Monday, 31 October 2011

Papandreou to go for a referendum

I’m currently reading Donald Kagan’s book, Thucydides: the Reinvention of History, which gives a lucid and sometimes brilliant account of the key issues, personalities and events of the Peloponnesian War. In particular, Kagan provides an excellent portrait of the personality and career of Pericles and his relationship to the Athenian democracy, which Kagan shows us working at its best and worst. At its worst, the Athenian democracy – like all democracies – was nothing more than mob rule, with the fate of the city (and its empire) in the hands of an ignorant and fickle mass, swayed by fears and prejudice and prone to bribery and flattery.

‘Trusting the judgement of the people’ or making critical decisions according to its ‘will’ is, therefore,  a very dangerous exercise and I’ve never been much in favour of it, regarding it as an easy way out for leaders that have lost the determination or know-how to govern; but the breaking news is that this is the path that Greece's PM Giorgos Papandreou has chosen to go down, having told Pasok MPs that the government is to hold a referendum on the debt deal reached last week in Brussels, in which Greece accepted a 50% haircut of its sovereign debt in return for pushing through economic and public sector reforms. I guess now we will see whether Greeks want to take the medicine prescribed to them by the EU, or whether, as Syriza, KKE and all the rest keep telling us, they are sick to death of austerity and tax rises and want to plot another path to exit the crisis.

*And here’s Nikos Dimitriou in The Guardian writing about what default and exit from the euro – which, presumably, a ‘no’ in the referendum on the debt agreement would entail – would mean for Greece. Essentially, it would mean chaos and violence to start with and then, since Greece is a fractious place with an ineffective state and a tendency to political thuggery, would mean even more chaos and violence to follow.


Anonymous said...

If anyone's interested:

A full series of lectures from Kagan on Greek history.

Hermes said...

Papandreou is up to his old silly tricks again. Rather than shifting part of the blame onto New Democracy, he is now trying to shift it onto the Greek people, despite having an effective parliamentary majority.

Papandreou should go back to Minnesota along with the rest of his family or else we will have another Gadaffi-like lynching on our hands.

Kagan is a dull Thucydidean that was corrupted by the freaks that rule Washington.

lastgreek said...

Referendum, no referendum ...

You have the Greek Foreign Minister saying that this is news to him. You have the Greek Health Minister saying that it's illegal ... or something like that.

Anyway, it's like you say,J -- it's a lunatic asylum over there.

I am going off topic here, but there is this news story I came across over the weekend that is still very much upsetting me. It comes from Johannesburg, SA. Two girls of Greek heritage -- one 18, the other 16 -- were tied up, doused with petrol, and set on fire in some satanic ritual. The older girl Kirsty Theologo died last week of her burns, the other is in serious but stable condition. The culprits are 5 young men. I don't know if they are black or white, but their names appear to be of Dutch/Anglo origin. They had recently befriended the girls.

John Akritas said...

Seems, LG, as if GP has overplayed his hand, and it will be elections not a referendum. In a referendum, Greeks would have to vote 'no'. A free people couldn't do otherwise.

As for SA, in truth, what are Greeks doing there?

lastgreek said...

If the MF Global scandal -- as of a few days ago, they were primary dealers in USTs -- wasn't bad enough, now we have the G-Pap play. Varoufakis describes it as G-Pap "falling on his sword" ... others have described as being "too stupid to be stupid."
Who the heck knows what the G-Pap is up to.

But we do know this. There will be a new "sheriff" in town soon, and his name is ... Mario Draghi, ex Goldman Sachs. He will be the new president of the ECB replacing the retiring Trichet.

Ex Goldman Sachs ... all we have to know, folks; ergo, the bankers will get their way.

You know, I have second cousins in New Zealand, of all places. When I found this out, the first thought that came to mind was "What are Greeks doing there?" :-)

Anonymous said...

Next you will be asking "What are Greeks doing in Australia?"

We are doing very well, thank you very much. Retaining our culture better than than any other ethnic group.

Savvas Tzionis

btw.... read this on the Debt crisis...

John Akritas said...

But Savva, South Africa's not New Zealand or Australia is it? My relatives in South Africa packed up and got out as soon as they could. I can't see a future for Greeks there.

Hermes said...

Savvas you must be joking about "retaining our culture better than any other ethnic group"? The Greek language (the most important marker of Hellenism) as a language of primary or even seconday communication, is rapidly disappearing from Australia.