On Tuesday, plastic bullets outside parliament. On Thursday, the announcement of more gigantic cuts. After which, there will be more protests and more plastic bullets. After which, there will be more cuts. But this is a spiral, not a cycle.
A spiral, and yet every week is the same: a week of waiting, by the activists as much as everybody else, for what everybody knows is going to happen. You can call it cuts, or bailouts, or whatever term you choose, but those terms have been leached of meaning by their overuse and their misapplication. Endless and self-defeating cuts are not cuts at all: baillouts that drown their beneficiaries in debt are no bailouts. What they are, is punishment. How could it be otherwise? If you want to kick people, you must first convince yourself they deserve to be kicked. Mot that this is hard to do.
This week, the kicking was a literal one, for a number of our protestors: but we spent it waiting, as we spend every week waiting, for the kick we know is bound to come. A kick that we will have asked for - literally, the government of Spain will be obliged to ask for it, though the asking is the asking of a child being sat on by a bully. But this is an age of bully-worship. And we marvel at the patience of the bully.
I had a strange thought, this last week, while I was working, while I was waiting. I was thinking that in Ireland, where the corruption and the role of finance were particularly evident, the story was that "we all partied". Everybody was guilty, at least according to those who were more guilty than most. But here, where the problem is, in part, the relation between the Southern and the Northern states and their economies, there is no sharing of responsibility. The partying was ours, and the responsibility was ours, alone. We blew it all on airports. There was a bubble, but it was only the Spanish who were doing any blowing.
I got home, after this last week working in Zaragoza, and caught up on Krugman, binged on the columns I had missed during the week.
They all partied. There is no division between innocent Northern European investors and crooked Spanish banks. They were doing the same things and each knew what they and the other were doing. The moral argument in nonsense. It is a lie.
But it doesn't matter. There is no truth so powerful as a lie that suits. And the more important truth is that only the poor are ever guilty. Only the weak are ever at fault.
We are very weak right now. And we are going to be poor.