Saturday, 5 November 2011

Guide to the imploding European situation for beginners

Once upon a time (a long time ago, like, 1957, which was before even I was born) there was a group of people who got together and had a jolly good knees up and decided they should all throw their lot in to the same bag and achieve economic nirvana. 
"A problem shared is a problem halved," one of them was heard to say. 
Of course the rest of them thought this was hilarious and secretly patted themselves on the back for getting hitched to each other, thus ensuring (they believed) that no one of them would ever go down the toilet without the others coming to their rescue, albeit wearing rubber gloves and thigh-high waders.

Fast forward a few years. The original group had swollen from six original founders to some twenty seven members. Some of them came bearing gifts, some came bearing bribes, some just came full stop, all clamouring to be part of this generous love-in that guaranteed funding to those in strife, assistance to those in need, and bail-outs to those who couldn't run a bath. It was a very popular club.

Of course, as with any club, there were loads of rules and regulations that had been made up about who could join and what they had to do to gain access. But hey! Rules are meant to be broken bent, so by and large everybody was allowed to come to the party.
The new members also patted themselves on the back for managing such a feat and for being so clever about hiding their huge budget deficit holes and gaping unemployment figures, not to mention rampant inflation that was starting to make Zimbabwe look good by comparison.

Anyway. One day, one of the members of the club woke up and found that his piggy bank was empty. Not only was it empty, it was also broken so no matter how much money his chummy mates lent him (because they were all members of the same club after all), he could not store it and had to hand it out to others who lived in the same village under the promise that they would look after it for him. They took it off his hands quite happily, because their piggy banks too had suffered the same fate (although they did not tell him this).
Now, as we all know, the saying goes, "Finders, keepers. Losers, weepers," and goodness gracious did that start a torrent of tears.

Shortly after, another member of the club suffered a similar fate. All the people had been having such a grand time, they had been living a little beyond their means. Eventually - as ever - it caught up with them and bit them on the arse. The people booed and hissed and told their leader to take up golf instead. He did just that.

Of course, there were others who met a similar fate. One had been so taken with his Lego kit, constructing all manner of buildings, that when Santa failed to bring him any more for Xmas, he stomped his foot, went off in a huff and was still having a temper tantrum at the time of writing this blog post.
Yet another had taken their eye off the ball so badly whilst they tried to sort out (or not, as the case may be, parodied brilliantly here) who was actually going to run the country, that they failed to notice that banks were lending money to themselves under the pretext of shoring up their stability by buying their own shares. A bit like turning your underwear inside out and pretending that it is still clean one week on. A manoeuvre worthy of Inspector Clouseau.  

However, there were two club members who refused steadfastly to be tarnished with the same brush as all the other failures. 
The first played a natty game of charades with his fellow club members. He stood in front of them all during a very important meeting and held up one finger. "One word!" was the response. He nodded. He held up four fingers. "Four syllables!" came the reply. He nodded again. He cupped his hand to his ear. "Sounds like?" was the chorus (they were really enjoying this momentary distraction), and he proceeded to run around like a nutter, pretend to get cramp in his leg, lie prostrate on the floor and then abruptly stand up and blow a whistle.
"Foul?" one person volunteered.
"No!" he shouted back. "Ref! Ref - e - ren - dum!"
They all gave him a red card.

But the second was even better. He took everyone by surprise. "Crisis? What crisis?" he said to the masses, and cast his eye towards the clock, wondering if it was too early to suggest a pool party with lots of young girls in bikinis to distract them all from their problems.
Indeed. The saga continues.

(c) Roberto Mangosi

Yadda yadda yadda...