THE euroland crisis is the result of monumental government failure in the EU, UK and USA ("Cameron urges eurozone to act now and prevent financial disaster", The Herald May 17, and Letters, May 14, 15 & 16).

A state has four basic functions which realistically only it can perform:

n As monopoly supplier of money and of the power to tax, it must pursue sober monetary and fiscal policies to defend the value of the nation's currency.

n As monopoly supplier, it must uphold the rule of law to defend individual freedom, the sanctity of private property and market exchange, without all of which we would slip into totalitarianism.

n As monopoly supplier, it must defend the nation against external and internal threat to our liberal capitalist way of life.

n It must ensure those means which give citizens a similar starting opportunity to make something of their lives: rigorous but varied education; public health; and the avoidance of degradation, but not of exploitation of the natural and man-made environment.

Who can convincingly argue that the state has carried out these basic functions efficiently and successfully over the last 50 years and, in particular, over the last decade? Notwithstanding the fact that many bankers have behaved utterly dishonourably with the easy credit and incompetent regulation that governments put at their disposal, it is intellectually lazy to heap all the blame on them and the great international capitalist conspiracy.

It is naive of Labour to expect self-serving politicians to overhaul the global banking system when they cannot even perform their own unique national tasks with a semblance of competence. They are in cloud-cuckoo land if Green socialists think that the UK, with 63 million people living on a small island in the damp and cold north Atlantic, can be turned into a society resembling that of the Pennsylvania Amish. It is a cruel delusion that SNP socialists believe that an independent Scotland would be a safe haven during the economic maelstrom, especially whilst simultaneously hitting the poor with 50p a unit alcohol pricing, and vast subsidies to the better-off to install solar panels and wind turbines.

While Athens (and soon Rome) burns, all socialists just fiddle with fantasies.

Richard Mowbray,

14, Ancaster Drive,


GREECE has the option of rejecting the austerity bail-out package and defaulting on its debts, while keeping the euro as a currency, with or without remaining eurozone governments' permission, just as First Minister Alex Salmond plans to keep the pound as the currency of an independent Scotland based on other countries using the US dollar as their currency.

Remaining eurozone governments could try to force Greece to drop the euro by trade sanctions, but that would worsen the crisis. Portugal, Spain and even Ireland and Italy, might then face currency crises, leaving the eurozone ending up restricted to Northern and central Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says agreements made must be honoured, but those agreements were made without any democratic consultation of the Greek people.

If there had to be referenda for countries to join the euro, why wasn't there one for agreement to impose austerity for the majority in Greece, especially when austerity has shown itself to be counter-productive?

While there's too much tax evasion in Greece, EU member governments have not closed down the tax havens which facilitate tax avoidance and evasion by big banks, firms and the wealthiest worldwide.

Many economists say the eurozone's major weakness is the lack of a sufficient regional development fund to even out the inevitable trade imbalances between strong economies like Germany's and weaker ones like Greece, Portugal and Spain.

Some German, British and French politicians perpetuate the myth that Greece's debt is due to Greeks being lazy, spendthrift, or corrupt, but the economist James Meadway of the New Economics Foundation found that Greeks work the longest hours in Europe, that they retire, on average, later than Germans and Greece's public spending is below the EU average.

Duncan McFarlane,

Beanshields, Braidwood, Carluke.

WHEN Francois Hollande went to meet Angela Merkel and his airplane was hit by lightning, it was caused by the unemployed Nicola Sarkozy.

A bolt from the Broo.

Allan Roderick Morrison,

52 Croftend Avenue, Glasgow.