Things have been hotting up in Greece all day and tear gas has been used against protesters. Anti-austerity measure MPs have deserted the government benches for the Opposition, leaving them with a majority of only four. The EU has been unable to reach agreement on the second bail-out and will be meeting again on Friday 17th to try to reach a compromise.
In related news, Douglas Carswell has blogged about the true cost of the bailouts to the UK.
“It’s only a contingent liability” they told us. “Bailing out the Eurozone won’t cost us real money that might otherwise fund public services.”
Oh yes? Then why is the UK having to almost double our IMF subscription from £10.5 Billion to £19.7 Billion?
Yesterday’s draft Statutory Instrument on our International Monetary Fund (Increase in Subscription) proposes we stump up “a further subscription of 9,416,600,000 special drawing rights”. Published quietly in the House of Commons, it can’t hide the fact that that means an increase of £9.2 Billion in real money*.
Remember that next time local services are cut where you live. Think of the tax cuts we could afford with that £9.2 Billion? Or, if you prefer, of the guarantees we could give to maintain public services?
Instead that large chunk of taxpayers’ wealth is going to be used to prop up the Eurozone. Is this what the IMF is for?
We borrow money we don’t have, to pay vast subs to an organisation not designed to prop up the Eurozone, in order to keep together a monetary union we chose not to join. Who is in charge?
* – value calculated at SDR (Special Drawing Right) conversion rate of SDR1 = £0.98
Our MPs and government ministers really should have read the Lisbon Treaty before they cravenly acquiesced in its signing off. The government now finds it’s fighting a rearguard action to prevent the EU implementing rules which confer the right to demand the presence of any member-state’s finance minister. Osborne could well find himself called before the EU to explain himself and the country’s economic strategy: surveillance & monitoring. If only the government read blogs; plenty of us have been warning of this.
The European Parliament is particularly insistent that governments should have to come to Brussels to publicly justify any departure or deviation from EU guidance on how best to manage their national policies.
Under draft rules, Mr Osborne could be compelled to appear before the EU assembly’s monetary affairs committee to explain himself in an “economic dialogue” with MEPs.
UPDATE: Ruth Lea has a good article on the dilemma facing Greece/EU.