You may or may not have been following the debt crisis in Greece. No matter, the broad brush summary is that the Greeks have been living way beyond their means and the clock is ticking against imminent debt repayments. To make those payments the Greeks must borrow money through bond sales which they can only do at a higher cost than other European governments may borrow money at. That premium prices in the additional risk of lending to the Greeks in case they default.
Intense discussions have been underway and at the end of last week the EU agreed to offer the Greeks assistance but only when the Greek government reach a point where the international markets are effectively closed to them.
The looming debt crisis has created a great deal of stress within the EU and the hard line attitude of the Germans has shocked not only the profligate Club Med countries but also the core EU states like France. The German government however has simply been reflecting a hard line German taxpayer view that they should not be put in a position whereby their hard work and productivity is exploited by idle tax evading beach bums. In fact an important result of last weeks negotiations is that the German government has sent a strong message not only to the rest of the EU but to their own people which implies that not one single German euro will be spent until all other avenues have been explored.
This hard core message of fiscal discipline has strong resonance for the average German voter.
Contrast this to the British voter, whoever he or she is and in fact it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask if they exist at all. If they do, they suffer from a collective virus of bovine lethargy given after all that the current shower of corrupt and incompetent muppets have done, there is barely a whisper raised in protest. The Cabinet must sit down not quite believing their luck - they've almost bankrupted us, financially and morally and they've got away with it - only a few points behind in the polls and growing in confidence as the election approaches. They're beginning to think they might actually pull it off; you can smell it.
So why is there such a dramatic contrast between the German people and ourselves and why does their government listen and ours don't? I genuinely don't know. I can only guess that people have simply given up, that they've decided that whatever their view is it won't make a blind bit of difference. That whatever actions citizens take They will still be there and They will keep on coming, no matter what, there is no way to finish them off.
Even more sad, at times.......... I feel the same way.
What of the opposition? Just like many, many others I simply despair. No backbone, no courage, no idea. I sat next to a lady last evening who had every reason to vote Tory in May. I listened to her reasoned critique of Labour and then asked her about the Tories. "No way am I voting for them," she said, "I have no idea what they're policies are." Nor do I.
In fact, David Cameron rather reminds me of the captain of this ship.........(yes, I know we've all seen it before but it makes the point and me laugh at the same time so it's in..).