Ransom of the Greeks

Well I wrote about this some time ago but it is not surprising to see comparisons between Greece and 1930s Germany, and no surprise to hear Antonis Samaras say that the cohesion of the Greek society is being threatened “like at the end of the Weimar Republic in Germany.”   And of course there is such an irony in the fact that Germany is portrayed as the villain that is wielding an axe to spending and causing so much hardship for the Greek people.

One has to ask how long this can last.   Yes there is alignment within society, there is bending to the new cold winds.   Grown up children go back to live with parents, family members support others who have not been paid or who now have no work.  The system can give but how far can it bend before it breaks?

Underneath the visible evidence of hardship and pain what cracks and fault lines are appearing in the mantle of Greek society.  If one could look what crevices might one find like the decay underneath a healthy looking tooth.  If one could listen how loud would the creaking be as huge plates of society start to separate.   It is only so long before this stressing and straining starts to show at the surface as a warning sign to an impending social eruption.

The Greeks will admit corruption and that the country was mismanaged however they have also been abused by the financial system and are now being held to ransom, a ransom that in fact they will never be able to pay.  Goldman Sachs orchestrated some of their lending so that they could avoid the usual safety checks to qualify for EU membership years ago.   They are being bailed out but don’t think the money will not be owed to the lenders for decades to come.   The markets have been doing their best to take advantage of their terrible predicament by forcing their 10-yr government bond prices up to 7% – beyond which it becomes technically impossible for the country to pay the money back.   The bankers on the other hand lock in 7% a year for 10 yrs when base rates are close to zero…and pocket the difference.    The markets are laughing and in combination with the EU they are saying that “we will only help you if you suffer.“

Let us just remember how we got here.   The banks created country-sized debts, threw much of the world into recession and caused pain and suffering to 100s of millions of people.   They include the Greeks and that is what relates a 2007 Wall Street trader with a 2012 Greek street market trader.

Europe is trying to pick up the pieces.  It’s efforts are paltry ironically based on Germany’s experience in the 30s and fear of hyper-inflation.  If you really need to fill a debt whole created by seismic financial trading losses then you have to provide a hell of a lot more money than that.    If we imagine the total global bail out package was let’s say $100 trillion, well then that tells you the size of the debt hole that needs to be filled.   You wanna print money to solve it well you better print some more.   And there won’t be hyper-inflation because it’s actually just cancelling out trading positions and redressing the balance in the money supply.  They are not related to actual assets.

Of course the other side of that is a massive debt cancellation programme which also happens, btw, if everyone goes bust.  The latter however would tend to be more violent I imagine.   Perhaps it would be better to just write it all down by, I dunno, 20-30%.   Maybe someone could work it out but let’s just say that.

Then maybe Greece would get back to where it was in 2007 and maybe would have a pretty good chance of starting from there, with a better sense of self and also a greater awareness of where the faults lay.   But that would be their business and their choices.   The effects of the banking crisis on democracy is a whole other subject but yes, they would once again enjoy a great level of democratic and economic rights that are currently denied them.

Samaras is right.  Greece may be closer to tearing itself apart than we might be able to see.  There is hardship but how long before that turns to desperation. A friend from Greece was telling me the other day that there has been a sharp increase in suicides.   When it comes to the cost of the banking crisis no one can argue that the people of Greece are not paying the price.

The Times, “Athens faces Weimar-syles collapse, Merkel is warned” 6 October 2012

 11th October 2012

Us and other animals

These are the stories I like, just 71 words that show the signs for the future.
14 one-honed rhinos were killed in floods in India. The animal is on the brink
of extinction due to demand for its horn, viewed in China as an aphrodisiac.

We think we are clever, we think we can control things, that we will be able
to preserve endangered species because we will put them in parks, and send
provide park wardens. And yet the numbers dwindle and suddenly nature
comes along and brings the floods and animals die. We make a fragile world
more fragile. We think we can bring them to the brink and stop them from
falling over the edge. We like to think that we can preserve tigers until one day
there is a virus that, whilst it would normally only affect a small proportion of
the tiger population, it takes out the very few that now remain. And what do
we have then, a fake world, a Disney world, with imported animals, the true
wilderness just memories, the bloodline of the wild tiger forever gone.

What are we if we are not in fact just animals by a different name, the naked ape, as it
has so eloquently been put. It is a shame we have lost our awe of them. If the
banking crisis proved anything it is that we are not in control and if we’re not
careful, the misguided conviction that we are will be the downfall of us and other
animals.

“Rhino gets even rarer” The Times, 10 July 2012