Well, its been a long two months away from the blog, the media hype, the ongoing diverse opinions on the internet and so on.
It’s going to take me a while to get back up to speed, but I’m sure that, in the not-to-distant future, I will be flying along again.
The break has forced me to spend considerable time mulling over the events of the past year with very little external influences. Of course, I kept more-or-less abreast of developing news stories via satellite TV. But, on the whole, it was perhaps a good thing to “take a few steps back”.
The Greek elections in September were predictable. I think the average Greek is fed up with politics and realise that, without any other credible and workable solution in sight and, perhaps more importantly, spearheaded by some trustworthy leadership, it made no difference which political party was running the show, since it was going to be “business as usual” (ie worse and worse). In the end, I think that those Greeks that voted for Syriza, did so not because they had any faith in the party, but to make sure that Syriza carried the can for the fiasco of the last 8 months. My sympathy for the Greeks remains unabated and my attitude towards Greece and the Greeks that I have made clear in other articles in this blog, remain unchanged. However, I stand by my analysis that Greece is the blueprint of what all the other Southern European (and maybe one or two Central & Northern European countries) can expect to happen if something is not done to change our whole EU and Eurozone system.
Spain has already seen political upheavals at the local and regional level this year. Political parties, like Podemos, which did not even exist a few years ago and Cuidanos, which has been around for a few years but has gained massive popularity in the past 2 years, have been throwing their weight around and upsetting the old traditional status quo. And more action is expected when Spain goes to the polls on 20 December. The Catalonians (at least about 50% of them) are now constantly making a big nuisance of themselves and so the political landscape down south here in good ol’ Espanol is far from stable or settled. And rightly so! The bullsh*t spouted by Spanish and EU politicians about what a success story Spain has become under the Spanish Troika plan is just that….bullsh*t. Do not get me wrong. Spain also made their fair share of mistakes in the past with cheap money and easy credit and silver-lined promises of never ending prosperity for all. But Spain is far from being out of the mire….my guess is that she is teetering on the brink.
Portugal continues to be a basket case, along the same lines as Greece and their latest elections turned out to be a complete fiasco. It is now telling how desperate the “elites in power” have become to hang on to power!
And what about Italy. Even Matteo Renzi is throwing down a bold challenge to his EU puppetmasters with his statements regarding the latest Italian budget.
So, the patient is looking more and more ill and is not responding to the treatment very well. Encouraging words are constantly given to the relatives, but behind closed doors the whispers are that the patient is on the way out.
I must confess that at this point I was very tempted to just say “Oh, what the hell. Why should we really bother!” And this sort of attitude is very tempting. The problems that need to be solved and the mountain we need to climb seem to get bigger and higher as every day goes by. However, that is a lazy attitude. It takes no account of the legacy that we must leave for our children. If we want democracy, but we shy away from being involved in the democratic process, in what ever form, then we are not being honest and true to ourselves. I constantly keep in mind a conversation between Yanis Varoufakis and his wife that took place in November 2014:
“….a Greek election was likely, with Syriza’s victory almost inevitable. Tsipras had admired Varoufakis’s writing and felt that he would be an effective minister of finance, despite his inexperience and his limited links to Syriza. Varoufakis agreed to come home. According to Stratou, he “felt that, when he’s eighty years old, looking back, if he hadn’t taken that opportunity it would feel like a betrayal of his own country.” She recalled how often he said, “If I were in conversation with Merkel, this is what I would do . . .”
This was not necessarily an easy decision to make. If anyone is not aware of the full background of how YV ended up in Texas, USA here it is:
“….In part because Varoufakis had once advised Papandreou, his views were widely noticed. “I acquired the two things I hate—fans and enemies,” he told me. One night in 2011, he was in bed when the phone rang. A man threatened Varoufakis’s family with violence if he didn’t stop criticizing a particular Greek bank. At the time, Golden Dawn, Greece’s neo-Nazi party, was gaining support. Stratou said to Varoufakis, “Either you don’t get involved, or you get into politics to protect us, or we get out of the country.” In 2012, Varoufakis was offered a visiting professorship at the University of Texas, and they moved to Austin. Varoufakis taught a graduate class on the crisis and, with Galbraith, revised “A Modest Proposal.” “They were knights trying to save the world!” Stratou told me, laughing at her choice of words but sincere in her admiration.”
And this is what Yanis had to say about accepting the post of Greek Finance Minister:
“There are no guarantees of success,” Varoufakis says. “The reason I accepted the challenge was that I did not have the right to turn it down. When the leader of a political party about to win government offers you the opportunity to implement policies you have been advocating for years, it is pure cowardice to shirk the task. Will I succeed? I shall only know if I try.”
So there it is. We cannot stop now. Whatever small contributions we can each make to bring about the changes and improvements that we desire in our systems, must go on.
Enough of this defeatist talk, Peter, or its off to the Gulag, old son!