Monday, 9 February 2009

The lights are going out all over Europe ...

There's a scene in Waugh's trilogy as the British army are being routed in Crete. A young temporary officer, a pre-war decoration on London's social scene, is seeking consent to cut and run. He suggests obliquely to his commander, a regular of ferric solidity, "They say it's all sauve qui peut, now."

"I'm sorry, I don't know the meaning of the expression" replies his boss.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard presents a litany of economic gloom in this morning's Telegraph:
  • Industrial output down 27% in Ukraine
  • Industrial output down 10% in Russia
  • Latvia's GDP contracting at 29% pa
  • Ireland job losses 36,500 in January
  • Spanish unemployment now at 14.4%, to go to 19%
  • German industrial orders down 25% year on year
  • French house prices down 9.9% in 4th quarter, steepest since 1936
  • Japan exports down 35% in December
  • Japanese economy contracting at 12% pa
  • China, Pacific tigers dump $190bn in bonds in past 15 weeks
Evans-Pritchard concludes "Readers have berated me for a piece last week – 'Glimmers of Hope' – that hinted at recovery. Let me stress, I was wearing my reporter's hat, not expressing an opinion. My own view, sadly, is that there is no hope at all of stabilizing the world economy on current policies."

By the time of the G20 summit in April, things could be a great deal worse. The spectre of civil disorder is growing. Spain's labour minister said yesterday that the country's economy could not "tolerate" immigrants any longer after suffering "hurricane devastation". To steal Sir Edward Grey's phrase, the lights are going out all over Europe, and I doubt we will see them go on again in our lifetime.

Pundits are predicting a rise in nationalism as a response to the crisis as though this were an irrational response, but I actually think it's quite a rational human response; that the strength of the tribe is greater than the strength of its individual members is a truth that's hard-wired into our DNA. There's no room in the United Kingdom for sauve qui peut; we stand together now or we fail.

6 comments:

Blue Eyes said...

Nationalism is irrational if it achieves the opposite of what the British Jobs For British Workers campaigners want, which is a better economy and more jobs. Those things will not be achieved by economic nationalism nor by kicking foreigners out.

hatfield girl said...

There can be no standing together without a general election. New Labour, and their Leader, can lay no claim to any of us, except the jobsworths and placemen who have put us here.

Raedwald said...

BE - agreed, of course; economic protectionism helps no-one, but kicking non-working, non-productive foreigners out may marginally decrease overall GDP but will marginally increase per capita GDP and save scarce tax resources.

HG - yes, Brown is the impediment, the barrier, to any national cohesion, and the more that becomes apparent even to Labour supporters the surer will be his defenestration.

Elby the Beserk said...

Brown at times reminds me of Gollum. He too will be destroyed by his precious. The problem is what he takes down with him when he goes.

Bill Quango MP said...

Agree fully on brown. Even if Milliband had ousted the man, Labour could at least use the Obama narratives of change and renewal.
Not hampered by the baggage of failed and discredited policies they could have changed direction on a 'we got some things wrong' platform that would have credibility. This was only what Brown did following on from Blair.

But, by keeping the party responsible for a lot of the countries failures, they can only serve up more of the same failure.

it's either banned or compulsory said...

" kicking non-working, non-productive foreigners ... will marginally increase per capita GDP"
Include the criminals and illegals which will at least increase my feelgood facor and thus make me more productive.

Incidentally, my neck of the woods seems yet to be seriously affected by the 'credit crunch'; the only person that I have met who is losing her job is doing so because of a reorganisation by a Quango ( which is what they like to do ).
Those lost by Woolies are now in the newly opened Tesco Metro and soon to open Lidles.
Talking of Tesco, their stores ( like Sainsbury's and other Major Retail Outlets ) are mental busy 24/7, not with people stocking up with essentials but pigging out on bluberry muffins and other tosh.