I have been giving this Fiscal Treaty thing some thought during the week.
Of course you all assume I will just vote No because of my anti EU/Euro stance in the past, but that isn’t necessarily so. I generally vote on merit and try to give each side a chance.
I received the booklet the other day. I found it sitting in a puddle on the porch floor [remind me to fix the porch roof sometime….] and did my best to read it.
It was not easy. First of all there are five pages of a preamble [which frankly was more of a ramble] where every paragraph started with a “Noting” [9 of them] or a “Recalling” [6 of them] with a few “Stressing” thrown in for good measure. Then we have nine pages of “Articles” which seems to be the meat on the bone.
The document is the dictionary definition of obfuscation.
Now from what I can gather, this treaty is about financial housekeeping. I like to reduce problems to a simplified level that is easier to understand, so I will reintroduce my bank manager here.
My bank manager has the power to suggest to me certain limits on my borrowing and spending based on my earning capacity. That’s fair enough. I can chose to ignore his advice, but he then has the power to adjust my overdraft limit or to change my credit rating within the bank. That is all perfectly normal stuff.
What the treaty proposes is that my bank manager will have an actual law built into my house deeds that I have to stick to whatever borrowing and spending limits he decides, and that if I stray outside those limits I will be liable for stiff punishment in the form of fines. Furthermore, he [and only he] will have the power to change those limits any time he sees fit, and there is nothing I can do about it.
This is pretty worrying stuff, as there is an added complication. You see, my bank also holds accounts for a few big companies and a couple of millionaires, and by the nature of the bank, the borrowing and spending limits that I have to adhere to will be the same limits as applied to the companies and the rich lot. If he reckons the millionaires are spending too much he can change the limits even though they will crucify me.
One thing I have to remember is that the banks limits are roughly the same limits that I had to follow in order to open an account in the first place. The rules worked well enough then, but unfortunately they were arranged to suit the companies and the millionaires and as a result I ended up with pots of money which naturally enough Herself spent. This ended in tears of course and now the bank is demanding that I pay back all that cash even though it only leaves me with a couple of quid a month to feed the family and pay the bills. and ignoring the fact that Herself ran up the debt and not me. I have had to take virtually all my savings just to bail her out of her mess. Financially, I am crippled.
So, my problem is this.
Do I allow the bank put that law into the deeds of my house, in which case the bank will continue to lend me money, or do I tell them to fuck themselves and tell them I will go it alone and that I can always borrow off someone else? In fact, rich Uncle Imf has already stated that I can tap him for a few quid if necessary.
The way I look at it is that I spent many many years struggling hard to claim the deeds of my property. Do I want to effectively hand them over to my bank? No. I don’t. Apart from anything else, my bank is on pretty shaky foundations at the moment and could collapse at any time.
You could suggest that I change banks, but the Bank of Euro is the only one around at the moment. I could try to re-join my old bank – the Bank of Punt, but they were disbanded many years ago.
So would these new banking rules suit me?
For a start they will still be modified to suit the millionaires and the big companies so I would like a bit of flexibility there. They won’t allow that though – they make the rules and I have to abide by them. And it is one rule for all. That is worrying.
Also they are the same rules which effectively got me into the mess I’m in now, so they aren’t exactly in my interest, are they?
And if I refuse to accept their new rules, the bank says that I will get no more cash. But is that likely to happen? The chances are that I will have to borrow again seeing as I have been forced to pay all my income to the companies and millionaires, so what will happen then? Frankly I don’t believe the bank. If I am forced into the gutter, the bank will get a pretty poor reputation and they don’t want that, so they will have to lend me the cash just to save themselves. They know as well as I know, that if I go, they go too.
Does this new system suit me or the bank? That one is easy – it suits the bank and I would just have to obey orders even if the bank changes their rules again.
So what it all boils down to is this –
Do I hand my deeds to the bank and hope they know what they are doing? At least I could relax knowing that they might [and I stress might] lend me in the future?
Or to I retain what shreds of dignity I have left and go my own way – still keeping as close to the banks rules as possible but allowing myself that extra flexibility that the small account of a pensioner needs? They say that borrowing in the future could be a problem but frankly I am sure they are wrong. I never had a solidly guaranteed source of loans in the past, and I have borrowed enough in my time, so why should I need a
cast iron guaranteed vaguely promised loan now?
I think on balance I will retain my dignity. My bank manager has been a right cunt over the last few years; lending me money but bitching every step of the way and not allowing me to write a cheque until they have cleared it first. Do I want a lifetime of that?
And that’s the way I will vote.