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FTSE extends rout as Greek PM takes ‘political gamble’

Greece’s benchmark stock index tumbled 6.48% after its prime minister said he would hold a referendum on the country’s bailout package.

 
FTSE extends rout as Greek PM takes ‘political gamble’

A noxious mix of fresh fears over Europe’s debt crisis and weaker-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data sent Britain’s FTSE 100 sharply lower on Tuesday, extending the previous session’s rout.

The UK index of blue-chip shares fell 2.29%, or 127 points, to 5,417 and the Mid-250 index weakened 2.54%, or 266 points, to 10,214.

George Papandreou, Greek prime minister, said earlier that he would hold a national referendum on the terms of Greece’s bailout package, in a fresh blow to plans announced last week to resolve the eurozone’s debt woes.

The announcement was a ‘political gamble’ that added further uncertainty to the crisis, raising the prospect of a disorderly default and an exit from the EU, according to Gary Jenkins, head of fixed income at Evolution Securities.

‘Let’s be fair, the EU hardly has a Plan A, so if that gets rejected there really isn’t a Plan B to turn to with regard to Greece,’ he added. ‘They may be able to tweak the agreements here and there, but a whole scale new approach to the Greek problem is very unlikely.’

Greece’s benchmark stock index subsequently tumbled 6.48% to 756.2.

Other stock markets in Europe also fell sharply: Germany’s DAX index tanked 3.78% to 5,910; France's CAC 40 index lost 3.15% to 3,140; and the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was 2.53% lower at 971.

The euro slumped 1.1% to $1.37 and the yield – or implied interest rate – on benchmark 10-year Italian government bonds jumped 15 basis points to 6.19%, verging on levels seen as unsustainable.

Meanwhile, official data showed that China's factory activity in October grew at its slowest pace since February 2009, further denting sentiment. The country’s purchasing managers’ index dropped to 50.4 from 51.2 in September, defying market expectations of an increase to 51.6.

Wei Yao, China economist with Société Générale, said that while a week-long national holiday had been a factor in the slowdown, the seasonally adjusted reading also fell to the level last seen in April 2009. ‘We think this report is further proof of broad-based deceleration in China’s activity growth,’ he warned.

Resources stocks were among the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100, as commodities prices slid as the dollar rose and in the wake of the Chinese factor data on concerns over sagging demand. Xstrata (XTA.L) lost 59p to 986p and Antofagasta (ANTO.L) shed 58p to £11.09.

But financials topped the loser board, amid the uncertainty over Europe. Barclays (BARC.L) sank 16p to 179p and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) tumbled 1.8p to 22.5p, while Legal & General (LGEN.L) shares dropped 6p to 104.5p despite reporting a strong third-quarter performance.

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57 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Drake

Nov 01, 2011 at 09:13

This is the Black Swan to end all black swans. Possibly the stupidest, most unnecessary and cowardly political move ever made. If there was a Joe Kennedy moment in 1929 this may go down in history as the Papandreou moment of 2011.

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S-ville

Nov 01, 2011 at 09:48

Why? What's wrong with democracy?

After all, the economic situation PASOK inherited wasn't what the outgoing administration said it was.

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howie

Nov 01, 2011 at 10:04

do i assume correctly that the prime minister is to ask the people of greece if they would like austerity measures place against them

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Drake

Nov 01, 2011 at 10:07

S-ville "Why? What's wrong with democracy?"

You're just about to find out.

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Mr Chris Collins

Nov 01, 2011 at 10:22

The black swan!!

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Spartacus

Nov 01, 2011 at 11:24

Can't other countries just march into Greece and seize goods to the value of what's owed then simply leave the place to rot?

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Mr Ed

Nov 01, 2011 at 11:25

You're about to find out what's wrong with democracy.

We might as well admit that there is no Greece.

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S-ville

Nov 01, 2011 at 11:47

Effectively the Greeks are being asked if they want to default, leave the Euro and bring back the drachma.

It's worked elsewhere.

No denying that it won't be pretty - but bearing in mind the total and utter mess the EU are making of the whole situation at the moment, can you blame the Greeks if they decide they want nothing else to do with it?

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Alastair

Nov 01, 2011 at 12:05

"Can't other countries just march into Greece and seize goods"

Already been done. The Greek national bank was raided during the second world war and all the gold was removed by force. It was never subsequently returned, though at recent prices it would surely help.

The German voters resent Greek early retirement but there are resentments on Greek side too.

Greeks, I am told, tend to keep their wealth in gold coins buried in obscure places - so good luck with that marching and seizing.

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Alastair

Nov 01, 2011 at 12:10

As far as I understand: the 'voluntary' nature of the writedowns mean banks cannot claim on CDS insurance to cover capital losses. So why would any bank lend under such conditions .... they wouldn't.

All of which leaves Greece at the loving mercy of the IMF, the European central bankers (which ever acronym) and China.

The uber Europeans do not like the electorate getting to vote - because they/ we might give the wrong answer. So a referendum will stir things at all ends.

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Drake

Nov 01, 2011 at 12:26

I don't think it will even get to a vote now. All sensible Greeks (?) will be withdrawing euros as fast as they can from the Greek banks before they get turned into worthless drachmae and the resultant run on the banks, banking failures, Government default and repercussions in and outside the eurozone will show what a cataclysmic (nice Greek word) move this was by Papandreou.

Default, I should remind you, S-ville, is an altogether different creature from voluntary arrangement, or haircut if you will. I don't deny that this is the better route for Greece, but it could be curtains for everyone else. .And the worst culprits (apart from GS of course) are the French who told the Germans they couldn't veto the entry into the eurozone of "the country of Plato". Hybris followed by Nemesis

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Recently Redundant and Retired

Nov 01, 2011 at 12:33

Seriously...they're going to ask the rioting Greeks if they want to:

a) be responsible and work towards a self-sustaining productive existence.

or

b) sit on the beach all day while Germany pays their welfare and pension.

hmmmm....let me think...

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calvert mckibbin

Nov 01, 2011 at 12:43

The stupidity arrogance and ego's of some Europeans almost destroyed the last century with two world wars.

Now they are starting this century by financially knocking the world off kilter for the same reasons

Maybe Europe really is the dark continent

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Paul Eden

Nov 01, 2011 at 12:49

The Greek government has been less than honest with its European partners in not informing these that it would hold a referendum on any deal reached.

Naturally, France, Germany and other eurozone countries thought the deal was final.

At the same time, the problems had been building up over many years and the EU countries should have ensured that Greece did meet the criteria for joining the eurozone - which it didn't. So responsibility is widespread across the eurozone countries, as well as Greek politicians.

It is understandable, perhaps, for Greeks to feel that this disaster is not their fault - they did not cause it, but they are saddled with the consequences. This is not unusual - the British people are similarly saddled with the consequences of what British politicians and banks had done here. It is pensioners and savers who are paying, as well as others who may be forced out of employment.

The people at the top of society have the big earnings, make the mistakes and then disappear with the loot leaving the bills to be passed down to others. Normal practice.

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peter hart

Nov 01, 2011 at 12:50

Chelsea play Genk this evening which is much more of a worry than Greece defaulting.

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Jonathan

Nov 01, 2011 at 13:19

A bit of power to the people!

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William Bishop

Nov 01, 2011 at 13:25

Great week for Mario Draghi to take over reponsibility for the European Central Bank!

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Peter Young Engineer

Nov 01, 2011 at 13:37

Europe has completely failed, as it inevitably was going to.

The key politicians alway had secret ambitions to create a United States of Europe.

This might have been possible with common shared objectives, skilled diplomacy, clever management and transparent government.

Of couse we have had non of these things.

Any rules that were made were ignored by everyone except the Brits whose Civil Service embellished them and incorporated them through Parliament and then actually enforced them.

The conditions for joining the Euro were made specific and clear and then ignored for countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain etc to get them to join.

The Eurozone public accounts have not been signed off by the auditors in years. Common sense tells you that 27 governments are never going to agree on anything. (not sure if 27 is correct number).

No wonder the whole thing is a disaster, trouble is Europe has been run by a bunch of politicians and eurocrats who were only interested either in lining their own pockets or acting in the interests of their supporters rather than the guy in the street.

All they can do is fiddle while Rome burns and burn it will.

Who pays, why Jo Public of course, except in Greece they are saying 'get stuffed' and who can blame them.

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Stephanie Dewar

Nov 01, 2011 at 13:40

Ho, ho ho, now the fat's in the fire.

Wasn't it inevitable that as the Euro zone expanded, the European commission would need to take more and more power away from individual countries. The idea was always to create a United States of Europe, led, no doubt, by France and Germany.

But this isn't America in it's early days - we are dealing here with old, proud countries, with long established democracies who have fought over centuries to maintain their sovereignty.. Countries, like us, who joined a common market to promote trade and peace. Not to be taken over - didn't we fight a war for that?

Greece has a choice. Bow down gracefully, accept the cash, (i.e write down of its' loans) and become part of that superstate. Or cry freedom and go bankrupt.

I can't help wondering what we in Britain would do under the same circumstances?

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EARLY BIRD

Nov 01, 2011 at 13:48

It seems pretty clear to me that EU citizens- the so called " man in the street"

( including UK citizens) still don't really understand what a really serious state all European economies are in - not just Euro countries- and politicians are going to have to embark on a huge education process which just may be forced out into the open by a Greek Referendum( although I fear this will not include the true state of affairs being disclosed there because the politicians dont know themselves!). Will there be a true debate over the alternatives and the consequences of each or will it just be a shouting match( marching and riots?), followed by a vote based on emotion, not on reason ? I never liked the Euro as it is structured and thank goodness we stayed out but make no

mistake it will hurt us as this unravels . I am fast coming to the conclusion that it's gone so far that Greece must leave the Euro immediately and rebuild. Others probably too, including Italy.If it's to take 10 years to rebuild our economies for goodness sake let's start now, not have this mess for many

more months ,or years and then start. This calls for real Leadership - responsibility and authority .

That means salary cuts, trimming of all benefits( some withdrawn), ruthless cutting of unnecessary Govt support programmes etc .Yes, very painful but

we have to start somewhere and soon.We are living well beyond our means with one foot over the cliff .

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Recently Redundant and Retired

Nov 01, 2011 at 13:57

Steph asks....."I can't help wondering what we in Britain would do under the same circumstances?"

In the olden days the English navy would sail down to Portugal and steal all their gold and sherry. They currently hold the 15th largest gold reserve in the world at 421.5 tons.

Of course, today this is out of the question, we don't have any navy left.

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Keith Snell

Nov 01, 2011 at 14:07

As the chaotic so called agreement between EU member countries did not have any detailed agreement the devil is in the lack of detail. It seems other EU members are allowed referendums on EU policy but not the UK [united in this case meaning disunited]

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Peter Young Engineer

Nov 01, 2011 at 14:10

The problem is that the Politicians have no clue what to do, they have all been sitting on their hands these months, no one has stood up and stated what is needed, they have their heads in the sand and are hoping somehow this horrible nightmare will go away.

When you think about it, Papandreou did the only thing he could. If he inflicts the necessary changes he will have a revolution on his hands, if he refuses to make the cuts he will be thrown out of the Euro, for him it is a rock and a hard place.

The referendum is tactically the right thing to do, give the population a say in the decision, if they vote for the cuts they then have to accept them, if they vote otherwise they then have to accept the consequences of that decision also.

We in the UK should be given our referendum also, for too long the politicians have promised a referendum and then weaseled out of it on one pretext or another. The political classes right across Europe are disconnected from the guy in the street and if this does not change then we will have even more serious problems. We pretend to have democracy but on almost every key decision, the people disagree with the government.

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Tuizner

Nov 01, 2011 at 14:57

Sounds like it was orchestrated in the EU to me.

Let's face it, the Germans and French don't want Greece in the Euro. The French/Hungarian chap even said as much last week.

So surprise surprise the Greeks will have a referendum that will end up with them not accepting the bail out and clearing their path to leave the Euro?

Win-win situation?

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Private Investor

Nov 01, 2011 at 15:07

Unbelievable that Papadreou did not spell out during negotiations his view that he needed to hold a referendum . The other leaders must feel that they have been made to look like prats, and they have. How can the Greek government expect to take another 2 or 3 months to make their minds up? The only answer is to cut Greece adrift now. No more money.

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dr ray

Nov 01, 2011 at 15:15

@ Drake

I see you have strong feelings about this. Why is it so outrageous that the people it effects should be given a say? Do you find all democracy stupid or just when it is given to foreigners and what do you propose as an alternative? A ruling elite who run the world for their own benefit?

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Myron Martin

Nov 01, 2011 at 15:51

The unfortunate truth Drake is that the ELITES DO run the world for their own benefit. The key to all this is our unsustainable Ponzi scheme fractional reserve banking system that brings our money supply into existence as DEBT!

When the only way that currency can be expanded to meet the needs of a growing economy is by BORROWING it into existence at INTEREST, another way of saying "debt creation" then the results we are seeing today, of an unpayable debt pyramid, is simply inevitable and unsustainable.

Until the powers that be recognize that our present system, since being divorced from the DISCIPLINE of a gold standard by Nixon in 1971 has been, and IS an abject failure, and unworkable system, and are prepared to deal with the STRUCTURAL problems of Central Banking, there is no solution.

All they are doing by adding new layers of leveraged DEBT is extending the problem and making a resolution that much more damaging and delaying the changes that must be made to avoid financial calamity on a world scale.

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Drake

Nov 01, 2011 at 16:01

Dr Ray,

Au contraire, I am a passionate believer in democracy. I also support the idea of referenda for important decisions. What beggars belief is how a seasoned politician can agree an international deal of historic importance, go back home and say "Whoops, I forgot to tell Angie and Nico that we'll need a referendum". The man wants certifying. We should all be very angry about this.

As to your remarks about foreigners, elites etc, you need to think a little more before committing finger to send button. We do not have a "perfect" democracy here in the UK, nor can we (note for example the avoidance of referenda on such matters as the death penalty where our very own ruling elite prefers its own view - thankfully in my view), nor did they in ancient Greece, the "cradle of democracy", where if you were a woman, a slave or a non-member of the elite citizenry you did NOT have a vote. At the height of the classical era about 12,000 people had the vote out of a total Athenian population in excess of 500,000.

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Mr Chris Collins

Nov 01, 2011 at 16:54

To Peter Hart, Chelsea to win 3 nil.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Nov 01, 2011 at 16:56

Oh good, the return of cheap greek holidays.

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David booth

Nov 01, 2011 at 17:42

People are now talking about democracy in the EU! What democracy? Can anybody remember voting for the top people in the EU? It also appears that Germany and France tell the other members what they have to do, OR ELSE!

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Bob

Nov 01, 2011 at 17:56

Can't our MEPs solve this problem? Although I really haven't a clue who any of them are (including, I'm afraid, my own one), they are paid very large amounts of money and expenses so they must be extremely able people.

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Sage

Nov 01, 2011 at 17:57

I still find it difficult to understand how a country with only 1% of the total Eurozone GDP can cause such mayhem in the financial markets.

It highlights the total lack of risk management conducted by the politicians, bureaucrats and bankers. I can only think that such incompetence has its roots in self interest, political power, greed and lack of probity. These are the very same characteristics which were factors in the 2008 sub prime mortgage debacle. Another characteristic, no one takes any responsibility.

I hope the Greeks now go for an early election, a referendum not held until January will only cause more turmoil and uncertainty both financially and socially.

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Alan Armstrong

Nov 01, 2011 at 18:04

A great deal of passion in the comments so far but the fact is that the Eurozone needs re-structuring. It is going to be painful and bloody all round but nevertheless inevitable. Greece is only going to be the first casualty, Italy next and then Spain and Portugal.

I would like to see us, the UK, be part of the new Euro so that we can secure the best possible outcome for our own long term future.

Anyone who thinks that we can go it alone is absolutely nuts

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martin hargan

Nov 01, 2011 at 18:08

Somehow consoling and humbling even on All Saints Day to read such cogent commentary as compared say with any papers bar the FT. No lives lost no real money either.

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Harry Brooks

Nov 01, 2011 at 18:29

Er... you all seem to have forgotten that however much Greece accepts as a bailout it will not solve their problem, never mind the wider Eurozone problem.

So, it seems to me that a referendum is pretty much pointless. If the people vote against, they'll be living in a poverty-stricken country, with massively devalued savings and no productivity to rebuild the nation or pay off the massive debt that they already owe — and there will be chaos in the financial markets...

If they vote for a bailout, they'll be living in a poverty stricken country with devalued savings and no productivity to pay off the even-more gigantic debt that they'll owe — and there will be chaos in the financial markets because everyone in the world knows that they can't and that the problem hasn't been solved...

Which version of this chaos would you prefer?

Throughout my life I have conducted my own affairs in the belief that 'there is always a way' but, right now, I can't see a way out of this one...

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snoekie

Nov 01, 2011 at 18:30

Early bird has a valid point, the EC leaders will never tell the truth, because too many frauds will pop out of the woodwork, which remain unrevealed because of the need to sign off the accounts which must disclose the frauds and who of the kommissars/bureaucrats took back handers or facilitated frauds, just like that one who benefited her dentist lover.

Peter, amen to that.

Papandreou is actually doing the right thing, so the people as a whole decide which sort of pain they will accept. Either way it is going to be uncomfortable. Take note Cameron.

Is this perhaps an attempt on the part of the Greeks to get some value from the gold that was stolen 70 years from the ultimate banker?

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RL

Nov 01, 2011 at 18:30

This vote is irrelevant. We already have the bailout fund and new capital for the Banks. If Greece doesn't want the money, too bad, let it go bust. It will be very painful for the Greeks either way.

Markets are down because of: (1) profit taking and (2) they shouldnt have gone up in the first place as Italian Yields haven't fallen as they should have done.

I'm afraid that Italian yields are telling you that Europe is toast.

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White Stick follower

Nov 01, 2011 at 18:34

Throughout history the political ambitions of Germany & France, at different times, have virtually brought Europe to its knees. They are still at it, its just that this time they are not trying military means. As for the Greeks, they have lived a a fantasy world of early retirements, gigantic pensions,never paying taxes etc etc and have never wondered how this could be reality. Perhaps they misunderstood the term 'Free World'. Someone has to pay- and as usual our jolly decent chaps in Parliament will say, 'We'll pick up the tab- or some of it,after all our taxpayers just pay what we continually demand of them.'

There's an old saying 'Beware Greeks bearing gifts'. I haven't seen the gifts coming from the Greeks, so perhaps the phrase is too short ?

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RTB

Nov 01, 2011 at 19:11

Of course we can go it alone. The best way to secure our long term future is to stay well out of it. The EU will self-destruct anyway and be replaced with a free trade area consisting of the majors. The 'charter' should run to no more than 10 sheets of A4 and be published in English, French and German.The bureaucracy and the directives can all be binned. Wig man and his crackpot mates have just demonstrated that they couldn't manage their way out of a paper bag. When is a deal not a deal? When it involves the Greeks.

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Moylando

Nov 01, 2011 at 19:22

Will Xenophobia survive Armageddon ?

Daily Mail rules OK

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dr ray

Nov 01, 2011 at 19:24

RL

If the Greeks do vote to tell the Euro bureacrats to "spin on it" the default will be forced on the banks and for 100%. Firstly the amount of money put aside to bail out the banks did not assume a 100% default and secondly the banks which will need bailing out will not be those that loaned Greece the money - it will be those that sold these banks insurance or credit default swaps. Unfortunately no-one knows who these banks are because no bank would admit to holding CDS. It would be almost certain that triggering payments on CDS would crash the institution holding them and these would come looking for a Government bailout.

The political and financial elites have bent their populations backwards to protect these banks so I assume we are looking at some biggies in potential trouble

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fatcat

Nov 01, 2011 at 19:48

I am looking Forward to my 5 star trip to Corfu next summer where my pound will go very far under the counter-as usual..

I chuckle at the hooded experts who never saw this coming and continue to cash up. Are there any people left in this country or this forum who are bemused. I know there is but they are a minority! Shocking

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Richard77

Nov 01, 2011 at 20:19

Hold on

The solution was still only kicking the can down the road till after the french and german elections.

He doesn't want his police and army on the streets killing his people.

Look at south america

One giant default and they are thriving ever since.

If they vote for austerity then they may even do it.

Otherwise they will drop out of Euro and use the billions to help the individuals with euro mortgages.

Drachma is cheap holidays and exports thrive.

Why is this so bad????

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D G Stonebanks

Nov 01, 2011 at 21:11

"Alan Armstrong

Nov 01, 2011 at 18:04

...

Anyone who thinks that we can go it alone is absolutely nuts"

OK, I am nuts

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John Carroll

Nov 01, 2011 at 22:24

I personally don't give a toss. I love Greece, the people, the food and wine, the climate, the beautiful warm clear waters and the extremely good value Greece represents to all EU countries.

The women are rather lovely also - yes, they get my vote.....

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William Phillips

Nov 02, 2011 at 02:13

""Anyone who thinks that we can go it alone is absolutely nuts"

OK, I am nuts"

Like those poor, half-starved Norwegians, Swiss and Canadians clinging to their own currencies, you mean?

No sterling, no sovereignty,

Better off out- and soon!

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dr ray

Nov 02, 2011 at 10:24

@ John Carroll

"I personally don't give a toss. I love Greece, the people, the food and wine, the climate, the beautiful warm clear waters and the extremely good value Greece represents to all EU countries.

The women are rather lovely also - yes, they get my vote....."

Duh.. I think you missed the point.

What if Greek default means that Barclays or RBS needs bailing out by British taxpayers? What if there is chaos in Greece and the elected government is replaced by the Generals who then embark on an invasion of Macedonia or Cyprus? Still don't give a toss? - perhaps you are too old for conscription and you don't have children.

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Ken Gee

Nov 02, 2011 at 10:35

Re Greece - in business I learnt, the hard way, there is no point in throwing good money after bad! NO further advances until the outcome of the referendum is clear. As Lord Nigel Lawson once said "Tout s'arrange - mais mal" - everything will work out - but badly. Succinct, or what?

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Drake

Nov 02, 2011 at 10:37

According to this morning's press Sarkozy is "incandescent with rage".

I knew that something good would come out of this.

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Harry Brooks

Nov 02, 2011 at 11:47

Re: Ken Gee's note — don't forget Lord Lawson went to live in France. Seems a fair comment on the job he did as Chancellor here. One really can't trust, believe — or even have hope in — any of them.

By the way, it could be that Papandreou is just demonstrating some realpolitik to Sarkozy and Merkel. You know ... 'find a way to ratchet up the EFSF and give us ALL the money we need, OR ELSE'. After all, his government has backed him.

Either way, it's all going to make for a crap Christmas...

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dd

Nov 02, 2011 at 12:51

For Bob, re MEPs:

They have very little power. I wish they did! It is the unelected Commissioners who make the decisions.

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dd

Nov 02, 2011 at 12:56

MEP comment on Greece (amongst other things) before the events of this week.

http://www.marinayannakoudakis.com/newsletters/october-2011.html

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Harry Brooks

Nov 02, 2011 at 13:29

@ Drake

'According to this morning's press Sarkozy is "incandescent with rage".

I knew that something good would come out of this.'

This must be the 'contagion' we've been hearing so much about. Most of us have been incandescent with rage about these prats for months.

Incidentally — about all this criticism of Greeks not paying their taxes; I am told that Euro officials are themselves exempt from national tax...

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Recently Redundant and Retired

Nov 02, 2011 at 14:34

Greeks not paying tax.....I read that for 2010 a total of six Greeks declared income > €1M, while a measly 85 declared income >€500k. The 4 big Greek banks hold deposits equivalent to €20,000 per capita, this is just pocket money, most Greek money is kept abroad. Greek ship owners owe €500bn and service their debt with ease.

The Greeks are not bust by a long chalk, only the Greek Government is because they've borrowed and spent as if they're a developed country with efficient tax collection. That's the EU for you, it's like rich bankers taking their cleaning lady to a posh restaurant for dinner then trying to split the bill at the end and being surprised she can't afford the tip let alone the bill.

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Drake

Nov 03, 2011 at 10:30

RRR - I love the cleaning lady idea. I think they still have to take her after all these years because she she used to be gorgeous and had big tits and talked her way in. But now she's old and raddled, she's blown all the money they've given her and they would love to kill her but can't take the risk of what might follow. So they go on picking up the bill and gritting their teeth, waiting and hoping for her to keel over....

A very modern fable.

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John Carroll

Nov 04, 2011 at 07:10

Ray

What if Greek default means that Barclays or RBS needs bailing out by British taxpayers? What if there is chaos in Greece and the elected government is replaced by the Generals who then embark on an invasion of Macedonia or Cyprus? Still don't give a toss? - perhaps you are too old for conscription and you don't have children.

Apologies for not getting back sooner.

If I may call you Ray.

Interesting you think I have missed the point.

Ray, you are right in that I’ve been around a while, read the book and got the teeshirt. Also I do not have children to support.

The way I view it is not rocket science. If we (The EuroZone) support and encourage a ‘poor’ country to join our Club and lend them money, then we should not expect them to pay it back. They cannot in the real world do that - that is why they are poor in the first place. As for charging them interest on their loan – well that I’m afraid is just cloud cuckoo… Some tenants of mine illustrate the concept very clearly.

You mention banks will need ‘bailing out’ by Governments (see Taxpayer). My view is don’t – banks are like water, they’ll find their own level. They are far more astute than any Government.

As for Greece declaring war on Cyprus, Macedonia et al, in your own words “Duh…”

Have you any concept of what it costs to go to war with another country in this modern age – it also begs the question why? As some commentators have noted there are a few very wealthy Greeks out there but I suspect they are not going to give it up for their Government or their Generals – more cloud cuckoo??

Ray, I have lived through quite a few Storms in Teacups and hopefully will see out a few more. This will pass like they all do and I’ll get back to a good book on a nice beach.

Sorry Buddy.

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