As with so many Western languages, the English word ‘agony’ is derived from the Greek for a contest that involves anything from wrestling with adversity to severe struggling with pain and suffering. In its contemporary form, the word-play of ‘Greek tragedy’ does not even begin to represent the reality of the hand that Greece has been dealt off the bottom of the EU pack.
The agony is being piled onto Greece at the moment. It is the outstanding Sovereign example over the last century of a largely innocent prey facing encirclement by lasciviously bloodthirsty wolves… and running out of matches for the fire that might keep them at bay.
The more the media say “visit to USA by Varoufakis has air of desperation”, and “Greeks made informal approach to restructure IMF payments”, the more – as those media know perfectly well – the markets lose confidence, bond yields rise, and the vicious circle of feral dogs forms an ever-tighter trap around a country being crucified to save an ill-begotten and obviously doomed currency.
Three-year Greek debt is now yielding 26% – a level in and of itself screaming to anyone with a functioning pair of ears that the markets expect Athens to welch on its borrowings.
On this long road from the greedy optimism of 2003 to the perdition of today, many can be named and blamed….although few of them shamed: you cannot shame the shameless. They include Jean-Claude Trichet, Goldman Sachs, Evangelos Venizelos, Wolfgang Schäuble, Troikas (various), vulture funds, a disturbingly high minority of the upper professional Greek classes, the European Commission, and latterly the spinelessly empty-headed collaboration of Antonis Samaras.
The last people we can blame along that road are Syriza in general or the Tsipras/Varoufakis double-act in particular. As my many friends in Greece already know, I part company with them on the performance of Yanis Varoufakis as a negotiator at the last gasp. But for years before that, the current Greek finance minister was the only serious economist in the eurozone prepared to stick his neck out and say “These policies are insane”. For the life of me, I cannot see what Yanis has gained by his unseemly retreat when the first Eurogroupe negotiations turned into despicable blackmail. But if he made a mistake, is this a subject for shame? It is not.
Alongside him stands Alexis Tsipras, a man whose deft skills in turning a ramshackle grab-bag of egotistical political nowheres into a Party of power will stand forever as a miraculous achievement…no matter how short-lived the resultant Syriza Government might be.
I do not share the politics of either of these good men, but I do identify with them one hundred per cent as the best battering ram available to bring the Suprastate lunatics to their knees. And I still think that this is entirely possible.
Look back over the history of the imperceptibly dying USSR. It took Hungarian guts in 1956, Czechoslovak hope in 1968, and then Polish balls in the 1980s….but in the end, the dam broke and the waters broke through.
If Syriza fails, there will be Grillo in Italy and Podemos in Spain. And if not them, the farmers in France and perhaps even the Ukippers in Britain.
That last mention will lose me some Sloggers in Britain. If so, then I ask this question of the UK Left: was it not your line-toeing acceptance of an undemocratic, illegal, bullying EU that spawned Nigel Farage in the first place? I detest almost everything this beery loudmouth stands for, but at least he is trying to extricate us from this corrupt cesspit of forced choices.
Yesterday a brave young woman burst into the inner sanctum of Mario Draghi’s kingdom of mealy-mouthed mammon, shouting for an end to ECB dictatorship. Ask the subordinated Greek bondholders, the Cypriot bank depositors, the Swiss gnomes, the Greeks themselves and even some in the EC if they think this lady was a delusional nutter or a speaker of the truth. Of course the eurozone is now under the jackboot of an unaccountable man whose agenda remains at very best suspicious, and at worst profoundly pernicious: only a blind buffoon could fail to remark such reality.
As the UK election draws tediously towards a long-overdue end, I regard the failure of Britain’s three longest-standing Parties to recognise the fascist on their doorstep as an indelible stain upon the culture I once loved. But it is an oversight for which the sociopathic British überbau will not pay a red cent: for they all have their illegally feathered nests of pension and pornographic graft to keep them warm at night.
It is the citizens who will pay. To paraphrase Churchill, “Never in the hedge of human hypocrisy did so few bequeath so much debt to so many”.
Related at The Slog: Time for UK politicians to reject the EU bullies and support the Greeks