Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The French screw the Germans who screw the Irish etc

I never cease to be amazes at the number of otherwise normal people who are like little boys, in love with train sets. Rail is to me a hugely expensive and inflexible 19th century technology, prone to strikes, and of limited use in the 21st century.

The Europhiles built themselves a railway tunnel under the English Channel, La Manche to the Frogs. It was sold as running direct trains through from Glasgow/Manchester to Holland, Germany and Switzerland but somehow the Glasgow/Manchester end never materialised, operational difficulties old boy so lets just stop at London. The operators of the service, Eurostar and Deutsche Bahn   want however to open up the European end past Brussels and Paris but need new trains to do it with and after assessing their requirements chose the German Siemens over the French Alstom to manufacture their new toys. I digress, but does it not show how far we have sunk as an engineering nation that we who invented railways no longer have a manufacturer to do this work!

The French are furious and in true protectionist mode for which they are famous have declared these Kraut specials as unsafe and cannot be allowed on to the sacred soil of France. The international commission the IGC with UK, French and German members which rules on these things signed off the Siemens design! The French promptly sacked their members of the commission for agreeing to this design and the whole thing is now in the hands of the High Court and the EU commission. UK train buffs Philip Hammond and the aptly named Lord Adonis now see their beloved UK high speed link delayed or scuppered altogether by French intransigence. It was ever thus in dealing with the French! We should have left them to the Germans in 1914.

Those good Europeans across the Irish sea are now getting screwed by the German banks. They were forced by the EU to accept loans at a punitive 3% over bunds in their bail out. All these lovely Euros go to Irish banks who are required to repay their under performing loans to yes German banks. Meanwhile in Euroland, Euro stability fund bonds with an AAA rating are selling like hot cake with the latest offering going at 48 basis points over bunds. So the EU are screwing a 2.5% turn out of the Irish!

This may turn out badly for the EU. Ireland is the first country whose government has fallen because of the Eurozone problems. Greece or Portugal will be next. When the facts I outlined above play out in the imminent Irish election as they will there will be huge resentment in Ireland against the EU. The Irish were of course willing bribed into the ERM as a means of dishing the Brits. Perhaps they should have taken a longer spoon to sup in Murphy's Brussels bar.

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