Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Silence is not golden

When even the notoriously europhilic Independent newspaper comes up with such headlines, alongside the Guardian, which is similarly pessimistic, one has to conclude that the game has entered a new phase.

It certainly makes a contrast from the widely promulgated remarks of the preposterous Osborne, here in the Metro (below), which can only be for public consumption. Not even that arrogant fool can believe what he is saying, so one assumes that he is going through the motions of supporting the "colleagues".

Elsewhere, we get little relief either, not even from Ambrose. A day late, he has been overtaken by events and is offering very little that hasn't already been said, or could have worked out for ourselves.

But there is no point in pretending that this is capable of rational (i.e., predictive) analysis, or that we can get insight from secret documents or these high-level, magical anonymous "sauces". We are breaking into new territory here – uncharted waters.

Perhaps one should rehearse what is meant by "unprecedented". It actually means what it says … without precedent. Strange though it might sound, this then means that there is little to be gained from looking to earlier examples for guidance – there aren't any.

Ambrose makes a big deal about the electoral arithmetic of the coming Greek election, when it seems certain that the left wing/Communist alliance will sweep the board – possibly leading to repudiation of the bailout conditions.

That, though, is not until April and, before that, a number of eurozone member states must seek parliamentary ratification of the bailout deal, the biggest of them all being Germany. So far, the Bundestag seems to have been kept out of the loop and, in the ordinary course of events, one might expect it to roll over and do Merkel's bidding.

But these are not ordinary times and, while Merkel is currently riding high in the polls, things could change very quickly. Thus, 27 February, when the issue is pencilled in to go to the German parliament, could be another of those turning points.

As interesting is the role of the French, and in particular Sarkozy, who has been quiet of late. From the time when the "Merkozy" were dominating the news, and the odd couple seemed poised to move in with each other, they have been invisible as a pair over the last instalment of the crisis.

Unseen or not, the two will undoubtedly be talking, and the motor of integration has not yet stalled, and when it drops out of the limelight, then is the time to be alert. This dimension cannot be ignored – silence, in this case, is not golden.