From Peter Oborne @ The Telegraph – George Osborne must act before Britain is sucked into the euro whirlpool:
This is denial. The simple truth is that Greece, Ireland and Portugal are all bankrupt. Perhaps it is worth spelling out exactly what this means: however hard these countries try, and whatever austerities they impose, they will never, ever be able to pay off their debts.
In itself, this is not much of a problem – Greece and Portugal (though not Ireland) have gone bankrupt many times before, and always recovered. The tried and tested response is to default, then reschedule debts by reducing coupons (ie interest payments) and extending maturities, while allowing the national currency to depreciate so that the economy can once again become competitive.
Their membership of the eurozone, however, means that none of this can happen. There has, until recently, been an absolute determination in Frankfurt and Brussels that no European country should default. The reason for this is sobering: many leading European banks have massive exposure to the sovereign debt of these troubled countries.
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