I wonder how many of you have ever tried line dancing. It is something that has clearly existed in Ireland and Scotland for some time since it was exported to the USA. The descendant form now appears to be the domain of men with large cowboy hats, boots and spurs whilst the women wear gingham dresses, shawls and sensible shoes. Which is all beside the point.
How it works is that lines are formed of people facing each other, so that partnering men and women face each other in nice, neat well spaced lines of men and women respectively. They then step forward, link arms at the elbow, twirl each other round, then with the free arm link in to the next dance partner and find their way back to respective rows of men and women. There is a bit of shuffling about then they do it all over again.
Has anybody noticed French European Union politics over the last few weeks? It looks just like a line dance. Until a moment ago François Hollande appeared to be dancing with southern European partners, but in the last few days he appears to have linked elbows with Angela Merkel and is calling for a deepening of the economic and monetary union that will be discussed at the end of the year that he now considers a first step in the right direction. He previously championed joint ‘Eurobonds’ that would drive down borrowing costs for weaker eurozone countries since guarantors would include the strongest states. In other words, Germany would foot the biggest bit of the bill. He is reported as having said: “This deepening must allow us to put in place instruments of solidarity. Ultimately, I think the budgetary union should evolve towards debt mutualisation”.
He also said: “There is an agreement that the European Stability Mechanism, in cooperation with the European Central Bank, can intervene to reduce the interest rate for sovereign debts when they become prohibitive.” In other words, he was sending out signals that he is now in favour of debt buybacks. They would help ease Spain and Italy’s financial misery. In other words, he still had not forgotten who his last partner was in the line dance.
In fact, looking at the line dance a little closer, in the midst of the dancers is one who is still arm outstretched to his last partner whilst linked and twirling with the new. This is not an experienced line dancer. If he gets out of step the lines get in a mess and if he falls over his feet he is likely to bring down a lot of other dancers. So, whilst you practice your dozey-does François, just remember what the rules of the dance are. When you take the arm of one partner, let that of the other go.