Tuesday 24 July 2012: Olympian Heights
As a certain event looms ever closer, I pondered on the equivalent of Olympian Heights for depths, for as usual I'd like to plumb them. I could only think of Neptunian. Seems Stygian depths is the correct expression. Anyway, as panic selling of shares grips Spain, and Germany moves to 'negative outlook', an interesting little piece in the Guardian as ever. How long did the Spanish parliament spend seriously debating the pros and cons of entry into the euro? You want to know, don't you - now read on!
John Hooper remembers, because he was the Southern Europe correspondent. Shortly after the then Italian prime minister, Romano Prodi, came into office, he paid a call on his Spanish counterpart, José María Aznar. Prodi assumed that Italy and the other southern European member states would need time to adjust to the strictures of single currency membership and would therefore go into a 'B' group of later entrants. So he was shocked to find that Aznar fully intended Spain should be in the euro the start. The reason was that Aznar had found to HIS horror that Portugal was planning to be in the first group and would have relatively little difficulty meeting the criteria for entry (because it had a tiny welfare state). The whole thing became a national virility test. Spain could not be out if kid brother Portugal was in. And Italy could not be out if kid cousin Spain was in. The discourse throughout southern Europe was all about "being in the first-class carriage" and "passing the Maastricht exam".
Enough. I see that Moonrise Kingdom is still on at the Cameo; I've been informed that, 'one is at times reminded of AE Housman' (I like this). However, 'at other times, one thinks of the late 19th-century paintings of Winslow Homer'. Lumme. I think the trip home demands a detour.