When I started this blog in 2006, one of the main drivers was to discuss the intersection of business and politics. With hindsight, in the midst of a leveraged fulled boom and several years of stable Labour government in the UK, this was not a topic high on many peoples' agendas.
How much has changed since, here we are 6 years later and there is a visceral fight to the death between politicians and the markets. In Europe, populist politicians, ignorant of anything economic, have led a campaign of 'anti-austerity'. As if there is some kind of valid choice. Of course, the people are also not well informed and it is part of human nature to hope there is a better answer to all life's challenges - the cancer can be cured, the relationship saved, the house afforded etc.
But now to peddle this fantasy is a dangerous lie. There is a simple choice, repay debts or default. Promising instead 'Growth' is a nonsense. Governments cannot create growth, only can they create the environment for it. Of course, this does nto stop Governments trying, which is why the size of the state rises inexorably across European countries as Governments try to deliver on their impossible promises.
The limits of this attempt have now been discovered. Vast monies have been spent on welfare states with 50% of GDP coming from Governments who at most raise 40% in taxes. No more can this be sustained without the reductions in Government spending. This is of course very painful for the populations.
The alternative though is default and Euro exit, not some dreamland 'third way.' Thus this promise of an end to austerity is the worst kind of fantasy - lying to gain votes and then potentially tipping countries into an economic darkness for which they are unprepared. Here sits the Greek Party Syriza. Europe has a history of this, the last great depression of the 1930's also led to populist, nationalist, socialist governments to come to power. Promising people an economic fairy tale they could not deliver on.
The collapse in Greece is however, sadly, to be expected. Too far gone are the debt dynamics to save Greece and too incompetent the Government structures to be trusted with another bailout (but, yet it may come in one scenario).
With all this populist outrage across the channel, the UK has its own promoters too. The siren calls of the Labour party and its Union masters mimic the same tune - no cuts! no austerity! nothing to change! tax the rich! create growth with greater debt!
For many people, this is the nirvana mix in the current economic dark days. Why should we have worse schools, hospitals etc, why can't things be different?
Yet of course, Labour have no alternative, no different policy. Darling's predictions pre-election 2010 and Osborne's response have been similar to within a few percentage points. So this outrage is entirely manufactured - the job of opposition, perhaps one might say with a shrug of the shoulders.
The Tories for their part, with the Lib Dems, have a terrible hand to play and are doing an average job - when we needed an excellent Government. But even so, the damage caused by Labour lies is telling. The people believe in wishful fantasy alternative, not aware that Britain and Greece share many of the same, frightening, economic statistics. Only the Pound and the Printing presses (and the City, able to secure money for its host nation whilst turning a blind eye in a way that Eurozone states could not expect) keep the UK relatively afloat.
So finally, the Great Lie; The Euro. A political project without economic merit, which has sunk the periphery nations of Europe and enriched Germany and the northern states. A credible plan to end the currency area over a 2 year period is needed. The markets and economics cry out for this. Instead, Politicians proceed as if this is impossible - when even now discussing kicking out Greece. A Grexit will lead to a run on Portugal and Spain - so bad is this end that another bailout would be much cheaper. The lie though must continue, Europe is a single currency area and countries and adjust internally, even whilst demand collapses. A complete fantasy - but an acceptable one. Greeks still want Euro's, even after the tragedy it has inflicted on the Country - there we have it in pure essence, the power of political lies.