And so, on the 20th January, Barack Obama was officially inaugurated the new US President. I watched it live on CNN. The thing is, his election has everyone excited. His inauguration was topic discussion number 1 and even I was excited to the point of looking forward to the inauguration ceremony. There was even an inauguration party in Heidelberg. I just hate the fact that even though everyone acknowledged that "the world is watching" they kept praising America in particular. How insensitive. Now since his election has promised so much, there is tons of pressure for him to deliver. But despite this, he was so calm when he made his inauguration speech, almost like he was the Chosen One come to save everyone from certain doom. He might as well just be King Arthur who, with the support of millions of people, pulled Excalibur out of the stone. Later I saw a clip of him and Guinevere-sorry, Michelle at a party and the commentators were right: they were dancing like teenagers at a high school. Seriously, they were so relaxed it was like they were destined to become President and First Lady and that by dancing, small fortunes of a number of people will suddenly change overnight.
I'm glad to say that he's already done stuff in the first week, like lifting the ban on abortion research funding (yay!) but it also seems the American forces were happy to just missile parts of Afghanistan from Pakistan (boo!). Diplomacy is what we need, not more murder, so I hope Obama begins negotiations soon, so far everything he's done has been domestic.
I'm partly just writing this to procrastinate from Russian revision. I dunno, I've been revising quite hard and earnestly throughout January but now the exam's in a week...I'm feeling I can't put up with the effort any more. Plus I'm scared. Not of the exam itself, but being an Erasmus student I have to go back to Aberystwyth with a certain amount of credits so if I fail an exam, any exam, I'll be in trouble. So yes, I'm scared, and I'm dealing with my fears by...avoiding the problem. *sigh* I'm impossible. Tatyana has even told me that with almost nothing left to do, she's willing to help me and she's even being calm about it.
Meh, for the moment I feel like spouting opinions about Thatcher. You see, I've been researching for my Hausarbeit and the question is: Why didn't the UK join the Euro? My vague memories of the time it was being introduced only remember the various economic arguments. As always in politics, the problems did not have very much to do with economics at all. No, indeed not.
One of Thatcher's biggest blunders was managing to isolate the UK from the EC (as it was called then). She was the one to suggest that the members should get rid of the borders, reduce tax on pretty much everything and encourage a transnational free market. That in itself isn't bad, the other members realised this could be of benefit to their citizens. But later, they realised that what would make this borderless free-travelling economic market more viable and accessible (as well as controllable) was by introducing a single currency to be adopted by all member states. Maggie didn't like this.
See, her key problem was that she was so conservative and so staunchly anti-socialist that she really championed the dog-eat-dog mindset. She closed the coal mines 'cos they were a primitive industry (although in all honesty, that was bound to happen sooner or later anyway), which is something that I don't strongly oppose but it was daft that she expected the laid-off workers to just 'find jobs'. They're still suffering 'cos now entire communities have more people than available work. Then she went about privatising as much as possible: British Airways got sold off (that in itself wasn't bad), public transport became completely controlled by profit-seeking capitalists (bad idea) and the NHS cleaning staff and most car parks are independently managed, meaning patients are screwed out of clean hospitals and money to afford parking charges.
So she imagined an EC that was economically dynamic and diverse, with few economic controls on businesses, making each country and its currency a competitive unit. She was horrified when the idea for a single currency was suggested. A single currency meant all the countries had to work together, a single currency meant regulation from a supranational institution (ie. the European Bank), regulation of this currency meant the interest and exchange rates of every member country would be controlled. For her this was a nightmare. So she became practically the only opponent and a very loud one at the 1988 conference and while almost every other state became part of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, to make sure their currencies became somewhat aligned in preparation for this currency, Thatcher refused to join, meaning the UK would become singled out at almost every gathering.
*claps slowly* Thankyou Mrs Thatcher. You managed to lay the foundations for screwing your country out of a good deal, and all this while I was a baby. What does the Euro now offer? Stable rates, ease of business (and leisure) and best of all, an economy guaranteed not to collapse. Granted that 10 even 20 years ago it could easily have been badly planned and gone pear-shaped, but...come on. The members of the EMU (Monetary Union) are thriving.
Now Gordon Brown...ha! He was the nail in the coffin as to why we didn't join the Euro back in 1997-9. (That and the CJD scare.) He seems to think the pound is a strong enough currency to be a world economic player. Think again. That was the case back in the 80s when Britain was still an oil producer, now it produces practically nothing. I've found out in my research that Blair did want to join the Euro, but Brown didn't and still doesn't! Yesterday I learned £1=$1.35. Brown still claims that the economy isn't that bad, that Britain is well-placed to ride it out and that joining the Euro isn't necessary. If all of that is true then I've got red eyes and Star Trek is real.
If David Cameron does end up being the next Prime Minister, he'd better be a leader with sense. Oh! I have an idea! Since we now have 2 million unemployed, why can't those 2 million march on the Houses of Parliament and demand new general elections? As if that'll happen, the British are not very politically minded. The Germans however...