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July 21, 2011



Who takes any notice of Digby Jones? Here is a man who moaned about the pound being too strong for exports, while Germany's deutschmark rose from 11 to the pound to 4 to the pound and all the while Germany's economy rose to be the strongest in Europe. German businesses hammered the UK's Jones-style-led businesses.

England, especially, paid business leaders far too much in order to "attract the best," but who, in reality, were only capable of obliterating England's manufacturing.

England is the milk cow being tortured by repeated cuts while still being expected to provide economic sustenance for the rest of the wizened-uddered herd.

john parkes

The post by Stephen Gash above completely misses Digby Jones`s point. What the latter says makes hard reading but also it makes perfect sense, so if we are disinclined to listen or discount the points he makes, we would be very unwise to do so. While the Greek problems are not for us to sort out, the end result and the effects it will have on the EU and Eurozone will have great relevance for us and our economy. And if Stephen Gash still thinks Digby Jones is wrong once again, he should reassure himself by remembering that even a blind pig finds an acorn eventually.


I am far from sure what point John Parkes is making. Digby Jones makes sense so far as he goes but what solution does he propose? A United States of Europe isn't going to work. Even if the northern Member States are prepared (highly unlikely) to sign up to a plan where the south can borrow indefinitely using the north's credit card, how are they going to control corruption, inefficiency and profligacy in the southern part of Europe? Invade it? The only credible solution is a controlled default to reduce the unpayable debt mountain; nationalisation and recapitalisation of many European banks; and some of the existing members exiting the Euro (Greece, Ireland, Portugal and probably Spain and Italy too).

Dawn Carpenter

As anyone who has read his articles for ConHome will be aware, Digby Jones is wrong about everything all the time. The EU is hopeless. They try to threaten us with the dire consequences of being exposed to their debt, but we would be mad to destroy ourselves in a futile attempt to save them from their own folly. Let Greece default, leave the EU, and float the drachma. Greece has a shipping industry and they can trade themselves into solvency. Let the City take the hit and learn from its folly. We should be looking to the wide world for trade and finance. Forget the moribund EU. Belgium is the EU in miniature, and it hasn't had a government for a year. Brussels sits in Belgium, a country without a government, and the Belgian monarch, King Albert II, can't take much more: "Banging the table during Wednesday's broadcast from his castle, just outside Brussels, the King castigated the 'ignorant voters' " http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/8650524/Squabbles-between-Flemish-and-Walloons-could-bring-down-EU-warns-Belgian-king.html

john parkes

In reply to Commentator`s post, I assume he heard what Lord Jones had said and so I didn`t think it was necessary to repeat it. Jones makes the argument that a failure of the Greek economy has implications for us and our need to trade as widely as we can; we need markets everywhere and if Greece goes down, our market share will reduce. Then he says that Greece leaving the Eurozone will not be enough; its debt needs to be written off too or its economy will still never recover. And finally he underlines the difficulty Germany will face in dealing with the politcs of a further bail-out. All this seems to me to make complete sense, but Stephen Gash asks why we should pay any heed to what Jones says as he is discredited because of past declarations he has made about the EU and its economic practices. I tried to outline the reasons why I believe Jones is right to say what he has, and while he did not in the broadcast we saw above offer a detailed solution, he did offer an analysis of the problem. Does that help you?

Andrew Smith

The constant refrain from Clegg and the likes of Digby Jones simply is a waste of our time. They are trying to soften us up for more big payouts to feed their political vanity.

If you are owed lots by a debtor who will not work and carries on spending it is better to take the hit and write off the debt, or persist and just collect at thirty bob a week. The idea of giving the debtor more cash or lending him more at ever higher interest rates are silly ideas.

The political class wants to use these crises of Greece, Portugal and Ireland to move Ever Closer. But they know the public here and probably in Germany won't put up with it.

Probably neither would the Greeks who value their independence even if poor and who can say they are wrong in that priority.

Colin Smith

Excellent first paragraph Andrew.

That's precisely the purpose of both Digby Jones' and Clegg's comments.

They should both be ignored at all times.

Denis Cooper

Greece should never have been allowed to join the euro, and although it would be extremely painful in the short term the best option would be for it to revert to the drachma, and for the Greek government to default on all its debts by declaring that it would make the scheduled payments to its creditors but in drachma, and using the EMU entry conversion rate of 340.750 drachma to the euro.

As the central bank of Greece could create as many drachma as necessary the government could be sure of keeping that promise, but of course if the drachma fell to say 700 to the euro, as it might, foreign creditors would uniformly lose about half of their money in euro terms.

john parkes

It is astonishing to read posts by people who seem to have their fingers in their ears while they chant `la la la la`. You don`t have to agree with the solutions proposed by Clegg or Jones but it is crazy to ignore their analyses of the problems that could be coming our way. Whether the answer is a new Euro-bond to fund the looming Eurozone deficits (as suggested by Daniel Hannan) or some other nostrum, I wouldn`t have the knowledge to say. But to deny the situation and fail to accept and understand the effects it will surely have on this country on grounds of Europhobia is dereliction without question.


The only person with fingers in their ears is you, John. There is a massive problem and whichever solution is adopted will be unpleasant. That is inescapable so I am not clear what Clegg and Digby Jones are banging on about. They do not have a magic bullet. What has Europhobia got to do with this? It is simply a term of abuse chucked about indiscrimately like "racist". Rather than abusing people, what practical solution would you suggest? The least worst option is the one I summarised earlier. What Clegg wants is the worst of all worlds....not least because it won't work and it will make a huge problem worse.

Dawn Carpenter

The policy of successive British governments has been to say to the electorate with regard to whatever EU policy was under discussion: 1. Such a thing will never happen. People who say that will happen are far right lunatics. 2. It will happen beause that's what Europeans want, but it will never happen in Britain. We will be exempt. People who want us to stop the Europeans from having it when it won't even affect us are xenophobes and closet racists. 3. It's being implemented in this country because of EU regulations. We wish we could prevent it. Look, we don't want it any more than you do! Our hands are tied! 4. Then they go off smirking. But how can they play that ruse when the issue is economic meltdown and the electorate has access to the right wing press and the Internet? What is happening now is too large and too public. Countries will totter into financial collapse and the EU-obsessives will say that the only thing that will save Europe is immediate total integration, economic and political. Otherwise we will all face ruin, they will tell us. If Cameron tries to accommodate them, his efforts will fail and his career will be over. But it is unlikely that he realises that. My guess is that he will return from Brussels to feed the electorate lies and half-truths, and the Conservative Party will have a new leader before the next election.

Elaine Turner

In response to Commentator and in support of John Parkes, DJ was just saying that the Greeks owe French and German banks... and that doesn't bother us. But the German and French banks owe our banks. So, if the Greeks default taking the German and French banks with them then it becomes a problem for us.

So we can throw more money at the Greeks in a bid to save the Greek banks and thus the French and German ones and finally, our banks or.....

We could save our money and give it directly to our banks when fan and brown stuff meet - for I can't see a situation arising at the moment whereby that won't happen.

Therefore, British taxpayers, stand by your beds and brace yourselves, something dreadful is likely to happen before long, but let's look after our own, not the feckless over the water.

Denis Cooper

Or, Elaine, we could wait and see just how banks operating in the UK were affected, and respond accordingly.

Note that I say "banks operating in the UK", not "our banks", and I say "respond accordingly", leaving open all options including the orderly liquidation of any which had got themselves into a position which would normally lead to the liquidation of a private company.

Ross J Warren

" but let's look after our own, not the feckless over the water."

Indeed it is impossible to have many sympathies for the rich of Greece, when there are increasingly people having difficulties at home. If Greece doesn't default, there will be large profits made.

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