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Is English Politics stuck in the merde?

Three by-elections – three victories for Labour. In the 80’s that would have been cause for cheer, with visions of booting out the hated Tories.
Fast forward to today, and we have to acknowledge it’s not what it says on the tin.
For UK’s Labour, read PSOE of Spain or PASOK in Greece or the Social Democrats in Germany. Why not mention U-turn Hollande in Paris too?

The only ones crowing last night were UKIP – a decidedly nasty party which uses the BNP as a foil to say that it’s not fascist or racist, simply patriotic.

So, why did BNP activists canvass and campaign on behalf of UKIP?

The dirty little secret in the UK was that we did have a political force every bit as vile as Marie le Pen’s National Front in France and its equivalent in Holland, Italy, Hungary and Finland.

English politics can be classified so:

Far-Right: BNP & English Defence League
Hard-Right: UKIP
Right: Tories
Centre-Right: Lib-Dems & New Labour
Left: Individual Labour MP’s/activists / Greens (though
with a powerful German Greenesque cabal) &
Respect (controlled by a theocratic Right wing)

England is now shifting to the Hard Right. UKIP don’t need to win any Parliamentary seats in this rotten electoral system which discriminates against smaller parties.
UKIP has set the agenda. All parties, especially the One Nation Labour Party, is bowing down to this.
The shrill anti-immigration rhetoric of all parties is what we shall see more of before 2015. The opportunistic anti-EU budget stance of Miliband and Labour shows what’s in play.

To secure the southern English seats, Miliband will shift further to the right (while keeping to populist anti-banks slogans).
His model is France’s Francois Hollande.
Fool the Commentariat, appeal to the ‘progressive vote bank’ and let Ed Balls do a deal with the City of London.

Make no mistake, as people were fooled with Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems in 2010, they look like repeating that mistake with Ed Miliband in 2014-15 (as I did in 1997 with Tony Blair).
So, if Miliband does become PM (with help from LibDem Cable), we should except the Labour administration to follow similar hollowed out Socialists on the mainland and continue with the neo-liberal agenda of inequality in the name of efficiency.

I see no basis for a English Syriza to rise later in this decade.
There is no sign now, and precious little in its history, to show that that there is any appetite for rebellion.

Instead, I fear that an embittered England, finding it difficult coming to terms with the departing Scots, will recreate a Harsh Right tinged Identity politics.
Exclusion, forced patriotism & a backs-to-the-wall siege mentality will dictate the discourse.

After all, the background to this is the fact the UK is one of the most highly indebted states on this planet where its elite refuses to re-invent the state into a peaceful European entity.
The Greeks continued to spend on armaments even while the economy was tanking.
England continues the same (spending almost twice as much per head as most of Europe). Imperial delusions and a servile relationship with the USA demand that the only strategy is for obeisance to the City of London and sacrificing the working classes and the Precariat.
The welfare state has no protectors in any of the mainstream parties. There are some startling similarities between the Spanish and English elite.
Both are now looking to drive down the economy and make it Low-Cost.
Both are counting on the majority to meekly allow this social and economic engineering to reach its conclusion.
In Iberia, it looks like the rebellion will manifest itself in independence movements and the final break up of Imperial Spain.
On this island, the Scots will leave eventually.
What then for the English?

Is Mondragon a real alternative to Kapitalism?

There is no alternative (“Tina”) to capitalism?

Really? We are to believe, with Margaret Thatcher, that an economic system with endlessly repeated cycles, costly bailouts for financiers and now austerity for most people is the best human beings can do? Capitalism’s recurring tendencies toward extreme and deepening inequalities of income, wealth, and political and cultural power require resignation and acceptance – because there is no alternative?

I understand why such a system’s leaders would like us to believe in Tina. But why would others?

Of course, alternatives exist; they always do. Every society chooses – consciously or not, democratically or not – among alternative ways to organize the production and distribution of the goods and services that make individual and social life possible.

Modern societies have mostly chosen a capitalist organization of production. In capitalism, private owners establish enterprises and select their directors who decide what, how and where to produce and what to do with the net revenues from selling the output. This small handful of people makes all those economic decisions for the majority of people – who do most of the actual productive work. The majority must accept and live with the results of all the directorial decisions made by the major shareholders and the boards of directors they select. This latter also select their own replacements.

Capitalism thus entails and reproduces a highly undemocratic organization of production inside enterprises. Tina believers insist that no alternatives to such capitalist organizations of production exist or could work nearly so well, in terms of outputs, efficiency, and labor processes. The falsity of that claim is easily shown. Indeed, I was shown it a few weeks ago and would like to sketch it for you here.

In May 2012, I had occasion to visit the city of Arrasate-Mondragon, in the Basque region of Spain. It is the headquarters of the Mondragon Corporation (MC), a stunningly successful alternative to the capitalist organization of production.

MC is composed of many co-operative enterprises grouped into four areas: industry, finance, retail and knowledge.
In each enterprise, the co-op members (averaging 80-85% of all workers per enterprise) collectively own and direct the enterprise.
Through an annual general assembly the workers choose and employ a managing director and retain the power to make all the basic decisions of the enterprise (what, how and where to produce and what to do with the profits).

As each enterprise is a constituent of the MC as a whole, its members must confer and decide with all other enterprise members what general rules will govern MC and all its constituent enterprises. In short, MC worker-members collectively choose, hire and fire the directors, whereas in capitalist enterprises the reverse occurs.
One of the co-operatively and democratically adopted rules governing the MC limits top-paid worker/members to earning 6.5 times the lowest-paid workers.
Nothing more dramatically demonstrates the differences distinguishing this from the capitalist alternative organization of enterprises. (In US corporations, CEOs can expect to be paid 400 times an average worker’s salary – a rate that has increased 20-fold since 1965.)

Given that MC has 85,000 members (from its 2010 annual report), its pay equity rules can and do contribute to a larger society with far greater income and wealth equality than is typical in societies that have chosen capitalist organizations of enterprises. Over 43% of MC members are women, whose equal powers with male members likewise influence gender relations in society different from capitalist enterprises.

MC displays a commitment to job security I have rarely encountered in capitalist enterprises: it operates across, as well as within, particular cooperative enterprises. MC members created a system to move workers from enterprises needing fewer to those needing more workers – in a remarkably open, transparent, rule-governed way and with associated travel and other subsidies to minimize hardship. This security-focused system has transformed the lives of workers, their families, and communities, also in unique ways.

The MC rule that all enterprises are to source their inputs from the best and least-costly producers – whether or not those are also MC enterprises – has kept MC at the cutting edge of new technologies. Likewise, the decision to use of a portion of each member enterprise’s net revenue as a fund for research and development has funded impressive new product development. R&D within MC now employs 800 people with a budget over $75m. In 2010, 21.4% of sales of MC industries were new products and services that did not exist five years earlier. In addition, MC established and has expanded Mondragon University; it enrolled over 3,400 students in its 2009-2010 academic year, and its degree programs conform to the requirements of the European framework of higher education. Total student enrollment in all its educational centers in 2010 was 9,282.

The largest corporation in the Basque region, MC is also one of Spain’s top ten biggest corporations (in terms of sales or employment). Far better than merely surviving since its founding in 1956, MC has grown dramatically. Along the way, it added a co-operative bank, Caja Laboral (holding almost $25bn in deposits in 2010). And MC has expanded internationally, now operating over 77 businesses outside Spain. MC has proven itself able to grow and prosper as an alternative to – and competitor of – capitalist organizations of enterprise.

During my visit, in random encounters with workers who answered my questions about their jobs, powers, and benefits as cooperative members, I found a familiarity with and sense of responsibility for the enterprise as a whole that I associate only with top managers and directors in capitalist enterprises. The easy conversation (including disagreement), for instance, between assembly-line workers and top managers inside the Fagor washing-machine factory we inspected was similarly remarkable.

Our MC host on the visit reminded us twice that theirs is a co-operative business with all sorts of problems:

“We are not some paradise, but rather a family of co-operative enterprises struggling to build a different kind of life around a different way of working.”

Nonetheless, given the performance of Spanish capitalism these days – 25% unemployment, a broken banking system, and government-imposed austerity (as if there were no alternative to that either) – MC seems a welcome oasis in a capitalist desert.

This article was written by Richard Wolff in the Guardian earlier in 2012.

Greek Society is crumbling

This article from the Big Story is painful to read. But we must.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A sign taped to a wall in an Athens hospital appealed for civility from patients. “The doctors on duty have been unpaid since May,” it read, “Please respect their work.”

Patients and their relatives glanced up briefly and moved on, hardened to such messages of gloom. In a country where about 1,000 people lose their jobs each day, legions more are still employed but haven’t seen a paycheck in months. What used to be an anomaly has become commonplace, and those who have jobs that pay on time consider themselves the exception to the rule.

To the casual observer, all might appear well in Athens. Traffic still hums by, restaurants and bars are open, people sip iced coffees at sunny sidewalk cafes. But scratch the surface and you find a society in free-fall, ripped apart by the most vicious financial crisis the country has seen in half a century.

It has been three years since Greece’s government informed its fellow members in the 17-country group that uses the euro that its deficit was far higher than originally reported. It was the fuse that sparked financial turmoil still weighing heavily on eurozone countries. Countless rounds of negotiations ensued as European countries and the International Monetary Fund struggled to determine how best to put a lid on the crisis and stop it spreading.

The result: Greece had to introduce stringent austerity measures in return for two international rescue loan packages worth a total of €240 billion ($313 billion), slashing salaries and pensions and hiking taxes.

The reforms have been painful, and the country faces a sixth year of recession.

Life in Athens is often punctuated by demonstrations big and small, sometimes on a daily basis. Rows of shuttered shops stand between the restaurants that have managed to stay open. Vigilantes roam inner city neighborhoods, vowing to “clean up” what they claim the demoralized police have failed to do. Right-wing extremists beat migrants, anarchists beat the right-wing thugs and desperate local residents quietly cheer one side or the other as society grows increasingly polarized.

Our society is on a razor’s edge,” Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said recently, after striking shipyard workers broke into the grounds of the Defense Ministry. “If we can’t contain ourselves, if we can’t maintain our social cohesion, if we can’t continue to act within the rules … I fear we will end up being a jungle.”

CRUMBLING LIVING STANDARDS

Vassilis Tsiknopoulos, runs a stall at Athens’ central fish market and has been working since age 15. He used to make a tidy profit, he says, pausing to wrap red mullet in a paper cone for a customer. But families can’t afford to spend much anymore, and many restaurants have shut down.

The 38-year-old fishmonger now barely breaks even.

“I start work at 2:30 a.m. and work ’till the afternoon, until about 4 p.m. Shouldn’t I have something to show for that? There’s no point in working just to cover my costs. … Tell me, is this a life?”

The fish market’s president, Spyros Korakis, says there has been a 70 percent drop in business over the past three years. Above the din of fish sellers shouting out prices and customers jostling for a better deal, Korakis explained how the days of big spenders were gone, with people buying ever smaller quantities and choosing cheaper fish.

Private businesses have closed down in the thousands. Unemployment stands at a record 25 percent, with more than half of Greece’s young people out of work. Caught between plunging incomes and ever increasing taxes, families are finding it hard to make ends meet. Higher heating fuel prices have meant many apartment tenants have opted not to buy heating fuel this year. Instead, they’ll make do with blankets, gas heaters and firewood to get through the winter. Lines at soup kitchens have grown longer.

At the end of the day, as the fish market gradually packed up, a beggar crawled around the stalls, picking up the fish discarded onto the floor and into the gutters.

“I’ve been here since 1968. My father, my grandfather ran this business,” Korakis said. “We’ve never seen things so bad.”

Tsiknopoulos’ patience is running out.

“I’m thinking of shutting down,” he said, “I think about it every day. That, and leaving Greece.”

JUSTICE

On a recent morning in a crowded civil cases court in the northern city of Thessaloniki, frustration simmered. Plaintiffs, defendants and lawyers all waited for the inevitable — yet another postponement, yet another court date.

Greece’s sclerotic justice system has been hit by a protracted strike that has left courts only functioning for an hour a day as judges and prosecutors protest salary cuts.

For Giorgos Vacharelis, it means his long quest for justice has grown longer. Vacharelis’ younger brother was beaten to death in a fairground in 2003. The attacker was convicted of causing a fatal injury and jailed. The family felt the reasons behind the 24-year-old’s death had never been fully explained, and filed a civil suit for damages. Nearly 10 years later, Vacharelis and his parents had hoped the case would finally be over.

But the court date they were given in late September got caught up the strike. Now they have a new date: Feb. 28, 2014.

“This means more costs for them, but above all more psychological damage because each time they go through the murder of their relative again,” said Nikos Dialynas, the family’s lawyer.

Vacharelis and his family are in despair.

“If a foreigner saw how the justice system works in Greece, he would say we’re crazy,” said the 35-year-old.

“Each time we come to court we get even more outraged,” he said. “We see a theater of the absurd.”

VIGILANTES

In September, gangs of men smashed immigrant street vendors’ stalls at fairs and farmers’ markets. Videos posted on the Internet showed the incident being carried out in the presence of lawmakers from the extreme right Golden Dawn party. Formerly a fringe group, Golden Dawn — which denies accusations it has carried out violent attacks against immigrants — made major inroads into mainstream politics. It won nearly 7 percent of the vote in June’s election and 18 seats in the 300-member parliament. A recent opinion poll showed its support climbing to 12 percent.

Immigrant and human rights groups say there has been an alarming increase in violent attacks on migrants. Greece has been the EU’s main gateway for hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants — and foreigners have fast become scapegoats for rising unemployment and crime.

While there are no official statistics, migrants tell of random beatings at the hands of thugs who stop to ask them where they are from, then attack them with wooden bats.

Assaults have been increasing since autumn 2010, said Spyros Rizakos, who heads Aitima, a human rights group focusing on refugees. Victims often avoid reporting beatings for fear of running afoul of the authorities if they are in the country illegally, while perpetrators are rarely caught or punished even if the attacks are reported.

“Haven’t we learned anything from history? What we are seeing is a situation that is falling apart, the social fabric is falling apart,” Rizakos said. “I’m very concerned about the situation in Greece. There are many desperate people … All this creates an explosive cocktail.”

In response to pressure for more security and a crackdown on illegal migration, the government launched a police sweep in Athens in early August. By late October, police had rounded up nearly 46,000 foreigners, of whom more than 3,600 were arrested for being in the country illegally.

Police say that in the first two months of the operation, there was also a 91 percent drop in the numbers of migrants entering the country illegally along the northeastern border with Turkey, with 1,338 migrants arrested in the border area compared to 14,724 arrested during the same two months in 2011.

HEALTHCARE

At a demonstration by the disabled in central Athens, tempers were rising.

Healthcare spending has been slashed as the country struggles to reduce its debt. Public hospitals complain of shortages of everything from gauzes to surgical equipment. Pharmacies regularly go on strike or refuse to fill subsidized social security prescriptions because government funds haven’t paid them for the drugs already bought. Benefits have been slashed and hospital workers often go unpaid for months.

And it is the country’s most vulnerable who suffer.

“When the pharmacies are closed and I can’t get my insulin, which is my life for me, what do I do? … How can we survive?” asked Voula Hasiotou, a member of an association of diabetics who turned out for the rally.

The disabled still receive benefits on a sliding scale according to the severity of their condition. But they are terrified they could face cuts, and are affected anyway by general spending cuts and the pharmacy problems.

“We are fighting hard to manage something, a dignified life,” said Anastasia Mouzakiti, a paraplegic who came to the demonstration from the northern city of Thessaloniki with her husband, who is also handicapped.

With extra needs such as wheelchairs and home help for everyday tasks such as washing and dressing, many of Greece’s disabled are struggling to make ends meet, Mouzakiti said.

“We need a wheelchair until we die. This wheelchair, if it breaks down, how do we pay for it? With what money?”

___

Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki, Greece contributed to this story.

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These countries won’t exist by 2020…..

One of the biggest casualties of the Great Crisis (set to get worse over the next 3 years) could be the Westphalian system of nation states – this notion of nation states was solidified after the bloody Thirty Years War in Europe.

The outcome will not be just lurches to the Right or Left. It will lead to the biggest fragmentation of Europe since 1918 as empires collapsed after WW1 (Austro-Hungarian, German and Russian)
On top of financial and economic crises, we have a situation of permanent resource war in the Middle East, Africa and Asia including the ‘containment of China’, the war on Muslim states, the Maoist rebelion in India & independence movements in the Seven Sister states bordering China,  the ‘opening up of Myanmar’, the battle between (and within) Latin America and the Yankee North…..

So, let’s prepare for a new World where the following states will fragment/break up (and while a rump may retain the name, it will be far smaller in size than today) and the ‘original’ will only exist in history, nostalgia and our imagination:

United Kingdom

Spain

France

Italy

Belgium

Rumania

Libya

Syria

Iraq

Congo

Pakistan

India

Myanmar

Mexico

Colombia

Phillipines

Saudi Arabia

Jordan

UAE

Qatar

 

We have had a Thirty Years War in our lifetime – that of ‘Globalisation’ or as I see it ‘Amercanisation’ where borders were weakened in a free for all for multinationals and finance.

The casualties are everywhere: hollowed out industries in the Western economies, peoples and states bulldozed in petrodollar wars… a billion or is it two in urban slums… climate ravaged regions…

The result: this is the decade of fragmentation.

UK PLC 2017: worst case scenario

As the London Olympics gathers pace, I might momentarily forget about its utter commercialism and corruption and financial mismanagement (what else would you call a bid for £2.4 billion and an ultimate cost of £11 billion?).

Am tempted to see the Olympic flame go past in North London on the 25th of July. In other words, it’s a sport after all, isn’t it?

And Olympic fever will ultimately take over with wall to wall media coverage. And why not?

It might be the last piece of ‘good news’ before the hangover after the night before.

I will return to this theme regularly as it’s something most of us seem to be ignoring:

a) what happens if the Scots do vote to take the first step to independence? Beyond a few weeks of commentariat unease over the date of the referendum (2013 or Bannockburn year of 2014), it’s not an unspoken issue among political parties and movements in the South, i.e. England.

It will be an utter shock to the elite. Three centuries of domination and then, suddenly, ‘separation’ or ‘national liberation’ (take your pick)… it’s not something to just shrug off.

The entire thorny problem of English identity, nationhood and culture needs to be addressed.

I am worried it will be hijacked by the Right while the Centre-Right (New Labour) will mouth measly platitudes to be tough on immigration (as Miliband kicked off recently) and ‘celebrate’ English history in a wholly artificial (go and do some street parties) setting.

It will be a profound shock as “losing India” in 1947. A collective depression among the elite.

Surely, London will have to give up the seat at the UN Security Council?

And can the English Army continue to follow the Pentagon all over the world?

Purpose, character and direction: these will have to be decided. What is England for?

b) Sterling is sitting pretty as the Euro slowly implodes. One can almost feel the complacency among the elite and even much of the population as they calculate how far sterling will go in the holidays.

Yet, isn’t sterling vulnerable? It collapsed 30% after Lehman.

Where will it go if there is another banking collapse?

Isn’t UK PLC one of the most indebted of the major European nations with £1 Trillion in the red?

Does London think that Paris, Berlin, Rome and more will just sit back and let England (and the rest) bask in new glory and prosperity as capital flees to London?

Isn’t  the lop-sided English economy (over reliant on bankrupt banks) in danger of falling over?

The propaganda about financial services, invisible exports, creative ‘industries’, university education, tourism……. taking us to a post-industrial paradise…. well, you believe if you want to…. …. with the Norwegians saving North Sea Oil to form a gigantic sovereign fund while England has.. zip.. (no fund at all)…. I would say “London, we have a problem”.

Sterling and the entire business model of betting all on the City of London look like they could take a beating.

By 2017, we could be facing ruin with all its side effects of civil strife.

The 1970s will look like a stroll in the park, though that decade (with its hangover after the boom party of the 1960s) can teach us a lot about how delusions turn to dust.

The worst case scenario by 2017 could therefore include:

  • sterling crisis
  • City of London and the banks falling apart
  • UK breaks up as Scotland leaves
  • Civil unrest as youth unemployment reaches Southern European levels

Impossible? No.

Likely? Don’t know.

But that’s the whole point of looking at scenarios. Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best

Now, look at the ‘debate’ around and see just how the entire political class and intelligentsia are skirting the edges and refusing to ask the tough questions.

Instead, the Tory-Lib Right use the crisis to roll back the 1945 post war settlement while New Labour posture with the same thing (but over a longer time period expecting to get to power and then announce that the books were in worst shape than they thought and …..)

And did I mention the non-existent debate about climate change? Why bother?

It went out the window along with carbon trading as the investment banks saw that ‘opportunity’ disappear.

Athens had its Olympics in 2004 and had no idea of what was just around the corner.
London has a similar feel.

They used to say: don’t mention the war.

Now, it’s almost: don’t mention the collapse. It’s too painful to contemplate.

 

 

Let’s have an inquiry re Labour’s “light touch” let off for the City

The Tories want a quick, easily forgotten inquiry into LIBOR-fixing by twenty banks.

Labour want a long public inquiry about ” the culture of banking”

Why have an inquiry? Do a street poll and the majority of people will tell you that the ‘casino bankers” are vultures, preying on them.

Instead, Ed Balls and co could explain their 13 years of light-touch regulation and how they kow-towed to the City of London, and even gloated about it as how ‘successful economies’ should be run.

Either, take a radical approach and restructure the economy.

Or, have your own internal debate about why Labour = PASOK and Spain’s PSOE and why reform needs to start within the Labour Party now before they become irrelevant later on this decade.

Naturally, this is exactly the opposite of what will happen. The ‘strategists’ will bask in the glory of high opinion poll numbers and tinker with messages, sounding a little bit radical (with absolutely no intention to follow through when they are back in power).

Politics in this island needs a shakeup, to allow genuine debate. And choice.

I will be hopeful when the intellectual self-styled ‘progressives’ start their ‘mea culpas’ and ditch the Miliband/Balls charade, demanding that Labour rip up their out-of-date nineties mantra and look around them… the world has changed.

PASOK & PSOE have belatedly realised they are ‘yesterday’s men’. Labour are doing their best to join them.

 

 

 

The end of Spain?

No, this is not about Euro2012. It is, however, about the Euro.

The Austrian Finance Minister shifted ground yesterday suggesting that the austerity policies would be disastrous and that ‘we need to learn the lessons of the 1930s’, referring to the rise of the Far Right and war.

No one seems to be looking at another option: fragmentation.

While European countries are happy to join with the US in splitting up countries in the Middle East and Africa: Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Somalia, they are more coy when it comes to the ‘Old Continent’.

The austerity madness will cause lasting impacts and it is perhaps too late to change course and expect things to get back to the ‘happy days’ of 2005.

The short run should see an enormous use of monetary firepower by Germany, Northern Europe and France to ‘save Spain’. This will perhaps calm market jitters (actually, they are not scared at all but profiting from speculation, but that’s another story). Saving Spain (i.e. the banks) would still mean rising unemployment for the rest of 2012.

But by November, Syriza should be able to remove the discredited austerity/bailout parties and pull out of the Euro.

That would mean Spain and others such as Portugal leaving the Euro in 2013.

The entire Madrid project post Franco has been about joining the big boys at the high table. Democracy for dollars, as in highways, loans and investment.

The fall of the Berlin Wall took the Germans out of the equation as they looked east.

Madrid carelessly decided to do what all Iberian elites have done since Columbus started the rape and pillage of ‘America’: spend not invest, start a property boom rather than construct decent housing for the majority and completely ignore the need to industrialise with clean technology. The latter was done through subsidies and there are good companies such as the Basque Gamesa but no foundations were laid for a Northern European style economy.

Nationalists were kept at bay by the facade of ‘prosperity’ and the presence of ETA – a godsend to rightwing nationalists in Madrid who could present themselves as defenders of the Realm.

Now that war is over. The economy is in tatters. The concept of Spain is being challenged.

Suddenly, nationalists (especially to the Left) in the Basque country and Catalonia are demanding separation on ‘economic grounds’, not just for historical or linguistic reasons.

If Spain is ejected form the Euro in 2013, then Madrid will find that the centrifugal forces, so long kept bottled up by dictatorship or by the bribery of democracy & dinero, will split apart the state.

There may well be far-right nationalism but that is likely to come from PP, no the independence movement in Euskal Herria and Catalunya.

Instead, expect to see the rise of Left-wing nationalism that attacks the core idea of the Banker’s charter (Americanisation/globalisation) yet wants to join Europe (as Syriza does).

Later on this decade, there will still be something called ‘Spain but it will be without its two industrialised regions which will leave and look North to Berlin and outwards to Latin America and Asia.

Spain without the Basques and the Catalans would be even poorer than today unless,  and this is difficult to see how, there is a seachange in outlook towards the Indignados rather than PP/PSOE.

Already, the Latin Americans are factoring in a downgrade in Spanish power by challenging Madrid over Repsol and other ‘untouchable’ Blue-Chip companies.

Madrid is on the edge of an abyss. The right-wing can forget about the 1930s. In that sense, Iberia is different. There will no longer be any armed conflict. The house of cards is set to collapse.

Bread, not guns, is deciding the future.

Saving the banks is destroying the viability of European states.