The Greek crisis exposes how the European Union has taken a wrong direction.

OXI

The European Union was founded on principles of social democracy.  Rooted in the Christian principles of “Rerum Novarum” the European experiment used to sit comfortably between the extreme worlds of US Capitalism and Russian Communism.  It offered a particular type of bargain, with protections for those at the bottom of society, and controls on rampant exploitation of people and workers.

In any politically led economic system we find politicians struggling to make sense of the complex interplay of economic factors.  A populist politician is unlikely to have a PhD in economics.  When politicians run into a capability gap they rely on specialist advisers.

Ideally these advisers should be free of vested interests, and should give dispassionate counsel.  At the most senior levels of the EU, and the respective national governments, we are seeing a different dynamic at play.

In the USA the nickname for the Treasury Dept in the Whitehouse is Government Sachs or the “Goldman Sachs” dept, referring to the large number of treasury secretaries from that investment house.  If you recruit stockbrokers to run government they create policies that favour the interests of big finance.  They push for lower corporate taxes, they cut welfare, government spending and reduce government regulation of industry.

These are exactly the forces we are seeing now in the European Union.  The post 2007 austerity programme was a philosophy designed by bankers for bankers.  For the average European the austerity programme has been a failure.   For bankers it has been an unqualified success.  The banking sector has recovered from near collapse, and the recovery has been paid for by ordinary citizens.

At last the Greeks have called time on the troika of the IMF, ECB and the European Commission.  Syriza was elected into power in Greece on an anti-austerity ticket.  That should have been a warning signal to the troika.  Instead of heeding the warning they blithely drove forward with their programme to steamroll the Greeks into paying banks back for bad loans.

The troika have tried and tried again to bully Tsipiras and his party into submission.  In response the Greek premier pulled out the most potent weapon in his arsenal “Democracy”.  He is resorting to the will of the people to gauge their support for his non-cooperation with the austerity agenda.

This does not sit at all well with the “Goldman Sachs” style banking & stockbroking mandarins who currently drive EU economic policy.  They are not accustomed to having their policies questioned even by politicians.  The concept of populist support is anathema to them.  They have no time for debt forgiveness or for wishy-washy neo-Keynesian economic policies.

The democratic prerogative should be no stranger to the politicians in the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. These are the people we have elected and appointed to guard the interests of the ordinary people of Europe.  These are the people who are failing.  They have given over too much power to the vested interests.

A thin understanding of economics is no excuse for the abrogation of responsibility that we see in the politicians in Europe.  The Greeks will speak on Sunday.  I expect them to come back with a resounding no, OXI!

Then we need to understand how we can help the economy at the bottom of our EU society.  This is Europe, not the USA.  This is about unification and inclusion, not about punishment and exclusion.

It is time to fix the EU model.

If you fancy an addition good read on this subject check out this link:  The Austerity Delusion

Templar Burning

DeMolay

From the Archives of the Royal French Bulletin, Paris  March 18th, 1314 AD (Translation by the Author)

The atmosphere was fantastic down here in front of Notre Dame for the main event today.  Not just one, two or three, but a full four senior officers of the Knights Templar went out in flames today.

Leading the Templar team was none other than Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master himself.  De Molay was ably supported by the Master of Normandy, Geoffroi de Charney and the Master of Aquitaine, Godefroi de Gonneville.  Also on the podium today was none other than the Templar Visitor of France, Hughes de Peraud.

Informed pundits have suggested that King Philippe manufactured charges against the Templar Order to evade the enormous debt owed by him to the order.  Not a debt of gratitude, but a debt of money.  Considerable sums of money lost to Edward I of England and also lost in the Flanders debacle.  The pride of French nobility was lost in the Battle of the Golden Spurs, and Philippe is feeling the pinch at the loss of so much tax revenue.

There were celebrations in the streets in 1306 when our “Philip the Fair” threw the Jews out of France.  Perhaps we should have looked beyond our religious bias and glanced at the loan books.  The Jewish elders are waving mortgage slips around in Rome, Avignon and the other courts of Europe in a quest for payment.

One year later we heard of the dreadful sexual and heretical acts of the Templar Order.  We all love a good conspiracy theory, but isn’t it more than coincidental that they also held a large wad of debt against Philippe?  The same Philippe who appropriated the lands and commandaries of the order, and is selling them to the highest bidder.

Today, on the scaffold, after seven years jail time the Templars were to burn for acts to which they confessed.  In an unscheduled move De Molay and Geoffroi de Charney called a last minute press conference.  In their statement they claimed they had been guilty, they said, not of the crimes imputed to them, but of basely betraying their Order to save their own lives.

The assembled cardinals called for a ruling from the TV referee:  the Prevot of Paris.  But they were saved the embarrassment of a last minute reversal of the penalty when the news reached Philippe. He pulled out an obscure ruling that a relapsed heretic is to be burned without a hearing!

So the executioners got straight to work.  By sunset  a pile of lumber was erected on Ile des Juifs, where more than one Jew has roasted over a slow flame in the past.  The gathered crowd were able to warm themselves in the heat from the flames as de Molay and de Charney were slowly burned to death.

In another departure from the expected script, they refused all offers of pardon for retraction.  They bore their torment with a composure which saw them acclaimed as martyrs by the people.  There was a scramble at the end of the event for relics which were plucked from the smoldering ashes of the bonfire.

Following the burning we received this comment from Guillaume de Granmercy, CEO of “Debt Resolutions Ltd” who provide debt resolution negotiation services to lenders and their clients.  “We have had considerable success using conciliation and arbitration approaches to debt resolution.  We believe that our approach could have resolved Philippe’s issues without needing to resort to banishment, imprisonment and burning the bondholders”