Tuesday 30th June
It is actually more like watching a Greek tragedy. And despite the massive news coverage, we really have no clue what is actually happening behind the scenes. What we do know is that the Troika (The IMF, the ECB and the other lot) has rejected the current Greek Government proposals and are refusing to release crucial funds unless far more stringent and punitive austerity measures are imposed instead, meaning that the Greeks will default, at least on paper. But this Syriza Government was elected to put an end to Austerity, which has dragged an already poor Greek economy down even further. So where is Democracy (remember that – what we fought a war in Iraq for, what we in the West stand for as we prop up Autocratic countries like Bahrain and the Saudis – but that’s an argument for another day) in all of this. Well here may be either the Master-stroke or the worst mistake ever of Syriza; they are holding a referendum this Sunday. The question will be – Do you want the Troika’s proposal for lower pensions and more cuts to wages and services for the poor, or do you want the Syriza plan for higher taxes for the rich. And no-one can quite predict the outcome, or the fall-out from that vote. In the meantime the Greek banks are shut for a week to attempt to stop public panic and a run on the banks, which in itself may cause a degree of panic.
So, one wonders firstly if the public’s decision will be honoured by the Troika if it goes against their wishes. Probably not, which would mean Greece definitely defaulting and exiting the Euro (which in their case could be a good thing) but what would that mean for Greece and the EU? Have they all finally run out of fudges and fixes, or will it all be smiles as yet another compromise is cobbled together. And if the public accept the Austerity route will that mean the end of Syriza? It would also almost certainly mean that they would call another General Election and who knows what that will throw up. I suspect that despite all the journalists predicting chaos it will not be as traumatic as they are all saying. We will see….