2013 — 17 March: Sunday

People wonder1 why I don't use Facebook. Then they send me links to footage (filched, I gather, from Mike Cowlishaw's page) of 'real' Jumbos landing. I must say I much preferred watching the Lisa Edelstein lookalike (an irréductible défenseur du papier) here. But thanks, Ian.

And still it rains, to almost coin a Galileo-onian phrase. [Pause] But, as of 07:45, seems to have called it a day for a bit. More tea, David? Yes please.

It literally doesn't pay...

... to keep your savings in a Cypriot bank, I gather. When a guvmint raids its citizens' piggy banks2 this seems to put a whole new spin on the meaning of "compensated":

Bailout levy

I recall Swiss banks were 'paying' negative interest rates in the mid-1970s to deter the "lesser" and more rapidly-inflating currencies of their neighbours. But that, of course, was before the great euro was going to be our stabilising pan-European salvation.

I've just started reading...

... the new Kindle edition of Bernard Connolly's "The Rotten Heart of Europe". This little extract is from the new foreword to the original 1995 edition:

It is often said that it is impossible, 'legally', to leave the euro. That is nonsense. If a country declares that a new national currency is henceforth its legal tender and if that country's central bank withdraws from the Eurosystem (which comprises the ECB and the participating national central banks), that country will be in infringement of the treaty. So what? The Commission issues hundreds of infringement proceedings every year and some of them, years later, find their way to the so-called ECJ.
Why should a country suffering the purgatory of monetary union (the official German view of monetary union as it affects others) accept it as an eternal hell for fear of ECJ censure any more than it worries about infringement procedures because it has not complied with NSU rules on, say, the size of print on packets of breakfast cereal?

Date: 2013


"NSU" is his acronym for New Soviet Union, by the way — he suggests it's a more accurate term than European Union. When he introduces it, he adds "an NSU with symptoms more sinister than mere painful micturition".

Lemonses at 11:36 finds me some 26% into the book — or at Location 2832 of 11181, if you please. It is proving quite deliciously gem-laden. For example:

Like most of his kind, [Jean-Claude Trichet] was a graduate of the Ecole Nationale de l'Administration (ENA), and like so many members of the ENA caste he was endowed with a self-importance that would be comical if its owner did not have so much power over other people. Trichet is legendary for the volume of his outpourings. Listeners bored to distraction by his streams of empty maxims take to recording his verbal mannerisms. A favourite pastime is counting the number of times in a particular soliloquy the words méditation, méditer and their various declensions and conjugations give expression to his transcendental wisdom.
Trichet regularly invests Delphic phrases with great significance. In May 1990, he out-oracled the oracle. Faced with the question of where the ERM anchor resided after the DM's unification-induced weakness, he replied: 'L'ancre du système, c'est le système lui-même' ('the anchor of the system is the system itself'), pronouncing the words slowly and deliberately and then repeating them for good measure. No one asked him to explain himself.3 The supposedly self-anchoring properties of the ERM were, like the 'ERM paradox', incapable of explanation by Believers, and analyses by infidels were anathematized.

Date: 2013

What a fascinating story. Just finished, so it must now be time for my next cuppa. It's 15:41 and, for the moment, not actually raining. It's actually quite handy reading the 'Kindle' edition on one of my desktop screens. I may yet try installing one of these 'books' on the Android Tablet PC and comparing the experience.

Next thing I notice... it's 20:00 and I have two enjoyable episodes of "Bones" under my belt.



1  Not many — but more than one.
2  Just how badly broken does the whole stinking system have to get before people realise what a con trick it all is?
3  This is on a poetic par with Donald Rumsfeld's "unknown unknowns" when ruminating at a press briefing on all those curiously-missing weapons of mass destruction, don't you think? Delicious.