The evidence of sovereign reversion to selfish war I’ve been referring to for a fortnight now continues to pile up.
German newspaper Handelsblatt reports that 3,396 tons of the Fatherland’s gold kept in the US is about to be partially moved out of the New York Fed, where 45% of it is currently stored, and brought back home to be added to the 31% already stored there.
In an odd sort of way, the following extract from the amended Greek loan agreement also shows that the days of being nice to each other are fading fast, and no prisoners will be taken in the case of those who surrender:
‘Greece irrevocably and unconditionally waives all immunity to which it is or may become entitled, in respect of itself or its assets, from legal proceedings in relation to this Amendment Agreement, including, without limitation, immunity from suit, judgment or other order, from attachment, arrest or injunction prior to judgment, and from execution and enforcement against its assets to the extent not prohibited by mandatory law.’
Get out of that if you can.
And this Friday (we’re reliably warned) David Cameron is going to lay it on the line for the EU: either the relationship changes in a way that changes everything, or we’re off. While my general view is ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’, Cameron isn’t just reacting to bolshie backbenchers: He and Osborne must be acutely aware of just what an albatross the EU might turn out to be. For is not the Age of Austerity upon us?
Well, in one or two laughable ways it is: I was in a House of Commons committee room for much of yesterday, and you’ll all be relieved to know that there is no longer any water for sessions there. Given yesterday’s news (not really news, just the first time it’s been admitted) that our banks are nowhere near the target of refilled balance sheets, I suppose the Commons water was bound to go in the end.
But was there any other evidence to hand in the Palace of Westminster that our doom is at hand? Not really: I met and spoke with two MPs – diligent and concerned, don’t doubt it – but neither of them seemed that aware of how dysfunctionally unpopular the political class is across Europe.
More remarkable were the ordinary people in the room grappling with serious legal, constitutional, police and power-abuse issues. Mums imprisoned spitefully, armed police raiding family homes, people being declared in need of mental assessment for arguing with social workers, businesses being fraudulently declared insolvent, judges exceeding their powers while ignoring evidence. And volunteer intermediaries dedicated to helping those stuck in a Kafkaesque world in which the law says one thing but the authorities do another.
“It’s the system,” people kept saying, “We must change the system”. I don’t agree, I’m afraid. You have to change the culture, ethics, attitudes, dishonesty, privilege, and inflexibly dated tribalism of Britain. Just making the system tougher without doing that will simply mean more new laws – and more cynical new ways of getting round them.
As the geopolitics get nastier and the austerity bites harder, our so-called leaders will have to ask more and more of us. There seems to me at the moment no sign at all that they understand they simply aren’t going to get it.