“in which case, may I be the first to say well done Gerry.”

Aided and abetted by the right-wing nationalists of the Independent Greeks, Alexis Tsipras has been returned to power in Greece at the head of a New Syriza “experiment” to implement the EU bail-out, and associated austerity measures, that the Old Syriza experiment was once elected to oppose.  Given the contortions Tsipras has put his party, and his country, through it was interesting to see the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, quick off the mark to congratulate Tsipras [on his chutzpah? – Ed] on “the successful outcome of the Greek elections“.   As Newton Emerson noted in Saturday’s Irish News

Gerry Adams appears to have misunderstood a slightly related situation, tweeting “well done 2 the Greek electorate” on the re-election of prime minister Alexis Tsipras. What the Greeks voted for was austerity, after Tsipras did a U-turn and split his party by accepting the EU bailout package he was initially elected to oppose. However, perhaps I have misunderstood Adams and he was signalling that a Stormont welfare reform deal is imminent – in which case, may I be the first to say well done Gerry.

Well, perhaps…  As the once and future poster-boy for anti-austerity in Greece, and elsewhere, and former Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis said just before the election

Varoufakis said in a statement to The Press Project, a Greek website, that Sunday’s elections served two purposes.

“First to nullify the brave ‘No’ which 62 percent of the Greek population (under media fear-mongering and closed banks-capital controls) said to dead end, humiliating and irrational bailout programs and memoranda,” he said.

“Second, the ‘legalization’ of the capitulation that followed the signing of the dead end, humiliating and irrational 3rd (bailout) memorandum.”

[Shome mishtake, shurely? – Ed]  Apparently not.  And don’t call me Shirley…

The Guardian reports on the task ahead for the new Greek coalition government

Recovery to a great degree would rest on the rapid implementation of reforms. “The new government has no time to waste on trials and experiments. The third memorandum [bailout accord] leaves no space,” warned the leftwing daily Efimerida Twn Syntaktwn. “Within three months, 56.4% of the measures, or 127 actions, have to be taken, of which 15 have to be enforced in October.”

In the coming weeks the hugely sensitive issues of pensions cuts, tax increases on farmers, recapitalisation of banks, privatisation of state assets and liberalisation of closed markets must all be tackled. The measures, expected to spell further hardship for the long-suffering middle class, have to be enacted before international inspectors conduct a review of the economy – key not only to unlocking €3bn in badly needed aid, but also to addressing the crucial issue of debt relief.

At 180% of national output, and growing by the day, Greek debt is by far the highest in the EU and the biggest drain on the country’s finances. “There has to be a fourth bailout in the shape of a restructuring of Greece’s debt,” the prominent economist Vicky Pryce told the Guardian. “The current third bailout is a bit of a ‘fake’ bailout as a lot of it is a sort of recycling of what should have been paid to Greece under the second bailout,” she said.

“Still, far from solving all problems, it is a framework on which to work and will encourage a more lenient approach to Greece on the investment front and in eventual QE entry.” Europe has warned openly that there can be no second chance for Athens – an exit from the eurozone will ensue if commitments are not respected.  But as ministers assumed their portfolios, political commentators voiced fears over the new government’s ability to deal with the challenges ahead.

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  • chrisjones2

    Gerry is in La La land again. Pretending that Tsipras won a great victory whereas he was utterly defeated.

    Shades Of SF again then

  • the rich get richer

    The Greeks are stringing Europe along. They were probably waiting for another crisis which they have got(refugee crisis).

    I don’t think that the Greeks will be paying off those debts ever, to be honest.

    You would want to be as daft as those that gave you money to pay it back and no one is that daft.

  • Robin Keogh

    Newton must think his readers dont follow international events, his churlish uturn remark deliberately deflects from the facts. Syriza had a gun to their head in the form of the EU; accept the deal or your people starve. Tsipras is doing what successive right wing Greek governments have failed to do by taking on the corrupt elites, it is here we will see how well he performs.

  • gendjinn

    “I don’t think that the Greeks will be paying off those debts ever, to be honest.”

    Safe bet as the IMF has said several times, Greece will never be in a position to repay them. The debt load is unsustainable. But the beatings must continue until the stone produces blood.

  • gendjinn

    ZOMG Syriza went from 149 to 145 seats….. utter defeat my arse.

    Do you ever make a statement that is not utterly wrong or fatally flawed?

  • Sprite

    It’s all Greek to Gerry, economic colossus that he is…

  • Reader

    Surely the point is that they were defeated in their primary objective even before the election, and now they have asked for, and secured, electoral cover.
    Gerry identifies with that…

  • gendjinn

    Winning two elections in a row is defeat now? Your alien logic is bizarre and incomprehensible.

  • eireanne

    Floggings will continue until Greek morale improves!!!

  • chrisjones2

    Two elections for what?. They set out in a war for independence. They lost. They promised a UI by 2016. They lost and settled for seats in a sort of half baked dysfunctional; super council where every Act is signed off by Liz.

    Utter defeat on every major objective so, under the careful tutelage of Tony “Hand of History” Blair, they tried to redefine it as Victory. Just as Tsipras ‘wins’ his austerity programme and pension cuts SF win Ministerial Chairs and leather benches

  • You better tell Yanis, Robin. He has a slightly different take on it. And he was there.

    But I doubt he’ll be getting another An Phoblacht interview anytime soon…

    And as the quoted Guardian report notes

    In the coming weeks the hugely sensitive issues of pensions cuts, tax increases on farmers, recapitalisation of banks, privatisation of state assets and liberalisation of closed markets must all be tackled. The measures, expected to spell further hardship for the long-suffering middle class, have to be enacted before international inspectors conduct a review of the economy…

    Now, where did we come in again?

  • Robin Keogh

    It is going to be difficult but if tsipras is crafty enough he will run his anti corruption programme alongside whatever cuts the EU have terrorised him into inflicting. He might ride through if folk genuinely feel the elites are getting hit hard enough.

    Getting re elected was a stunning achievement reflecting the Greek peoples realisation that their country was terrorised into submission and a mistrust of the established right wing donkeys.

    Part of the plan of course was to destroy syriza through a deal that was set up to fail.

    ” can you imagine any country where almost all the media are against the government, tell outright lies, use any trick in and outside the book, and the government still gets massive support” – (was Greece set up to fail by Raul Ilargi Meijer, Automatic earth, july 18th)

    The first part of that quote you could certainly apply to the irish media and political opponents of Sinn Fein. But what it shows is that the Greek people trust Tsipras and Syriza. They know (as does the IMF) that much of their debt will ultimately have to be written down. Tsipras just has to hold his nerve and be a steady navigator. The Greeks will have their revenge.

  • No Robin.

    What it shows is that the Greek people didn’t want to leave the Eurozone.

    That was the only viable option that the original Syriza/Tsipras platform offered.

    Now Tsipras is scrambling to recover lost ground.

    “The first part of that quote you could certainly apply to the irish media and political opponents of Sinn Fein.”

    Yeah, that’s the Guardian for you…

    ANYhoo… back to Yanis.

  • Robin Keogh

    No Pete. The Greeks were told; Accept the deal or die, they succumbed at yhe point of a sword; and therewill be a reckoning as a result.

    I was referring to the automatic earth quote re SF.

    Yanis dirtied his bib in Europe, and was gone before the bomb was planted in tsipras’ lap.

  • Robin Keogh

    In a way he was utterly defeated similar to how Unionist were defeated in having to accept power sharing. The difference is that tsipras and syriza are still the dominant political force while unionism is …..

  • “Yanis dirtied his bib in Europe, and was gone before the bomb was planted in tsipras’ lap.”

    Ah, the ice-pick it is then….

  • gendjinn

    “can you imagine any country where almost all the media are against the government, tell outright lies, use any trick in and outside the book, and the government still gets massive support”

    The campaign waged against the Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum last year.

  • gendjinn

    Bizarre. Running off on a wild tangent about Sinn Fein for no good reason. Yer a quare ole sort indeed.

  • Robin Keogh

    Yes i agree

  • chrisjones2

    Doh. The whole basis of the article was the incongruity of Gerry’s comments. I simply pointed out that the parallels between the two are deeper. Both set out with hight sounding ideals of independence and both have failed utterly but still convinced (conned?) the electorate into voting for them again

    Do try and read the posts not just seek excuses to pick fights in the comments

  • SeaanUiNeill

    While I’ve little to add to what you are saying here and above, I must just say its something of a delight to find myself almost in full agreement with you here, Robin!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Gendjinn, while i I have my own “Carthago delenda set” themes on Slugger that I return to with steady regularity, the automatic knee jerk of some others here with stylised “of the shelf” responses every time SF can be dragged into any discussion always serves to entertain……

    Chris is a most valuable contributer to Slugger whose postings I always try to read, but perhaps not for the actual reasons he’d have me read them for……

  • Reader

    Syriza have won an election to impose the fantastical levels of austerity that they campaigned against in their first election. Presumably you think that they, and the electorate, are ecstatic.

  • gendjinn

    You are correct, but utter defeat is OTT. My cynical view is parties in a representative system are only ever there to perpetuate themselves. Should they ever accomplish any policy goals it’s purely in support of the above.

    If you think the shambles in Greece was bad, watch the bums-on-seats justifications we get from shower down south the next election.

  • gendjinn

    Yer a better man than me, although I’m a better man than I was 20 years ago. Where there’s life there’s hope indeed.

  • gendjinn

    If you believe Varofakis, Tsipras was always selling the people down the river. The plan was to lose the referendum on austerity, which would give him cover to move forward on it and they were shocked by the vote. Hence the GE that has accomplished the same thing.

    Tsipras wasn’t defeated, democracy and the people were.

  • James7e

    “Do try and read the posts not just seek excuses to pick fights in the comments”

    You might be asking more than G feels he can really give, there…