Daily Archives: November 3, 2011


Burnes Programme

I have just returned from recording a very long interview for Radio Scotland for a programme they are doing on Alexander Burnes in their series on great explorers. Just a few snippets of mine will be used in a half hour programme, but I have enormously enjoyed working with the BBC’s extremely knowledgable producer and research historian on this and I think the programme will explain why I am so enthusiastic about rescuing Burnes from obscurity. I will let you know the broadcast date.

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Euro Blackmail

Watching the international blackmail of Papandreou and Greece to cancel his referendum plan has been pretty ugly – I imagine the diplomatic style and atmosphere of the Munich conference was similar. The joy in the financial markets at the cancellation of the referndum may be foolish.

The Greeks have effectively given up all effective sovereignity over their economy. To do that without having voted on it is quite a difficult step for any people to take, particularly a people as nationalistic as the Greeks. There will be blowback.

There has been little reporting or understanding of what happened on the ground in Greece over the last week. 372 Foreign “advisers” moved in to take over Greek ministries, in some cases even sequestring minsters’ offices. They have absolute financial control of budgets and have to approve and sign off spending before money is paid out. In effect, these advisers are now the government of Greece. 28% of these “advisers” are civil servants from other Euro states. The majority are of bankers, and executives of private financial institutions, accountancy and consultancy firms.

Anybody who thinks this is going to work out is raving mad.

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