The Portuguese people have put up with one draconian package after another – with longer working hours, 7pc pay cuts, tax rises, an erosion of pensions, etc – all amounting to a net fiscal squeeze of 10.4 of GDP so far in cyclically-adjusted terms. (It will ultimately be 15pc).
They have protested peacefully, in marked contrast to the Greeks, even though the latest poll by the Catholic University shows that 87pc are losing faith in Portugal’s democracy.
Same goes for Spain, where there’s talk of independence for Catalonia, which has brought a sharp response from the Spanish military:
First we have the robust comments of Colonel Francisco Alaman comparing the crisis to 1936 and vowing to crush Catalan nationalists, described as “vultures”.
“Independence for Catalonia? Over my dead body. Spain is not Yugoslavia or Belgium. Even if the lion is sleeping, don’t provoke the lion, because he will show the ferocity proven over centuries,” he said.
At the heart of the EU, however, optimism reigns.
…the fundamental doubts about the preservation of the euro have been removed. This change in mood is due to ECB chief Mario Draghi. With his announcement on “unlimited” bond purchases, he has made it clear that the euro will survive.
And according to ZeroHedge:
It is no surprise in this context that Europe, which is increasingly becoming wary of Germany, has fully backed Obama, and his particular approach to “wealth redistribution” by promising, as was noted previously, that it would not make waves until he is reelected.
There seems to be accord among EU leaders. They’re standing together to preserve the euro and the EU (and Obama). To this end, the peoples of Greece, Spain, Portugal (and probably a few other countries as well) are having ever-deepening austerity measures imposed on them by their europhile leaders (and supposedly representatives). How long can it go on? How long can people endure being made poorer and poorer simply to sustain the euro and the EU?
It’s not that the leaders themselves suffer in the least bit. I read a report somewhere a few days back that Spain’s Rajoy and accompanying officials, off on a jaunt to see a football match somewhere, consumed seven bottles of wine and a few beers on the flight back.
I’m beginning to think that it will all be decided on the streets of Greece and Spain and Portugal, with governments being overthrown. Everywhere across Europe, little by little, it’s becoming the people versus their EU governments.
On a more humdrum note, my tobacco plants have reached the window soffit.
They can’t grow any higher, so I’m wondering whether to harvest them (and hang them up upside down like Harley suggests), and let some of the smaller plants get a month or two in which to grow in their place. Or to trim the tops off them, and leave them to carry on growing. They still haven’t flowered – unlike my pepper plants, which flowered a month or so back, and are now sporting a few small green peppers. Suggestions welcomed.