At last a Minister of Finance with some integrity…..Yanis Varoufakis – to whose important “Global Minotaur” book I devoted a blogpost almost three years ago - has emerged from the chaos that is Greece as the Finance Minister of the new Syriza government. He is either a very foolish or a very courageous man!
His has been one of the clear and strong voices of economic sanity for the past few years, using his blog to great effect – giving us not only analysis but challenging recommendations. In a post earlier this month, he explains why he decided to run in these elections. He’s fully aware of the ease with which honest people get corrupted (in different ways) by office and assures us that will keep a letter of resignation in his inside pocket for use whenever he “loses the commitment to speak truth to power”. The problem, of course, is that he has just become that power!! So his dialogue will have to be with his conscience!
Paul Mason – from whom sadly we do not hear much now that he has moved from radio to television – had a recent interview with him in which Varifakous promised to “destroy the Greek oligarchy system". In 2010, Varifakous wrote (with fellow political economics Professors Stuart Holland and James Galbraith – son of the famous JG) a 12 page modest proposal for resolving the European crisis…..
Klaus Kastner is a retired Austrian banker who has a very sharply-written blog called Observing Greece and gives us not only an interesting and measured response to the Syriza victory but access to the programme on which Syriza ran
We are all very rude about the Greeks – and their role in European events in the last 100 years gives us every reason to be. Their invasion of Turkey in 1919 caused massacres and massive migration treks and regional instability. Of course, Britain’s elite has always had strong Hellenic prejudices and has consistently been on the sidelines cheering the bloodletters and oligarchs on……..A long article in November last year gives the detail on Winston Churchill’s role in the horrific Greek Civil War post 1944. My gym teacher at school was a Greek communist who was one of many forced to leave the country because of the violence. His nickname was “Wee Pat” and I still remember his stentorian voice as he would bellow to those wanting to be excused the stronger exercises “keep your vest on boy!”!!!
Those wanting to keep in touch with Greek events might usefully use the Macropolis website which started in 2013 specifically to help outsiders try to make sense of the Greek tragedy…..