‘Despite more than 2 ½ years of pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions
– and a pending $17.45 billion spending cut and tax hike plan demanded
by international lenders in return for bailouts, Greece’s debt and
deficit are worsening, statistics show.’
Last May, The Slog predicted:
‘Under the terms of the 2012 Brussels Accord, Greece is doomed to sink deeper into debt even if the economy picks up….which it isn’t doing: every month, it contracts further….’
This is the cost of Brussels inaction and Teutonic Holier than Thou neurosis. Greek estimates – and Stephanie Flanders of all people – seem able to roughly agree on one point: this entire exercise has cost Athens 6-7 times the original value of the bonds issued.
The problem here is very simple:
1. Berlin-am-Brussels will pay any price to wind up with a viable euro
2. The banks and bondholders will not forgive debt at any price
3. The Greek political elite will not willingly leave the euro at any price.
The last of these stumbling blocks represents (at least for me) evidence of something very peculiar about the Athenian mindset, but I’m unsure about exactly what that might be. The EU’s commitment to a single currency that will never work in its current form merely reflects their insane hubris. The creditors’ intransigence is nothing more than frightened greed. But the Greek terror of being cast out of the eurozone simply defies explanation.
Yesterday’s piece here revealing the attempt by Alexis Tsipras to get American help back on the agenda has been ignored by the MSM as far as I can tell. The traditional Greek antipathy towards the US may well work against this bold plan: but it does point up yet again that Mr Tsipras is a formidable political strategist and practicalist.
However, I’m still left wondering why Athens didn’t tell Brussels to go forth and multiply long ago. But then, I get the exact same feeling about British politicians and the EU: over and over again the statistics about costs and trade illustrate with crystal clarity that we have the wrong trading partner. Time after time a new idiotically dangerous idea is hatched by the Sprouts, after which – be it the euro or the bank levy, the Human Rights Act or migration laws – we find ourselves delivering vetos and opting out.
There is, of course, one massive difference: after all that has been visited upon the Greeks, 7 out of 10 citizens there still want to stay in the eurozone. For Greece’s population, expectations of life outside that cosy club are lower than a limbo-dancer’s shoulder blades. But here in Britain, well over half the electorate are not just eurosceptic, they are euphobic.
The UK Establishment would do well to give this some thought. The craven attitude of Athenian politicians has resulted in a dramatic redrawing of the political map, and a hatred of the old elite. British politics lack that flexibility: our spectrum of Parties has been rendered atypically narrow by a bonkers and/or cynical commitment to FPTP elections, and the formation of new Parties is made difficult by the high costs of entry.
In my view, this will force at least some forms of opposition into extra-Parliamentary resistance. That would not necessarily be a bad thing: the Executive’s terror of the media, for example, is now far greater than any fear it might have of the Party it faces in the Commons. I too have argued in these columns for resistance to be focused on the paymasters rather than the politicians.
But there are folks out there just gagging for the opportunity to radicalise electors along the lines of either Right or Left: the Coalition’s awful handling of educational reform, for example, has shown that rentademo is still alive and well in Britain.
What nobody in any Westminster Party has yet factored in is the anger that could very well be used as a powerful fuel by extremists. The craven appeasement of banks, Brussels and religious intolerance over the last decade or more has created three huge targets for the cynical rabble-rouser. It would take little more than a combination of bomb atrocities, banking collapse and euro-meltdown contagion to turn angry abstainers into desperate mobs.
Think on it, o Westminster bubble-dwellers. Two hundred years of largely peaceful political change may be about to come to an end. And after thinking, try listening. Affected deafness is a highly unstable weapon.