Thursday 21st March
On the eve of a budget I find myself drawn back to Cyprus and the Eurozone crisis. It may well be that in the long run this will affect our lives even more than George giving away even more to the wealthy and squeezing the poor again (though that is pure speculation as I am writing this before George commends his budget to the house – but the guy does have form).
For ages nothing seems to happen and then all of a sudden everything happens at once. Last night a brief flurry of real democracy broke out as the Cyprus Parliament voted overwhelmingly to reject the raid on savers bank accounts. Alarmed maybe by the anger of ordinary people, or spooked by fears of a run on the banks (the very thing the bail-out was supposed to stop) or just realizing that this latest move was immoral and simply a step too far they said NO.
So what happens now? No-one quite knows. Who will blink first, the Germans who control the purse-strings or the Cypriots, or the Russians who want to protect the maybe ill-gotten gains of the many Russians who have put money into Cyprus. Almost comically George Osborne has dispatched a plane with 1 million euro’s on board to assist UK troops and families in case the banks do go under. Whether they will be needed no-one knows, but there is a good chance of the Cyprus banks collapsing anyway, either because they do not get Eurozone funding, or because despite re-assurances people still do not trust them and panic sets in anyway.
The West bangs on and on about democracy, but whenever it is actually put into practice and politicians actually do what the majority of people want them to, the big institutions do everything in their power to overrule it.
There will be a few more twists to go in this story I am sure, but in the end I don’t think Cyprus will leave the EU, or the euro, and I don’t think the euro will collapse. But a lesson, a very hard lesson indeed may have been learned; that you cannot shit on people forever. Sooner or later they will say NO. And of course, the people who got us into this mess – the bankers – will never be punished. It seems easier to punish a whole country’s population than actually deal with the greed of the few at the top.