27 May 2014

Payback time for the UK and Europe?

So is it payback time, payback for the worst financial crisis in living memory? If so, who was to blame?

Not you, not me, but them. Them bankers, them regulators, them politicians, they all had a hand in it. And now the crisis is said, repeatedly, to be over.

But it is not. The vast majority of incomes have contracted; the vast majority have become more insecure, and they have done so whilst the richer sector has apparently, and factually, got richer.

A protester with a Guy Fawkes mask during a demonstration

(Above: an anti-austerity protest in Rome on 17 May)

For us in Europe, the euro was at the heart of the crisis. It gave Europe (especially to those who never understood a trading community) an even worse name.

For us in Britain, the same men and women who got us into the mess remained unpunished, many of them reverting to the very roles they held before the crisis.

Neither in Europe nor in the UK has there been any particularly radical house cleaning. The ordinary citizen feels estranged from such a situation. Only last week was the man who fiddled the gold rate finally punished, a fine and no sentence, and his bank, Barclays, fined £26m or so.

More analysis: European elections 2014 – everything you need to know

Who would vote for any of them in Europe or in any kind of domestic power, local or otherwise? 66 per cent didn’t vote at all. 27 per cent of those who did staged a full-blown rebellion in the UK by voting Ukip.


(Above: an anti-austerity protest in Marseille on 15 May)

Europe failed, Britain failed and most other European nations for them, and the “recovery” has not assuaged their anger.

It is anger expressed in a yes vote in Scotland and a Ukip vote across the country. Centralised Westminster appears unable to reach the parts of the country bleeding from the misdeeds of those who bankrupted the country.

Continental-wide, Brussels appears to have done no better.

No-one doubts that it can happen all over again. All the pieces are in place to facilitate it. Time is short, solutions long. These are historically dangerous times, mere voting will not stem the dismay.

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