Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A grown-up subject

If the media was at all a serious industry, the situation in Spain would be on the front pages. A "toxic brew" of credit rating downgrades, a heavy electoral defeat for Spain's governing party, and disagreements among European officials on how to deal with the crisis is causing mayhem in the markets.

What is really interesting - and worrying in equal measure - is the degree to which it is now becoming apparent that Spain is hiding debt. For some years now, it has been obvious that Spain's economy has been riding on sky hooks, despite all the clever and sophisticated people who have been telling us otherwise. But they rely on those two clever and sophisticated techniques: lying and self-delusion.

Thus, slowly, slowly, the train crash is gathering pace. Actually, it is more like one of those slow-motion landslides. You can see it coming, you know it's unstoppable. And you can also work out that the people below it do not stand a chance, no matter how fast they run. Yet, as each day passes and the day of reckoning comes closer, the babies prattle on.