So, Britain and the Eurozone...

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inflatable dalek
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So, Britain and the Eurozone...

Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:37 pm

Am I alone in thinking David Cameron (and even though I'm not a Tory in the slightest I've found him the lesser of the three evils of our main party leaders up till now. I know that's not saying much when the competition is Nick "How hard do you want me to suck your cock so I can pretend to be deputy PM" Clegg and Ed "The new John Major, only picked so he can lose the next election without hurting the career of anyone important*" Miliband) has been a complete twat over this?

Not signing up for the Euro when it's in a perilous position is fair enough, not signing up for the Euro in a way that basically says "Screw you" to all (the looking likely to increase) countries in it is really stupid. And it's hard not to agree with the French President, if we don't want to be in the single currency (and why I'm not sure, it's not as if the current version of the pound has any great history, lets not forget the Euro is more like what we have now that it is like the money we had before 1970) why should we have any say in what those countries who are part of it do economically?

The big, big problem with this country is, and has been for a long time, that we think we're important. It's why we still have nuclear weapons even though we'll have no say whatsoever in the starting and ending of World War III, it's why we go cheerfully waging war on middle Eastern countries that have nothing to do with us even though we can't afford to do so (and yes, the liberation of Libya will hopefully be a good thing, but why should a small island thousands of miles away be trying to make grand decisions on that issue by itself?). The money that's being spent on updating Trident just so we don't lose face could have been better used, hell, even in other more practical ways in our armed forces (my Sister in Law is in the RAF and you know what they need more than anything? Better boots. Nothing pisses them off more than the fact the cadets get boots you can march in without instant blisters just because their rich parents pay forty pounds a month for the privilege).

If we could just accept our new (well, by "New" I mean since we were left bankrupt and in dept to the US at the end of WWII) positions of not being any more powerful than most of the rest of Europe instead of desperately clinging onto America as a leg up to vital power status even though the US is clearly less and less interested in us an an ally (as brown nosing is no substitute for oil. The best we can give them is cannon fodder) we'd be so much better off.

Not only could we benefit from closer economic ties with the region we do most of our trading with, I genuinely think our playing a less sulky presence could be good for Europe as a whole. Despite everything we get on better with large parts of the continent than Germany and France (and perhaps most importantly as they'll remain the big player no matter what, Russia), mainly because large parts of Europe are just as bad at moving on from WWII and the Cold War as we are, I still find it amazing that 70 years on Trafalgar Square still gets a Christmas tree every year from Oslo in thanks for what we did in the war. And however lose a model the Commonwealth has given us useful experience of dealing with a disparate grouping of nations.

And at the very least, if Cameron has made the right choices here, did he have to be such a smug git about it? Especially as by causing further delay to any new solution to the current Euro-crisis he could well be screwing over millions of people by forcing the collapse of the Euro?



*Though if he does the full John Major and actually wins the next election much to the embarrassment of his party I will love him.
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Rurudyne
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Post by Rurudyne » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:42 am

Not to even pretend I'm saying something you haven't known all your adult life: British resistance to the Eurozone has been well entrenched so long that it was the stuff of sympathetic jokes for 1970s sitcoms (Yes, Minister comes to mind). And I will honestly profess a long standing sympathy for it just by way of a confession.

Still, I'd like to suggest that Britain could not "save the Euro" even if she had adopted it at the beginning.

The problem is that while the Euro's value is representative of the strong economies that back it it has become with respect to the weaker economies terribly overvalued compared to where their own currency would likely be had they stayed with them. That is good news (actually: great news) for those with savings in those nations with issues; however, not having control over their own currency seems to have played a real part in their woes too.

Long ago a certain infamous banker opined that he didn't care who made the laws if he controlled the money.

Now, the Euro isn't some dark foreboding conspiracy but what was said does speak in part to how these problems have risen. The idea being that countries with spending problems will, if they are able, often try to use monetary policy to get themselves out of their woes in such a way that the proverbial can will at least be kicked down the road.

This is happening right now in the US with the Fed quietly qualitative easing (we're approaching QE3 now ... there should never be anything "QE" that isn't a ocean liner), easing huge quantities of money into circulation which has helped drive down the Dollar vs other currencies and I suppose the net result that they hope for is to monetize the debt without causing inflation (I don't know if you've heard this but it has been suggested that at this time the US might be in a deflationary phase were we not printing money faster than a Christmas elf makes toys).

So, in the same spirit that people are always preparing to fight the last war (the Trident you mentioned?), it seems reasonable that politicians are likely to be using too-old playbooks too. The idea is that their domestic policies could arguably be exactly the kind that they would have had if their own central bank still controlled their currency ... but they don't. So any ideas they may think work when a nations get into these messes just won't — all because they may make the laws but they don't control the currency.

So where they might have attempted to monetize their debts in hopes that both they and their creditors won't loose everything ... they can't. Essentially the Euro has become their new gold standard and the only way they get this expensive money is to borrow it from those who have it.

On the surface that sure seems better than printing money — certainly seems saner to me — but it means, so to speak, that they've no passing game to complement running the ball.

As such, Britain would be just one more reason the Euro was strong but not a cause for why those whose domestic policies have now got them holding out their hands would be doing any better.

So I really wish you all the best and kinda hope you keep your own money. If the Euro can't be saved — and it probably can't be if what I've said above is remotely accurate — it may signal possibility for a brighter tomorrow just because your money may still be seen as sound by comparison.
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Jetfire
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Post by Jetfire » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:03 pm

I'm not sure if I get what you are saying ID. I'm not sure Cameron is particularly smug, he isn't remotely as smug as the Merkosy approach which is basically "we know better then everybody so do as we say" with some of the snide comments thrown at Britains direction for pointing out their plans may screw the Uk economy given it's dependence on the city.

Given the state of Europe and the fact half the austerity plans are far more overt then the UKs it appears there won't be most scope to increase trade over the decade anyway.

You say Britain isn't important, but I disagree. The UK is massive important, it's a top 7 economy in the world and it's one of the few EU countries that can say no like this and Britain is immens eat diplomatic involvment world wide suggesting it's very good in it's role of one of the most important powers out side of the super and hyper powers which there are only a couple. And recent conflicts have show Britain is about only one of 2 european countries that can intervene elsewhere. Britain has actually accepted it's reduced role very well and also accepts it's won't always convince America or europe on all matters.

Argueably far too much of the united European project is all about Europe not being able to accept it's reduced role in the world and so constantly trying to create a super-power regardless of consequence as the Euro is showing in the way it hinders some countries ability to cope. As for more infulence, France are at the heart of european matters, but it basically involves them nodding seriously at anything germany says must happen and moaning they can't convine Britain to do anything while patting their own back at being so infulential.

I fear one issue with european politics is that there are enforcing a one size fits all approach which si why the world got screwed in the first place.
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Post by Cliffjumper » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:13 pm

If you were France you'd nod seriously at anything Germany said as well, otherwise they have a habit of moving in.

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Post by Skyquake87 » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:40 pm

Problems with the Euro aside - which admitedly is what this ratified treaty thingy was partly about - I was disappointed that we didn't join up with the rest of the EU. I've always found our half in / half out approach to Europe baffling. the key stumbling block for Cameron here was the whole business of Europe wanting to put tighter regulation in place for the banks, which would be no bad thing. Its not as if the commerical interests of banks and financiers have served the UK well, is it? Our FSA was so toothless and powerless in the face of the complex financial transactions dreamt up by the banks to not only make money off of complex hedge fund transactions and bad debt, whilst at the same time dreaming up complex webs of offshore accounts to avoid tax liabilities (something the world's governments really need to be doing more about). Whilst it's "unfair" to constantly point the finger of blame at the financial services sector, lending money to people who could ill afford to pay it back certainly didn't help. You only have to look at whats happened to Northern Wreck and , amusingly LTSB (I used to work for C&G -effectively the mortgage lending arm of LTSB- at the peak of the housing boom. C&G were conservative lenders and didn't lend to anyone. LTSB merged with Halifax whom had been lending to anyone and everyone and suddenly LTSB is going cap in hand to the taxpayer because of the p*ss-poor state Halifax had got themselves into which effectively made the entire group insolvent - hooray for bankers!) to work that out. would tighter regulation have damaged the UK's position as the Financial Capital Of The World (tm) ? Possibly, but as they are all involved in tax avoidance to some extent or another then their contribution to the UK economy isn't what it could and should be, and frankly, they do need regulating and if Britain's politicians are so over-awed by big business to be afraid to get them back in line then laws from the EU would have at least put some rules in place that we're too bloody meek to do ourselves. i don't understand why British politicans have got themselves in a position where they are afraid to do anything for fear of upsetting business interests. I was angry when Dave Hartnett of HMRC let Vodafone off with a paltry settlement off the billions the owed from tax avoidance - and then did it again with Goldman Sachs! This guy is supposed to be fighting against this stuff and representing the interests of the tax payer! Not allowing himself to be schmoozed by big business in fancy restaurants. Let alone all the horrible 'off balance sheet' debt accurred under the ruinous Privat Finance Initative...

Sorry...went off on one there. Not sure it was all relevant.

i do feel that Britain's ability to influence and shape European policy is utterly f**ked now, which does not bode well when so many of the laws that govern us now emanate from the EU. its cutting your nose off to spite your face with no sense of what this might hold for the future of the UK - a country solely reliant on imports and er, shopping to prop up its economy as we don't manufacture anything, farmings on its arse, screwed by the supermarkets and reliant on bail outs through EU subsidy (now what would happen if that changes - would we be now in a position to anything about that..?) and struggling to get by in free market economy that has basically seen all industry siphoned off aborad by big business looking for a cheap, disposable workforce elsewhere. we should be working with Europe - not against it.

And I don't really buy the notion that Britain is an important global player, not anymore. We act like it,but we really don't have the resources to back up our 'diplomatic' missions, as the sorry state our military is in will verify. If its not soliders without proper kit, then its lunacy like building a bloody great aircraft carrier...and then having no aircraft that can use it.bravo.

I just thought that the EU offered some hope and sanity, and that jointly, everyone would have a say in shaping how the EU would run and it would have been great to see Britain take part in that.

Also, I don't mind that Germany and France have pretty much called the shots. They are at the heart of the EU and its poor old Germany whose having to sort out everyone else's f**k ups - not suprising they're wanting to lay down the law.

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inflatable dalek
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Post by inflatable dalek » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:59 pm

Jetfire wrote: You say Britain isn't important, but I disagree. The UK is massive important, it's a top 7 economy in the world and it's one of the few EU countries that can say no like this and Britain is immens eat diplomatic involvment world wide suggesting it's very good in it's role of one of the most important powers out side of the super and hyper powers which there are only a couple. And recent conflicts have show Britain is about only one of 2 european countries that can intervene elsewhere. Britain has actually accepted it's reduced role very well and also accepts it's won't always convince America or europe on all matters.
I'm not sure we're really a power that has the authority to go intervene in other countries off our own bat, we just like to think we do. With frequently disastrous results. Iraq and Afghanistan were royal **** ups, and it'll be amazing if Libya doesn't end up the same. And we're not likely to remain the world's seventh biggest economy if the Eurozone we do most of our trading with goes under because we told them to **** off when we could have been of help.
I fear one issue with european politics is that there are enforcing a one size fits all approach which si why the world got screwed in the first place.
I think the big problem that led to the Euro being in this state was they didn't standardise things enough to be honest.
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