Friday, 30 April 2010

Greek riots start outside their Finance Ministry

They say one picture is worth a thousand words so look at this one taken yesterday in Athens outside the Greek Finance ministry of Greek riot police dealing with protesters.

As the weather hots up and as the full severity of the public sector cuts come through there will be more, bigger and more violent protests in Greece. Most significantly this story made the BBC Radio 4 8:00 am news.

Meanwhile the EU continues to procrastinate issuing vague bulletin like statements. The aid deal is almost complete, we expect it soon etc which goes down like a lead balloon in the markets.

Greece agrees 24 billion austerity package which will see a pay freeze and VAT rises is one of the paper headlines this morning. It puts Gordon and Dave's  6 bn VAT spat into context and Portugal says deficit cut may exceed 2010 goal. Its all part of an EU orchestrated attempt to convince the markets they are doing something. The markets have stabilised but I think this is just a breather, time will tell.

There are clear threats from the Greek unions of a mighty battle to come. Union officials said the International Monetary Fund asked Athens to raise sales taxes, scrap bonuses amounting to two extra months pay in the public sector, and accept a 3-year pay freeze.

"They want Greece to cut the deficit by 10 percentage points in 2010 and 2011 ... so that Greece can go back and borrow on markets in the third year of the programme," said a union official who requested anonymity.

Andreas Loverdos, social affairs minister, said pensions would be reformed. "There isn't much room for manoeuvre -- this is about saving the country from collapse," he told the FT.

This is what Gordon, Dave and Nick were not saying last night but its what is going to happen in the UK.

On UKIP matters I thought Farage's comments on BBC TV before the great debate to Huw Edwards on leaving the EU were very good as were his comments after the debate on the unanimous evasion of the immigration issue by all three LibLabCons. Its a pity he chooses to surround himself with such low grade colleagues.

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