It will come as a surprise to those of you who know me well that I was bullied at school; hence my shy, retiring nature… I was a fat child (my body weight index would have been headline news today) and was given the nickname of “Hale the Whale”. Today the “whales” are called PIGS, perhaps because they have lived off the fat of the land for too long.
Weight gain is as much to do with the availability of food as it is to its “gAstronomic” consumption. Some “fatties” eat in secret. They display their fat free yoghurt pot at breakfast and then scoff two bars of chocolate and a packet of crisps on the way to school. Some are aided and abetted by their parents who are rotund from their habit of over eating.
Which brings me on to “My Fat Greek Economy”. The drachma served them well. They were used to conspicuous consumption and the currency suffered as a result and helped reign in some of the excesses. Then along came the miraculous pain free weight loss pill; the euro. The problem for the Greeks was how to join up without being bullied into weight reducing economic belt tightening. The simple answer was to eat in private helped by surrogate parents; the investment banks.
So they shifted consumption out into the future to appear lean and compliant and membership was a given. They were not alone in cooking the books; the Italians had been doing this for ages and we all know that moussaka can’t hold a candle to pretty much anything from your local trattoria.
Consumption continued apace but there was no currency adjustment to maintain some semblance of reality and for a while the bullies didn’t notice the weight gain; miraculously Greek bond yields were nearly as thin as the German’s. That has all changed and the mood in the playground has turned nasty.
The school rules have been broken and Bunter is to be put on an austerity diet. He will of course go on eating secretly and will probably be expelled and the bullies will get bored and turn on some other “poor” kid. The bullies will eventually get found out and Nicholas and Gordon will have to take some of the same medicine; they too have had more than their fair share of free lunches. Meanwhile in White house the pantry is still filling up with sticky buns. Yikes!