The death of democracy in Greece?

It is one of those ironies of history that democracy should be under such pressure in the European country commonly claimed to be its birthplace.

The most recent Greek election and the battles over Greek policy within the Euro have been about whether national democracy is compatible with the single currency. It appears it is not.

The Greek people made their views known all too clearly in January. They said No to more austerity, No to the Euro area requirements to cut their debts and deficits, No to various reforms of their economy that the rest of Europe wishes to visit upon them. Their newly elected government took that message volubly to Brussels.

The Greek government soon had to back down. It backed down over its refusal to deal with the troika. It backed down over the need to extend the old loan agreement. It backed down over the principle of having to negotiate its budget and future economic policies with the rest of the Euro area. It was left with a fig leaf of choice, as the Euro area said there might be some flexibility on how Greece achieved the austerity targets which had to remain in place.

The Greek government has been using rhetoric about national self determination and democratic government. It has discovered that if it wishes to stay in the Eurozone it has to play by the general rules of that zone. It is also the case it has learned an older and more basic truth. If you want to borrow more money from certain institutions, you may need to honour the terms of the loans you already have from them.

I find it fascinating that Syriza saw the confrontation as one of national democracy against the Eurozone, not just as a debtor having to deal with its creditors. As a result of hyping the rhetoric in that way the Greek government has made its possible defeat into a defeat for democracy in Greece.

In that sense Syriza has done us all a service. They have highlighted how in the Euro a country cannot have an independent economic policy. As economic policy is one of the main things electorates wish to influence and change, the loss of those freedoms is a major blow to a national democracy. Many of us in the UK find there are too many constraints on our national democracy from membership of the EU outside the Euro. It is many times worse for those in the single currency.

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58 Comments

  1. ian wragg
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    It has also highlighted that the EU is in fact Germany. The whole German/Franco stitch up is now fully understood by all the EU countries and this will help the anti austerity parties in Italy, Portugal and Spain. It may also influence the UKIP vote at the GE.
    The EU is steadily unravelling and Greece cannot repay its debts which are rising on a daily basis. I would predict insurrection or maybe a military coup within the next year.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 23, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      There are a lot of Germans who don’t like the EU either and despite the rhetoric from Merkel, trouble is brewing at street level although this is going largely unreported. A big worry at present is a militarily resurgent Russia. Some Germans are already preparing for the worst and view the Americans as a greater danger to peace in Europe. They consider that America will precipitate a war with Russia that will be fought and paid for at the expense of German blood.

      • stred
        Posted February 23, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Max. Sort of WW2 in reverse.

        • Hope
          Posted February 25, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          And Cameron now sending troops to the UKraine! He has lost the plot. He cannot secure our borders or deport foreign criminals yet worries about the Ukrainian border! He is an utter disaster.

          • William Gruff
            Posted February 25, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            Hope:

            Mr Cameron is a fine upstanding fellow and enjoys our host’s full confidence and support.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 24, 2015 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        @Max Dunbar; “There are a lot of Germans who don’t like the EU either and despite the rhetoric from Merkel, trouble is brewing at street level although this is going largely unreported.”

        Plenty seem to have been said and written about AfD in the German media I have looked at. But yes, unless the words “Merkel” or “EU” can be cited not a lot of news about the politics in Germany gets reported by the UK media.

        “A big worry at present is a militarily resurgent Russia.”

        When did Russia scrap its nuclear weapons, is that another factoid that went unreported by the western media…

        “Some Germans are already preparing for the worst and view the Americans as a greater danger to peace in Europe.”

        Well perhaps a few old time East Germans might think that way.

        “They consider that America will precipitate a war with Russia that will be fought and paid for at the expense of German blood.”

        Are these people hermits who have never heard of intercontinental nuclear weapons? 🙁

  2. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    It says we need to get out ASAP. We are going to have to pay up for this in part because I don’t see that Greece can pay club fees + debt? Paying a debt and club fees is truly bonkers. Reminds me of UK banking tactics somehow.

    Of course the standing VI’s are fairly satisfied. And I guess this backdown keeps Russia away?

    Don’t think I can goto Europe anymore. Just don’t want to witness the impacts.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 24, 2015 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      @Ex-expat Colin; “Don’t think I can goto Europe anymore. Just don’t want to witness the impacts”

      “Europe” is a big place, much of it not even in the EU, never mind EZ, but even then it’s not all as bad as the europhobic media make out, and probably no worse than the UK during the hight of our own economic restructuring during the 1980s.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 24, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        @Jerry; With the exception of Greece of course!…

  3. alan jutson
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    It is a sad fact of life that yet another band of politicians, this time in Greece, promised the public what they could not deliver.

    The public bought into those promises, and have now found out unusually quickly, they were never deliverable whilst they remain in the EU, and whilst they still owed everyone money from the last set of political promises made.

    Until the public and politicians wake up and understand the truth of the size of the financial disaster that previous politicians the World over have engineered with smoke, mirrors and clever words, to try and keep themselves in Power, it will continue to get worse.

    Only hope our electorate, (if interested enough to vote) can see through the lies that are currently doing the rounds.

    Promises, promises, promises, all made with our own money, or that of our children and grandchildren’s future earnings.

    For a so called intelligent and educated society, why are so many so dim ?

    • DaveM
      Posted February 23, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      I too have been somewhat perplexed as to how Syriza thought they were just going to refuse to pay and – more surpising – how so many Greeks thought it would be possible.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 24, 2015 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        @DaveM; “I too have been somewhat perplexed”

        Well that’s the difference between left and right politics, for the right there are economic rules that need to be kept, for the left there are economic rules that can and perhaps should be broken…

  4. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Changing the argument to serve the purpose has long been a tactic of lawyers and barristers. It works in medicine also sometimes ; one medication cures another ailment.The obvious argument is that debt is not confined to Greece but permeates over all the nations in varying amounts and degrees. When is the debt irreversable ?
    Debt ‘persae’ many argued was a part of the norm , yet look at the damage it has done . Selling off is a bad idea, as we have done it Britain assets should remain in tact for bad weather days and not for the normal running of a country.

  5. Peter Stroud
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    As most sensible people know, currency union is incredibly difficult to manage without political union. It looks as though Brussels has forced the Greeks to accept the EU’s political line. So what will the Greek electorate do when they realise they have been let down? Surely the kicked can has reached the bottom of the road – where next can it go

  6. Timaction
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    ……………Many of us in the UK find there are too many constraints on our national democracy from membership of the EU outside the Euro.

    No Mr Redwood. Very few of you in the legacy parties care about our sovereign democracy and are in fact very willing to lie and cheat the British people over your salami slicing of our democracy by incremental treaty change to remove democracy to the unelected dictators in the EU. That’s why your parties will be removed from Westminster and replaced with those who want to Govern on behalf of the British people and NOT be representatives of a foreign dictatorship.
    A smear a day is not going to be enough.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 24, 2015 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      @Timaction; “That’s why your parties will be removed from Westminster [../etc/..]”

      More bluster from those in a democratic dreamland…

      But very few of those entitled to vote seem that bothered by the salami slicing of our democracy you suggest, since 1997 there has been a party that people could have voted for had they been, whose reasons for being was and still is to take the UK out of the EU. Trouble is, they have not and those that did vote for the party did nothing more then ended up only re-enforcing the Pro-EU parties within the Westminster village, had there been a strong Tory majority in 2010 we might have already have had that referendum and if the electors wished now be out of the EU.

      • Timaction
        Posted February 24, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        That’s because until now the vast majority didn’t know how much of our sovereign democracy had been given up by the legacy parties who continue to lie the great lie about the EU being about trade and NOT the project to create a superstate by incremental stealth. The sheer numbers and consequences are being seen by the British people and their own experiences every day. They’ve also heard Merkel, Junker and Hollande bullying the weak Cameron. They now know we cannot control our own borders within the EU. Therefore we are no longer a sovereign democracy. The public didn’t know before but now they do. Who knows what they’ll do when they get inside that ballot box in May for their very own survival!

        • Jerry
          Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          @Timaction; Didn’t know or didn’t care (and quite possibly still don’t care)?…

      • Dung
        Posted February 25, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        There is no way that the conservative party would have announced that they would give us a referendum if UKIP had not dragged them kicking and screaming all the way.

        Reply Not so. It was Conservative MPs who persuaded Mr Cameron.

        • Hope
          Posted February 25, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          Oh please be realistic. Cameron does not listen to his MPs alone. If he did you would have been given the debate he promised in parliament over the EAW, got something in return for amerkels treaty change, not give the extra £1.7 billion for nothing in return etc. If it were not for UKIP he would have treated you with the same contempt as Major did. He has learned, undoubtedly helped by the likes of Hesltine, Major, Clarke etc, from the Major govt era how to keep the likes of you in check. He did not surround himself with Euro fanatics as advisers and ministers and head of quangos for no reason.

  7. bigneil
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    “death of democracy in Greece” – bit like DC’s comment that he would ignore an out vote on a so-called promise of an EU referendum?

  8. william
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    There is more to life than per capita GDP growth. Unfettered democratic control of your own country and its borders come first.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 23, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      It’s like the idiot with cash in the pub telling you there is more to life than money when you are skint.
      Interesting to see how many have ever been skint in the right wing deluded world that exists for many.
      BMW to Bentley is not rags to riches nor is Bentley to BMW financial hardship and having massive assets or debts to pay for them and no money is called living on Cornflake Hill is not poverty either.
      Are the poor ‘jealous’ of those able to afford utilities and decent food?

      • DaveM
        Posted February 24, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        Bazman,

        You are absolutely correct.

        However, I didn’t go from BMW to Bentley. More like walking/bus (when I could afford it) to Audi. But I did it by myself and it took longer than it might have done because I have also brought up two kids. I’ve never missed a payment or avoided tax – mainly because the repercussions would have been more expensive anyway, I admit. But nevertheless, I have never asked for, or received anything, from anyone (apart from Child Benefit which was often a life-saver). I’ve paid God-knows-how-much National Insurance but only been in hospital once (due to an injury sustained in the course of my public-sector job). And yes, I spent times living on baked beans and wrapped in blankets in my own (rented) home.

        I was never jealous of people who were better off and still found money to give to Oxfam, cancer research, and homeless people I saw in the streets of Dundee, London, Exeter and Plymouth.

        I’m not writing this to paint myself as a paragon of virtue but please think before you pass judgement on anyone who doesn’t belong to a union. I don’t judge Labour, Green or Libdem voters – they all have their own opinions and views which they’re entitled to.

        As I like to inform people sometimes – just because someone has an opinion (myself included), it doesn’t mean it’s the right opinion.

  9. stred
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    The Greeks must be hoping to avoid Mr Djisselboem’s template, that they used on the Cypriots. The big money has probably left after weeks of argument. Now only the savers, small businesses needing working capital and house buyers in the middle of a purchase are sitting ducks.

  10. Bill
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I watched a Son et Lumiere performance at the Acropolis some years ago and was struck by the portentous declamatory style of the commentary: there was a nationalistic pride in what was more than 2000 years ago. Later I spoke to a number of Greeks studying in the UK and they also, for the most part, seemed to have a tenuous hold on reality. My impression of Greek politicians is that they have persuaded themselves that they have a ‘right’ to the money lent to them from the Eurozone. We know that Greek politics have lurched to the right (the military junta 1967-74) and now to the left. Presumably the current government feels it can repudiate the agreements made by its predecessors? How can it do this without international chaos?

    What is all the money given by the Eurozone used for? As far as I can see, it pays the salaries and pensions of the retired politicians and bureaucrats who have created the current mess. Is there any evidence that the money is used to benefit the poor families who have been turned out onto the streets or the businesses that have been bankrupted?

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I speculate that the next eurofederalist moves, which means principally German eurofederalist moves, could be directed towards bringing down the Syriza-led government and getting it replaced by one which would be more willingly compliant before the next crisis hits in the summer. That’s what I’d be contemplating if I was in their shoes; and it’s worth recalling in this regard how the German government actively tried to get the Czech President Vaclav Klaus removed from office when he was refusing to sign off the Lisbon Treaty in the autumn of 2009, as well as their later efforts to get the governments they wanted installed in some other eurozone countries.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted February 24, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      No need. Syriza will collapse on its own.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the EU & Cameron’s ratting the UK’s democracy is a deaths door too. Cameron is clearly trying to push it through deaths door -this while pretending not to.

  13. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I see the democracy issue slightly differently. In California the electorate can formulate and vote on propositions which then pass into law. Without fail they vote in favour of propositions that increase public spending and in favour of propositions that cut taxes. They vote to have their cake and eat it. It seems to be human nature. In Greece they vote against austerity but also, here is the key, in favour of staying in the Euro. The two are incompatible. It is not really a democratic failure or the fault of the EU, it is a failure by the Greek voters to accept reality. It is no different in UK – people will vote Green at the next election on just such an inconsistent economic policy but we don’t conclude that democracy itself is under threat in UK.

  14. Atlas
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    John,

    I agree with what you have said.

    The viewpoint I have is that we have already been here before in Europe in the 20th Century. Consider the effect of the Versailles settlement and reparation demands that were in practice unrepayable. First one government tried and then another. Neither succeded. Finally another set of politicians came along and promised release – the ultimate dire consequences of which some of us are still aware of. After the Second World War Germany was given debt forgiveness (to avoid a repetition of Versailles) – something it seems to have conveniently forgotten in its dealings with Greece.

    Instead we have France and Germany both insisting on ‘obeying the Euro rules’ when they themselves broke the rules when it suited.

    I fear that the Greek people will chose yet another political faction that promises ‘freedom’ from economic slavery – and who knows where that will end.

    Is part of the problem the point that all those now playing ‘the political game’ have chosen not to learn the lessons of history and so are doomed to re-live them?

    • zorro
      Posted February 23, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Germany is playing the part of the drug pusher who gave the Greeks easy credit so that they could buy their ‘goods’….. Guess what Germany – bad choice….. In any case Germany, you are a reformed addict who was let off your debts.

      zorro

      • petermartin2001
        Posted February 24, 2015 at 6:17 am | Permalink

        Germany is playing the part of the drug pusher who gave the Greeks easy credit so that they could buy their ‘goods

        That’s not a bad analogy – although I’d hesitate to use it myself.

        The point is that trade between countries is much more like barter than is generally realised. If Germany continually sends more stuff to Greece then there is no way the Greeks can ever get out of debt. The only way the Greeks can repay is if they start to send more stuff to Germany than they get back in return. ie the Germans need to buy more and become net importers.

        That’s not how its explained to German taxpayers though!

        They are told that the Greeks have a moral duty to repay what they’ve borrowed. Its just goes to show that we can’t understand large scale economics, ie macroeconomics, using the understanding that we develop on the small scale of our own personal experiences. ie microeconomics.

  15. Gary
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Do we have a democracy ? Many think it’s just a cash for access slop trough.

    People have turned their backs on this democracy sham. The govt pretends to govern people , the majority want nothing to do with it.

  16. Andy Mayer
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Since one cannot vote for other people to lend you money, I am unclear what ‘democratic’ point you are making. The Greeks, persistently, have voted for Governments that promise G = T, while delivering G >> T. That and that principally is the reason they are now in a bind. They have just done it again.

    You note their membership of the Euro has not helped. Clearly. They came in at too high a rate and under circumstances where entry should never have been approved. But they voted for this. Polls suggest they would vote for it again.

    Their principle democratic deficit then is in logic not sovereignty. The majority desire that something will turn up and somebody else will pay the bills – anything but responsibility at home. They will continue to be disappointed, or the something may be rather worse than the ‘troika’ austerity programme.

    What the ‘independent economic policy’ of a nation voting this way would look like doesn’t obviously look much better than the mess they’re in today. Who is going to lend a country that wants loans without fiscal discipline, backed up by little more than a vague hope that a small group of Greeks are hiding a lot of Euros under their pillows and this can be appropriated without consequence? Sovereign independence surely depends on the sure supply of dependable sovereigns?

    At the moment it is the ‘troika’ not the democratically elected Greek government that are making most of the sensible suggestions about how that happy outcome might be achieved.

    Were it not the troika, it would be the Russians, the Chinese, or anyone else prepared to take on Greek liabilities. I suspect for all the faults of the troika their proposals are rather more likely to yield success for Greece, with less pain than the alternatives.

    It is not I think in the British national interest to encourage a situation where such alternatives become attractive to prove a point about sovereignty. Particularly not if our goal is a stable functioning democracy in Greece, capable of delivering competent democratic Government.

    Reply You can vote in a democracy for your state to borrow more. The Greeks would like to borrow more from themselves as well, but this is also under some control from the Euro area. I do not of course advocate Syriza’s economic policies, but that does not mean I have to support the Euro area’s policies either. Both are wrong and causing real trouble.

    • David Murfin
      Posted February 24, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Not really a sensible reply, Mr R.
      ” one cannot vote for other people to lend you money,”
      “You can vote in a democracy for your state to SEEK TO borrow more. “

  17. agricola
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Democracy in Greece has not died. It was well demonstrated at their recent election. It was not respected in EU Brussels because they kicked democracy into touch long ago.

    What might have died in Greece is the political self confidence to come out of the Euro and revert to the Drachma. I do not see the Greek people accepting the weak will on the part of their government for very long.

    My conclusion, attention all three party leaders, is that it is not possible to retain ones national sovereignty and remain a member of the EU, and that the Euro is a means of making a participant in it dependent. Just as dependency is bad for the individual so it is catastrophic for a country. It is a socialist way of control that everyone should be aware of.

  18. Jerry
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    If the Greeks have backed down then the problem is that Syriza kept telling both those Greek electors and EU that they did not want Greece to withdraw from the EZ, even though the EU/ECB etc. had all but resigned themselves to a Grexit, if not default – when you join a ruby club you have to expect to play ruby and unless you’re prepared to move on and join a soccer club there is no point complaining about the shape of the ball or that players keep picking the ball up and running with it…

  19. petermartin2001
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    the loss of those freedoms is a major blow to a national democracy.

    Yes. The developments in Greece are of major significance to anyone who is is interested in promoting democracy. There used to be those on the left who were interested in that concept. Not so much now it would appear.

    The Labour Party might have been expected to speak up for the new Greek government and offered them some moral support even. However, unless I’ve missed it, they’ve little or nothing to say on the matter. The Labour websites like Labourlist and Leftfootforward are strangely silent. They don’t want to talk about it.

    They obviously can’t support those like Wolfgang Schäuble who are imposing the austerity on Greece, but on the other hand they don’t want to be seen to support anyone who is exposing the real nature of the present day EU. So they choose is to ignore it all and pretend it isn’t happening. That is a key symptom of cognitive dissonance.

    • A different Simon
      Posted February 23, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Nicely put .

      The central feature of leftist philosophy seems to be that the ends justify the means .

      Democracy becomes an obstacle that has to be circumvented which is what we are seeing now .

      etc ed

      I naively thought Lib Dem’s were in favour of P.R. for ideological reasons but the grubbiness of the recent referendum showed that it was only out of self interest .

      Even though UKIP will probably get more votes than the SNP yet far fewer seats , the result could still be considered legitimate if one considers electors to be voting for individuals rather than parties .

  20. ian
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    This planet does not no the meaning of the word

  21. Richard1
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I think I might stand for our local parish council on a ticket of a minimum income for all residents in our area of £100k, or maybe £200k now I think about it, and when the UK govt refuses to send us the money I will march around saying its an affront to democracy.

    Syriza has indeed done us a favour, partly by showing that there cannot be an independent economic policy in a currency union. But partly also by showing that to be a high spending leftist govt you need to get the money from somewhere. They know that ‘tax the rich’ wont get them far so they need access to borrowing – which they don’t have because Greece is insolvent. In that sense the euro is very useful. We should remember that the Labour party put the UK in a very similar position in 1976, and came very close to doing so again by the time they were kicked out in 2010. Lets keep Miliband out and avoid becoming insolvent ourselves.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 23, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      The Tories borrowing just gets bigger due to a knobbled economy caused by Osbourns deluded cuts. Got anything to say about that?

      • Edward2
        Posted February 24, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes I have Baz.
        You are wrong.
        The deficit is coming down, the economy far from being “knobbled” is growing faster than any other Euro country and we have 18 months of continually falling unemployment.

        You moan about “austerity” but criticise current borrowing levels.

        To bring borrowing down further you would have to cut deeper and faster than the Coalition have.
        So Im assuming you are in favour of this.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 24, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        You are wrong the deficit is coming down. The problem is labour took us into the recession with a 5% structural deficit and then made it much worse with a series of foolish decisions including in particular the bank bailout. Labours bust could never have been resolved overnight. It’s bound to take time to sort out such a mess.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        The deficit has not been cut any more than immigration has. The jobs created have been low paid part time low tax paying jobs and zero hours contracts have risen by a fifth. Dream on.

  22. oldtimer
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Daniel Hannan has a post on this over at Cap-X:
    http://www.capx.co/defeat-of-varoufakis-will-embolden-the-eurocrats-to-con-cameron/

    He concludes:
    “And so the European project marches on, unchecked by recessions or referendums, debt or democracy. “There can be no democratic choice against the treaties,” as Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, put it last month. Mr Varoufakis’s German counterpart, Wolfgang Schäuble, was even blunter: “Elections change nothing”, he said. He was right, wasn’t he?”

    The Greeks have voted themselves into their impossible position. The question is when and how they wake up and adjust to the reality of their predicament. They have a clear choice to make.

  23. Martin
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Democracy can no more undo debts than King Canute could control the tides.

  24. Terry
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Democracy died in Greece when the Troika appointed a new administrator of Greece having roughed up the incumbent PM over his threat of a referendum. Democracy died in this country when successive politicians signed away our independence and our sovereignty to unelected bodies in Brussels. Ditto the Human Rights Act and Ditto the Lisbon Treaty.
    I have repeatedly asked the simple question, “WHY”? But there is no answer.

    Outside of a Common Market, which would remain active even if we were to leave, just what has becoming a fully paid up member of the EU done for us? Just what does £50 Millions per day, buy us? Anyone?

    The following provides proof of the contrary and an explanation why Europhiles are so dedicated to the cause. It is nothing but bribery and corruption. Democracy it ain’t!

    • Terry
      Posted February 24, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      There were selected links to valid data regarding the subject but they have been moderated out. They are NOT abusive. So much for democracy and freedom of expression in this country. Such ‘cleansing’ would not be amiss in Communist States and that us where we are at right now, albeit under the fog of 2015 Conservatives. Get it right or just get out.

  25. acorn
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Checking Out: Exits from Currency Unions Andrew K. Rose 2007, said:-

    “During the post-war period, almost seventy distinct countries or territories have left a currency union, while over sixty have remained continuously in currency unions. I compare countries leaving currency unions to those remaining within them, and find that leavers tend to be larger, richer, and more democratic; they also tend to have higher inflation. However, there are typically no sharp macroeconomic movements before, during, or after exits.”

    Greece should declare that it will exit the Eurozone. It has nothing to lose and a lot to gain by having its own currency. It should declare that all “troika” loan terms and conditions, violated international law (particularly the IMF’s own rules) and will not be repaid. It should also declare that it will endeavour to repay private sector creditors to some degree, some time, in the foreseeable future. In fact, the rest of Club Med should do the same.

    There are currently about 195 Sovereign States on this planet. They form the foundation of settled International Law and the United Nations General Assembly. This system is being contaminated by supranational organisations with little or no democratic accountability. The likes of the EU; IMF; OECD; NATO and I would add the US Federal government (and its lethal agencies) which appears to be increasingly disconnected from the fifty US States.

    These out of control supranational entities, will be responsible for starting World War 3. What the hell we, the little people, can do about it, I have no idea.

  26. Bazman
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    There must be a large number of Greeks especially the young getting on their bikes and as we have similar levels of youth unemployment in the UK there must be a fair few here going to Canada and Australia if they can get in. Not a lot for them here, even if they get a trade or a graduate job often the job has been downgraded and the pay levels too. I expect a few will just be dropping off the radar once benefits are stopped or made to pick up litter for.
    Other ‘work’ may become more viable, but not the type of work you expect.
    Could be expensive and see how your jealousy argument goes on that one.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 24, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Wrong again Baz.
      Greek youth unemployment is much much higher than in the UK.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        EU youth unemployment average is about 27% and the UK is about 17% so don’t get to excited edward.
        A Person paying for electricity on a pre paid card on the highest tariff can pay £1200 against a person on the lowest credit meter rate paying £300 for the same amount. Only fair.
        Low prices for all when the savings due to future buying are passed on though.

  27. Jon
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    When Greece does tumble out of the Euro zone it won’t be long before they start to record record inward investment from those seeking the cheap Drakmar, easy profit to sell to Europe as well as having defaulted on their debts. How will that message look to other Mediterranean countries with high debt and unemployment?

    A possible retraction of the empire building could be in store?

  28. Mark B
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Good evening.

    The Greeks were lured in by the Siren sound of easy money, backed up by the ECB. They borrowed, and they spent. Now it’s time to pay up, and like times before they thought they could just renege on their debts.

    If the Greek people and government turned round and said; “We don’t want the Euro.” I think the outcome could have been different in so many ways.

    But they want their cake. Truth is though, that cake is somebody else’s.

  29. formula57
    Posted February 24, 2015 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    Syriza had to frame the discussions on the plane of good and evil not debtors and creditors because of the shift it needed to promote in the thinking of the Eurozone.

    Syriza had scope for manoeuvre whilst Greece could show a primary surplus – notably it could default on its debts and remain in the Euro (relying inter alia upon there being no mechanism for expelling it) since the government itself would not need to borrow. Revised expectations showing no primary surplus meant Syriza had to bargain for now, so suggests Mish Shedlock on his globaleconomicanalysis blog, (unknown ref left out ed)

    (Clearly, the quite likely extensive funding needs of Greek banks could not be met by the Greek government – unless it continues to mint Euros under the ELA, approved (or not!) by the ECB.)

  30. Patryk
    Posted February 24, 2015 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    John,
    You are one of the more sensible MPs but your blind dislike of the EU leads you to some unusual conclusions. One is when you blame the EU for trying to reach a deal with a sovereign nation of Ukraine. Second is this situation which has nothing to do with democracy and all to do with paying off your debts and living within your means.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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