Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Portugal struggling to cope with financial horrors

Portugal is the first named in that string of nations with the sad distinction of forming the PIIGS – Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain – because they have suffered the dismal fate of being disrespected by those fine people who form the international financial services community.
So it’s interesting to have spent a few days in Lisbon and find out just how massively spirits have been depressed by this shameful state of affairs. Fear and humiliation must inevitably be the overriding emotions of those one meets on every street corner, and indeed what do they have to smile about? Balmy temperatures, sun, picturesque views, Port wine and some great cooking – how can these begin to compensate for having one’s Standard and Poor’s rating downgraded to BBB?
A Lisbon couple struggling to come to terms with the
financial catastrophe besetting their nation
How can  one feel anything but compassion for these poor unfortunates, when one belongs, as I do, to a country still enjoying a AAA rating? Ah, sterling with its power. Oh, David Cameron and his Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne – such strong, sure hands on the national tiller.
The contrast between England and Portugal could hardly be more striking. Indeed the only suprise is why there are ever anything but smiling faces in London.

Postscript. A curious street sign caught my attention in Lisbon.
A hint to George Osborne?
Is the city sending a gentle hint to our Chancellor? ‘A little more largesse, George, might not be out of place?’

That would certainly be in keeping with the spirit of this generous place. Particularly addressing such a mean-minded Chancellor.

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