Pedro Passos’ Dirty Work – Portugal

The treaties and the letter of intent from the IMF will go on monitoring Portugal’s public accounts and also overseeing our lives, given that we get dragged along in the wake of events.  This follows the attempts by the troika’s technocrats’ to shed some light on the decades-old tangled mess made by the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Socialist Party (PS) as they funded themselves and their friends and hid their off-budget spending, slush funds, fake public enterprises and systematic corruption from a gullible nation that asked few questions.

Download Pedro Passos’ Dirty Work (English) & A obra suja do Passos (Portuguese), by


Naturally, the troika and finance capital never intended to advance the morality of Portugal’s institutions and even less to act as archangels sent to free the Portuguese nation from the yoke of its own inept capitalists and a political class that was both culturally impoverished and famed for its corruption.  Their objective was always something more concise and practical, namely to avoid any financial meltdown which might harm “investors” or impact on the “markets”, ensuring the necessary predictability of changes in interest and exchange rates.  It has long been obvious that no-one has defended stability (across the globe) more fervently than investors and the markets.

With the electoral market up and raring to go, they are setting out everything they have on their stalls: ground sardines passed off as red mullet, yellowing cabbage leaves as if they were fresh rocket and pork suet labelled prime loin.  However, as the future is not simply about the elections on the 25th, let us turn our attention to the “clean exit” offered by our loathsome Prime Minister, Pedro Passos.

Nothing within EU countries and institutions would admit the possibility of a second bailout.  Firstly, because the wealthier countries in northern Europe were not about to take on further risks and responsibilities, especially with the elections in full swing and the electorate keeping a closer eye both on their wallets and on the promises being made by the mandarins.  Furthermore, the time is coming for a changing of the guard at the sentry boxes in Brussels and Strasbourg – but not in Frankfurt, where stability is valued most highly – and no one would be willing to even have the patience to think up the political conjuring that would frame anything other than an end to the troika episode or the bailout, whichever you prefer.

A further point to add is that a second bailout would be an admission that the policy imposed by the IMF, the European Commission and the ECB had failed and that would be a blot on the glorious careers of the likes of Barroso, Draghi and van Rampuy.  The assumption[1] of any failure by the EU would negate its supranational role and the part it plays as a means for bringing to light and disciplining cases of national madness.  Furthermore, such a defeat would come within a context where the EU is facing disdain on the left and on the right, from the northern latitudes and from countries closer to the tropics.  In addition, the fact that interest rates are much lower than two years ago would make it more difficult for the bureaucrats to defend an on-going and wide-ranging intervention like the one introduced in 2011.

His limited intellectual and political stature notwithstanding, Passos could not mention any of the above as a key factor for his speech on Sunday, May 4th.  And, bearing in mind that there are those in Portugal who buy into the idea of sovereignty, Passos closed with a “the government decided” the aforementioned clean exit but his speech was full of past untruths and misleading links between unrelated facts, coupled with the mishmash of figures and tables from the Fiscal Strategy Document (DEO), which formed the basis for his drivel.  He even had the nerve to say that 17th of May (the official date of the bailout) was “our day”.  With the DEO providing him with such enlightenment, we do not know why he did not take advantage of the Easter weekend to announce the resurrection of our sovereignty.

Keeping a straight face and strenuously guaranteeing the return of our sovereignty, the governing nomenklatura has turned a blind eye to the comments, warnings, recommendations and threats coming from any old European leader or EU civil servant.  They all have something to say – Merkel, Barroso, Dijsselbloem, Schultz, Juncker, van Rampuy, Lagarde, Draghi, the bankers, the ministers from various countries – highlighting the fact that our “escape” from the bailout is fraught with risk and goes no further than the prison yard.

Let us address straight away some of those untruths and, in particular, the on-going policy of looting our assets, our earnings and our entitlements, all of which become the ingredients for, and are used to sweeten, the banquet prepared by the neoliberals.

[1] Future dictionaries will include ‘stupidity’ among the synonyms for this word. Assunção is the name of the president of Assembleia da República



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