22 February 2012
At last the agreement to bail out Greece has been agreed, signed and is in place, so for the time being we can all breathe a little easier. How long this arrangement will survive remains to be seen. Certainly the Greek populace are not at all pleased with the outcome to which their government has agreed and daily riots continue.. After already being in the recession for five years, the new arrangement makes available €113 billion with the proviso that by 2020 . they have got their expenditure down to no more than 120% of GDP. (This new loan is given to them on the basis that it should be possible to reach this target, but only after having written off half of their debt-€110 billion) If they achieve this it will probably take another 3 to 5 years before their economy begins to grow. In the meantime they have to suffer quite severe cuts in expenditure-which means that the minimum wage has to be reduced and all public servants will have to take a further cut in their wages, on average, amounting to €400 a week, a number of public expenditure programmes will have to be delayed and taxes will rise. During this period of austerity they have to somehow repay a total of €203 billion. Frankly, I think it will be too steep a hill to climb and they will leave the Eurozone as a bankrupt nation, but as this is unprecedented, so. it is impossible to forecast the effect on the rest of Europe.
In the meantime the tender shoots of recovery continue to appear in this country. However, these early signs of recovery are very tender and it would not take much to kill them off.
Syria continues to be an embarrassment to the rest of the world who, because of the Chinese and Russian vetoes, are powerless to do anything about the vocal opposition to the present regime who daily get fired upon and many killed. How long can we stand by watching this massacre of the innocents. Clearly the veto system in the Security Council must somehow be weakened to prevent this sort of situation occurring in the future.
To continue the International roundup, the build-up of nuclear material in Iran is getting America and a number of other Middle East countries, very edgy. The Iranians continue to maintain that they are merely building up this for peaceful purposes, i.e. nuclear power stations but they do not deny that they have sufficient plutonium (?) to make a nuclear bomb. Unless this situation is nipped in the bud,.it is feared it could lead to a proliferation of nuclear powers in the Middle East in those countries who feel they could be threatened by Iran. After everything that America and Russia have done to educe this threat over the years, such an escalation would be disastrous.
The stripper episode in our village hall (see 10 February entry) has now managed to reach all of the, daily newspapers, including The Times. I’m sure that my friends will be incredulous that such a quiet English village could become embroiled in such a sordid business.
Alice has been onto Dr Lort and sorted out what appears to be suitable solutions to my various problems. Once’ my lovely’ gets the bit between her teeth she is formidable, and will not take no for an answer.
Talking of nuclear threats click here for John Cleese’ view of the state of alert in the major countries of the world.