Now in power, policy will affect the extent which Syriza can continue to wing it

World by Storm on the Greek situation

It genuinely is a situation where it is near impossible to forecast how matters pan out. Interesting to read the view of some yesterday that Syriza regards the current government as a very very temporary thing, almost a means of getting themselves into play at national level.

It makes sense, but that only works, both on a political level and economic level both in Greece and more broadly in Europe, if there’s actual positive outcomes.

Quite. Although it is not clear from Syriza’s outline policy what they could consider a success, but teaming up with Greece’s equivalent of UKIP is a embarrassing and difficult partnership to maintain for an avowedly leftist party.

As Pete noted on Saturday the Standard and Poors analysis

…places Ireland’s Sinn Féin, Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece, which want to remain as euro zone members but advocate policies, including default, that are unlikely to be compatible with EMU membership, or with maintaining continuous access to ECB financing.

For Ireland we might describe Sinn Fein as fanatically pragmatic (they aren’t the first in what is probably Europe’s most completely post ideological state), pretty adept at flat packing and disappearing old policies that appeal but don’t work…

That’s the thing about populism, its the appeal that matters. That, and just keeping the ball rolling. Significant pain relief and room to kick the can a little further down the road may be all Syriza need..

But bear in too that they only came in 8% ahead of New Democracy; who by all accounts are glad to have got out with such little damage. The 50 seat bonus that accrues to the top party flatters somewhat to deceive.

Now they are in power, policy will affect the extent which they can wing it. Greece, no less than Ireland, remains substantially pro EU. Getting bucked out is a no no, and not just because the landing could be brutal.

In many respects these dilemmas are just dramatic representations of what’s happening right across Europe. As Adam Curtis notes in the resonant introduction to his latest offering, Bitter Lake

Increasingly, we live in a world where nothing makes any sense. Events come and go like waves of a fever, leaving us confused and uncertain. Those in power tell stories to help us make sense of the complexity of reality, but those stories are increasingly unconvincing and hollow.

Scary times…

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  • Barneyt

    Do you not think Syriza will be canny enough? They do seem to have gathered in plenty of academics who seem to know what they are talking about…something SF here at home are accused of lacking. I suspect they will engineer a push rather than a Syriza driven withdrawal. That will leave the Eurozone in difficulty and expose Brussels and co in the extreme, particularly with the smaller states. However, it may prove to be the lesser evil. The EU may have to enforce a Grexit if they default but they’ll need to do it quickly…before Spain takes a similar populist path.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    I think Pete’s quote above pretty much nails it. We want to continue with the loans but we just don’t want to pay them back. Some tough love needed from Europe with the Greeks being shown the door. Unfortunately the busted flush that is Europe don’t have the cojonies for this sort of action. The last quote frightens the crap out of me. None of it makes sense any more. Print money, loan it to corrupt little EU backwaters, then right off the debt. When the merry go round stops turning we are all in for a big shock. If you ever needed a reason to get out of Europe this it.

  • Robin Keogh

    It really is unchartered waters for the eurozone. Austerity is inflicting a shocking level of pain on the Greek population and it simply cannot continue. Both Syriza and the Eurozone nations will seriously have to start thinking outside the box because a democratic mandate cannot simply be ignored. As wobbly as Europe can be sometimes I dont believe that anybody is seriously considering a Greek exit as an option. It would be a catastrophe in terms of the creditors and the last thing Europe needs on its doorstep is a country willing to devalue its currency. Not to mention what an exit might mean across Europe where Left wing parties are gathering momentum. A deal will be done which will make both sides look as if they have stuck to their guns.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Unfortunately Robin, the right deal, a Greek exit, won’t happen. The Euro as a financial experiment just does not work. It really is that simple.

  • notimetoshine

    It could work but it requires fiscal and politicalconstitutional union. Europe is not ready for it, it may never be. The euro project should never have taken off without the prerequisites of a state.

  • kalista63

    Bonnie Greer kinda nailed it with the old saw, one campaigns in peoyry and governs in prose.

    For those who have not seen them, I hoghly recommend Paul Mason’s reports from Greece, last week. RT and AJ have also done great, truly heart breaking reports on Greece. We are not talking about the way Ireland or Spain has been hit. What we are talking about is a FUCKING tsunami hitting Greece with all the implications of an actual tsunami such as death, homelessness, destruction but it was man made.

  • Megatron_

    I would be interested in a post regarding SF fanatical pragmatism with some evidence of same when you have a chance.

    I don’t see it. Syriza has/had the same narrative of “sure when anyone of those crazies get into power they have to follow the same policies” with the underlying message to voters being don’t listen to anyone there is no other options (to austerity).

  • Megatron_

    Also as alluded to below, the Syriza cabinet appears much more capable than the assembled clowns in Westminster or Dublin.

  • kalista63

    The reach eastwards, it’s agenda revealed by the Ukraine coup, was damaging and smothering that goes without mention, save for the vulgar anti immigration debate.

  • Old Mortality

    According to Paul Mason on C4 News this evening, Syriza is proposing – if I recall the figures correctly — to increase the minimum wage to €750 per month, signficantly more than the average wage; provide electricity for free to 300,000 (?) and employ thousands more civil servants.
    If these policies are implemented, Greece has no future in the Eurozone. The troika might contemplate some easing in debt terms but it won’t tolerate any regression to the kind of policies that got Greece into trouble in the first place.

  • puffen

    The Greeks have a brass neck. which will soon be broken, they had their party, now no matter what happens they will pay, either in their own currency or euros, themuns down South should have kept the punt pegged slightly below Sterling, much too late now. having said that Lifford and Dundalk should get a turn for a wee while, until the next time, BUY GOLD NOW/

  • D99

    Maybe the stories don’t make sense because they don’t coincide with reality, i.e., they’re not true. When you repeat something often enough it can often be mistaken for the truth. (Weapons of mass destruction, trickle down economics, it’s essential to cut everything to reduce the deficit … Maybe we should consider who benefits from such stories.)
    Maybe the Greek people have had enough “tough love” and are prepared to bet their future on the hope of something new. Maybe they feel they have very little left to lose.
    Maybe they can survive outside the Monetary Union – without the debt repayments, they would be running a 3% surplus going forward.
    Maybe Spain will follow their example and anti-austerity politics will spread across Southern Europe whatever happens, i.e., whether the Greek debt is reduced/forgiven or whether Greece is force out of the Monetary Union.
    Maybe the Labour Party should take note of what happened to the centre left Pasok party in Greece, that went from having about 44% of the vote to polling about 4% last Sunday.
    Certainly, things are about to get very interesting.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    I don’t disagree with what you say D.

  • aber1991

    I entirely agree. The UK needs to get out of the EU, out, out, out.

  • kensei

    Greece, unlike Ireland, is in primary surplus. Everyone also accepts that Greece will never pay back its debts at current market rates – what can’t sustain, won’t. The nominal value of Greek debts also make bugger all difference to Greece’s creditors, but quite a substantial difference to Greece. This is about flows and politics. How much money flows out of Greece to creditor nations, at what cost to them and what political price are Germany and other nations willing to take to make an example of Greece.

    Syria are actually the ones proposing the conventional economics on the debt. In a union like the Euro there has to be transfers for it to hold; the German instance on very hard money and a refusal for the North to spend or deflate is both a moral scandal in that its collective punishment and a disaster for Europe. How many years of anaemic growth and near deflation do you need to stop banging your head against the wall? Even the BOE governor is sticking his oar in.

    And a final piece of pure speculation – everyone is blasé about a Grexit. It sounds an awful lot like ‘sure it is fine if Bear Stearns fails’. Maybe you get away with that one. But it opens even slightly the possibility of the next, and if it happens you are dead.

  • chrisjones2

    “it simply cannot continue”

    Yes it can until they make real; change like fixing their tax system and addressing featherbedding in state organisations and corruption. If they don’t do that it will collapse

    “a democratic mandate cannot be ignored”

    Yes and Germany’s mandate is to make them Pay

    “I dont believe that anybody is seriously considering a Greek exit as an option”

    Why not? They are a drag on Europe at the moment

    “the last thing Europe needs on its doorstep is a country willing to devalue its currency”

    What is the problem for anyone but the Greeks if they do? That is the real way to sort this.

  • Robin Keogh

    Its not realistic to starve a section of the Greek population into submission. And while many feel there is no need for empathy here, others have a different viewpoint. There have been huge changes to working hours, payrates etc but the crippling debt and repayment structures are continuing to shrink the economy with more and more people falling into poverty. On humanitarian grounds alone this cannot continue, and whats more it will not be allowed continue. Both Spain and Portugal have elections this year with all the polls predicting a realignment of politics in these countries too. Europe along with the Greeks will have to find a workable solution. in the past default contagion was a real fear, now we see the potential for an anti austerity contagion to sweep up enough countries and force Europe into compromise or collapse. Starving your people is not a realistic option anymore and Brussels better wake up to this reality pronto.