Friday, 8 April 2011

How to help the Portuguese

The main story on BBC News this morning was that 'Portugal' has officially requested a bailout. By which they mean the Portuguese government.

Daniel Hannan has posted a great article on the subject:

Can we please stop referring to what is happening as “assisting Portugal”? I’m enormously and sentimentally Lusophile, and if I thought that a loan would help, I’d be all for it. No alliance on the planet has endured as has the 700-year league between England and Portugal. The Portuguese defied Bonaparte in the name of our friendship, and even entered the First World War for our sake. They joined EFTA when we did, and followed us (ruinously, it now turns out) into the EU.

Yet it cannot be stressed too strongly that the Portuguese did not want this bailout. They resisted the pressure from Frankfurt and Brussels for as long as they could. They know perfectly well what ceding control of their economy means: the loans will end up in the pockets of European bankers and bondholders, the repayment will come from Portuguese taxpayers. The EU isn’t rescuing Portugal; Portugal is being sacrificed to rescue the euro.

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