‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the zone
Every leader was praying he’d not need a loan.
The begging bowls stacked by the side of my fire
Were empty, the thought of which made me perspire.
The workers were freezing, all cold in their beds,
While dreams of redundancy danced in their heads.
And the minister’s brandy and my double scotch
Were topped up by the staff as we both shared the watch.
When out on the lawn there arose a commotion
Which made me suspect there would be a demotion
Of our long term bonds; ‘cos the pain in my sinus
Foretold they’d be junk; maybe even B-
The gleam of the floodlights on six feet of snow
Showed something like Thunderbird Two down below.
When, what to my terrified eyes should appear
But the word “EFSF” writ large on its rear.
“It’s a rescue,” I moaned and the minister wailed;
“We are done. We are stuffed. We have totally failed.”
The head of the mission set foot on the ground
And called out the names of the victims he’d found;
“Now Athens! now Dublin! now Lisbon and Brussels!
“They’ve all had their chips; they were lacking the muscles
“To match up their spending with revenue tax
“So we’ve taken them over and wielded the axe.”
“As trees that before a mad forester fall
“They’ve surrendered their bats and we’ve taken the ball.
“They must follow our orders and tick all our boxes
“And now it is your turn. We’re shooting your foxes.”
He was skinny and short and looked reasonably fit
But I knew he was really a miserable Schmidt
Who had trained at a bank within Germany’s borders
And now would be following Angela’s orders.
I asked him for time; “We are solvent: Just look!
“We don’t need any money ’til August. Our book
“Is quite safe for six months. Maybe longer. Look there!”
But he fingered his cross and he muttered “Don’t care.”
“Investors are nervous. They’re flogging your bonds.
“We have found them in dustbins and toilets and ponds.
“The risk of contagion’s too great to ignore,
“So you WILL take our money!” the little Schmidt swore.
He called in his team and we sat at a table,
(A wobbly one: Like our country, unstable).
They got out their papers; I gave them a glance
Then signed at the bottom. We got our advance.
They gave us two hundred (that’s billions of course).
And told us we’d have to cut back, to outsource
All the government jobs that provided the votes
That had kept us in power (and Porsches and boats).
The layoffs were huge and the dole queues got longer,
The potholes got deeper, the unions got stronger.
It didn’t go down well. There wasn’t a doubt
That the voters were angry. They wanted us out.
They massed on the streets and they bombed several banks
So I sent in the army with rifles and tanks.
But austerity isn’t a vote-winning scheme:
My replacement had more of a communist theme.
Herr Schmidt came to call; not to snipe nor to sneer
But to offer his solace. I gave him a beer.
And he said, as his IMF Merc left my sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL; TO THE EURO, GOODNIGHT