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  1. Wealth
March 8, 2010

Spring Schadenfreude

By Spear's

‘The idea of a common market with a common currency is the stuff of economic nonsense’ – prophetic words.

In 1993 I collaborated with our editor-in-chief’s father, William Cash MP, to produce Visions of Europe, which soon became the eurorealists’ Bible. My essay ‘Fatal Flaws at the Economic Heart of Europe’ prophesied as follows: 

‘It has fast become clear that the criteria for monetary union set out in the treaty have ceased to be achievable even in the medium term, even if it was a desirable aim in the first place… The European Commission and the other supporting architects of Maastricht do not see that monetary union without a democratically-elected central government will turn into an efficient economic killer-machine of jobs and growth… 

‘The idea of a common market with a common currency covering twelve or possibly fifteen or so different economies by 1999 – as currently envisaged by certain unelected European Commissioners – is the stuff of economic nonsense. It would be the most certain way of causing a depression… The grim reality is that west Europe could implode in the future under the most costly and payroll tax structure in the world, compounded by a severe deflationary single currency at a time of world recession…

‘Germany’s blunder with its own re-unification was to put economic and monetary union before its own political union. Maastricht is seeking to create the same blunder on a mega-scale right across western Europe.’

Prophetic words indeed, as we see Germany cobbling together a bail-out for bankrupt Greece in an attempt to stop the eurozone fragmenting, as unemployment soars. And the rest of the PIGS are in the same boat as well, the euroboat, which is taking on more debt and unemployment by the day. Oh! The delicious schadenfreude of watching Germany wrestle with itself, damned if they do and damned if they don’t rescue Greece.

Carl Heinz Daube, director of the Finanzagentur/the Debt Agency, says the eurozone will collapse if Greece isn’t bailed out; a stern-looking director of the ECB says the Maastricht Treaty specifically forbids bail-outs; then Angela Markel echoes the no bail-out mantra, until the Bank Regulator BaFin points out that the teetering German banking system has debts of €522.0 billion of State Bonds due from Greece (France has more), so Merkel demands austerity measures as a condition of guarantees. Just wait till the civil riots start in Athens, and spread to Lisbon, Madrid, Budapest, Bucharest and Dublin.

Bail out one and Club O’Med is bound to do the splits. You can almost smell the Hedgies revving up their Porsches at dawn to get into the office early to place their bets, which are going to be straightforward one-way ones only. As I said, it’s enough to warm the cockles of every eurorealist’s heart.

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Remember the siren voices who called us eurosceptics and said that Britain had to join the euro as she couldn’t survive on her own? Let me see now, the matricide Heseltine, Ken Clarke – the one who signed the Financial Stability Pact in Dublin without having read it – Tony B.Liar and half the House of Commons; Sir Chris Gent of Vodafone, Sir Ian Vallance of BT, Sir Niall Entirely Forgettable of Unilever, the head of Toyota and countless others of the Good and the Great just got it plain wrong! 

Stephen Hill is economics editor of Spear’s and his book on the economic crisis, Countdown to Catastrophe (published February 2010), is available £20.00 + P&P direct to your preferred address. To order your copy now, email

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