Opinion – Greece has nothing to lose by saying no to creditors – Wolfgang Munchau – FT.com – John Gelmini

English: Odos Aioulou, National Bank of Greece...

English: Odos Aioulou, National Bank of Greece / Ethniki Trapeza tis Ellados. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr Alf talks about the likelihood of a last minute “grubby deal” with Greece as a way for Merkel and Hollande to avoid taking the hit of 160 billion Euros on loans which they should have written down a long time ago.

Paddy Power the bookmakers called the UK General election correctly despite the BBC’s blatant attempts to pretend that we were headed for a hung Parliament plus equally misguided attempts by Labour politicians and past their sell by date people like Lord Ashdown to say that it was “too close to call”. They have now shortened the odds on GREXIT to a racing certainty so based on that likely outcome we need to consider what should happen next.

Firstly, Greece should be given no more money and with our help should restructure its economy and revitalize its tourist industry to bring in immediate foreign exchange. Greece could work off some of its obligations by contributing to a European military force.

Secondly, Greece has huge numbers of automobile engineers but no car industry, whereas Germany has a car industry and even the UK does, albeit with too few engineers. Dealing with mismatches like this, either through BPO or leasing people on an interim basis, would help to gradually solve Greece’s unemployment problem.

Thirdly, Greece needs new industries and needs to make its farming much more efficient so that it becomes fully self-sufficient in food and it needs to make wines which are drinkable which wealthy people want to buy. English and Danish farmers are the most efficient in the world and some should be sent to Greece as part of an EU scheme to show them what needs to be done.

Fourthly, Greece has a great ancient history and that should be packaged and marketed to tourists with serious money in expensive Voyages Jules Verne Holidays of appeal to Chinese, Asian and other plutocrats, rather than Mr and Mrs Bloggs from 32, Acacia Avenue who want to imitate Zorba the Greek for a week and then return to Luton Airport, burned to a crisp and befuddled with ouzo. The same could be done on a bigger scale with the Greek islands being used as an alternative to Hollywood film sets and as places where themed conferences could be held.

John Gelmini

Opinion – ekathimerini.com | A Greek paradox: many elderly are broke despite costly pensions – John Gelmini

Dr Alf raises more interesting issues about what looks like an inevitable GREXIT.

We are asked to consider the plight of impoverished Greek pensioners, who are in that condition despite having generous pensions and we are further asked to agree with the idea that French and German banks need to take a “haircut”. The price of such a haircut would not be borne by these banks but would be shouldered by French and German taxpayers and by taxpayers in the UK because the EU still represents our biggest export marketplace.

Looking back into the past, I seem to remember a certain Bilderberger and subsequent British Prime Minister refusing to help the Equitable life policyholders until many of them (also pensioners) were dead and thus too old to seek redress. That failure saw many British pensioners failed by his Government to the point where they are to this day living in poverty. Then there was the failure of regulators appointed by his Government to stop a number of pension schemes, into which workers had been paying money for up to 40 years, going insolvent. Those workers were tossed onto the scrapheap, penniless and not one word of contrition or money was made available to those people by his Government, the Anglican church or the chattering classes. The same Gordon Brown was told not to abolish dividend tax relief on pensions or send half our gold to Germany and that gave us all a “haircut” which in todays money would be worth £20 billion gbp.

I feel sorry for these Greek pensioners and for African migrants and for innocent Greek Children but not to the point where we are bankrolling the Greek Government in perpetuity.

Dr Alf talks about an “interim settlement” as if it was going to be followed by something more permanent. With the Greek Government we are not dealing with an entity which permanently agrees to do anything or which has any intention of repaying any of its debts. We are told that the current arrangements for repayment are too harsh but if they were made less onerous the evidence over the years is that no repayments would be forthcoming.

The solution is sadly GREXIT, followed by restructuring of the Greek economy and the rest of Europe taking a set quota of middle class people with skills and the ability to set up businesses. We should provide advice and guidance on the revitalization of the Greek economy, so that they can eventually stand on their own feet again.

John Gelmini