Archive | July, 2015

What did the 90s ever do for us ?

22 Jul

The 90s are like a kaleidoscope decade for me. Lots of fragments of things that just make patterns not pictures. I was 17 when the 90s started so it was a decade when I did a lot and nothing happened. Or perhaps did nothing and a lot happened, you see it’s all shards. So for a decade so close and personal to be written as cultural history is both personal and alarming. It’s not like the 70s where I can apply some reasoned perspective. Do I really need people dragging my kaleidoscope through the vomit and detritus.

I read Alwyn Turners ” A classless Society ” recently. It a big book , wonderfully compiled and Turner writes in a way that it is impossible to not keep reading. On reflection I think I needed it. Turners 90s talk of many things, of dead princesses, dubious politicians cabbages and queens. I never got Britpop, it seemed lame and weak to me, I still don’t understand “new Lad ” or whatever it was called. Wasn’t it just pretending to be ironic or in the know while remaining like Stan Boredman , and I can’t feel nostalgic for many things I completely ignored ( Oasis and Chris Evans being 2 key ones..) yet there’s a theme that runs through my kaleidoscope as well. The 90s, we had John Majors painful elongated goodbye, Tony Blairs elongated hello and ultimately not a huge amount of change. Turners conclusion is that they neither offered a lot, I tend to agree. Indeed it’s what fills the gaps that becomes interesting.┬áIf I was to sum up the decade it would be this …Channel 5. A pointless titillating and trivial thing that we could all have done without yet many felt compelled at some point to gawp at. We slowly sit eating ourselves while our leaders shake up the crystals…be gone I need to rinse my kaleidoscope.



5 Jul

By the time I finish writing this, it may all be over. There is nothing more foolish that making predictions about elections, except perhaps the rash of “expert” analysis over the current greek situation. But first..

The situation as currently presented is simple, yet many people want to simplify it further. A Government elected earlier this year on a platform to renegotiate the current financial package has tried to do just that. Now it has come to a decision point. The negotiation has produced what Hillel Steiner termed a “throffer”, it’s not really an offer its more do this or else, even though the this isn’t in your interest. So in simple terms the Government has said we don’t think its good enough, but you’re the people so you decide. Have a referendum, if you accept it then that’s your choice, if you don’t we deal with the consequences.

What is likely to happen ? Well it’s not about the Greeks place in the euro. As Varafouikas points out in The Global Minotaur, kicking Greece out of the euro will be painful and hard for the rest of the Eurozone and only put pressure on the next weakest climber. It is about the deal. If Greece vote no, it’s hardly in anyones interest to ignore that and its hardly likely their wont be a re renegotiation. The alternative is what ? repossess Athens ? If Greece vote yes the Government falls and its unclear who accepts the package without an election , and then they might re vote the Government in. Oh this could be very interesting.

However the analysis is awful. Heres just one example , Mark Lister in Wednesdays NZ Herald. An article titled ” Greek Govt plays chicken with creditors” . Well that’s an interesting angle, they are just asking the people who voted them in to agree with what they are doing, democracy it appears is a game a chicken with creditors. Lister is apparently head of private wealth research at an investment firm. So I can perhaps forgive him not understanding politics. A yes vote says Lister will see a return to normality. normality for Lister is the hideous debt restructure the Greeks are under and a further humiliation of its people. Normality for Lister is more recessions, more difficulty and further renegotiation. Lister sees no link with the recession and the troikas scheme. He also thinks that the Greeks being taught a lesson of take it or starve will ensure those pesky Irish,Portuguese or Spanish voters don’t get any ideas. His understanding of what a yes vote implies seems naive. He’s not the only one.