The election of Francois Hollande as President of the French Republic and the shattering of the Greek parliamentary consensus are to be welcomed ("Hollande's win signals challenge to austerity", The Herald, May 7).
But not for the reason that socialist and Nationalist left-wingers would like to believe.
The defeats of Nicolas Sarkozy and of the Greek government do not signal a beginning of the end of austerity and a triumphant return of higher public spending and borrowing.
If, in claiming to go for growth, Mr Hollande attempts to raise spending, taxes and borrowing, France's credit rating will collapse and bond yields will soar, making that borrowing eye-wateringly expensive and unsustainable.
French banks hold $710 billion (£439bn) of Club Med debt, and can take no more strain in the money markets.
The French state, even after Mr Sarkozy's cuts, still takes 55% of Gross Domestic Product, and the foreign trade current account has plunged into a deficit of 2% of GDP.
With its political commitment to the euro, France, unlike Britain, has no monetary means (adjustable interest rates, quantitative easing/tightening, flexible foreign exchange rates) by which to respond to changing economic circumstances.
If Mr Hollande goes ahead with his manifesto, France, like Greece, will be skewered. It has happened before. In 1983 Francois Mitterand ditched high spending/borrowing socialism and its delusional supporters, and stayed in office for 14 years.
We are witnessing the inexorable unravelling of the socialist big state project, as the grand designs of leftist, self-serving, metropolitan political elites founder on the unyielding rocks of economic reality.
It is happening in Scotland too. With the state taking over 60% of the economy, the Centre for Economics and Business Research has projected higher unemployment in Scotland compared with the south and east of England over the next five years ("Scotland's jobless will suffer five years of pain", The Herald, May 7).
And there is little Alex Salmond and John Swinney can do about it, least of all via their preferred model of independence based on socialism in one country.
Fortunately the economic democracy of our day-to-day voting (our savings and investments) through our agents in the money markets will in the end always trump the misguided schemes of the political class on which we are allowed to vote only once every few years.
14 Ancaster Drive,
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