Tuesday 27th January
The first is the victory of Syriza in the Greek elections. Though much expected the margin of their victory was a surprise; they will get over 36% of the vote, which will at least give them more respectability, as many of the other European leaders’s parties have struggled to get even that much (ours included). This is democracy in action, as the Greeks have quite clearly stated that they have had enough of Austerity. After five years of high taxes, low wages and many workers laid off, with unemployment at 25% (and for the young at 50%) the economy is still failing and shows no sign of recovery at all. It will of course present a huge headache for the EU, but if we have learned anything about Europe, it is remarkably resilient and a formula will be found to allow Syriza to claim some sort of a victory and to stimulate the Greek economy, and also to preserve the integrity of the Euro. The Greeks will not default and they will not leave the Euro, some of their debt may even be written off, but it may just make the policy-makers pause and realize you can only beat people down for so long.
The second bit of good news is that the Commons Environment Committee has reported that Fracking is incompatible with our internationally agreed Carbon Reduction targets to which the UK is committed. Well, though obvious, it needed saying, and saying loudly. FRACK OFF. Of course the Tories will argue that Fracking is safe. Now we need Ed Milliband to come out strongly and say that he will ban Fracking; at least if he has any sense he will. We are in a never-never land at present, with all the political parties holding back on major policy announcements too soon before the real election campaign begins. Time for a bit of boldness I believe. The way things are going Labour needs to really enthuse the public or they will lose by default.
At the weekend the two leading Premier League clubs lost in the F A cup to teams from lower divisions. A warning to all those on power – do not take the electorate for granted.