Monday, June 29, 2015


While we were all celebrating the US Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, the IMF and Germany decided to pull the trigger on forcing Greece out of the Euro, revealing that those negotiations the Greek government had been engaging in and come close to betraying its own base on to find a compromise weren't for a permanent solution to Greece's debts, but just to kick the can down the road for six months, after which it'd be more knife to the throat "negotiations" for more austerity again. This wasn't what Syriza was elected to do, so they've gone to the people in a referendum. No-one knows which way that will go, but in the meantime Greece's slow-motion bank-run (driven by the uncertainty over negotiations, and one of the reasons for the Greek government's poor performance - you can't tax a cash economy) has gone hot, while the EU has tried to strangle Greece even further by capping the mechanism designed to prevent it.

So, basicly, the IMF and EU's efforts to be "tough" has driven the Greek economy even further into the ground, and provoked an effective referendum on default and Grexit. I'm assuming they don't want both of those things (since they involve bankers losing their money and politicians losing their pride), so heckuva job guys.

As for what happens next, faced with a concrete threat of departure and a decision in the hands of voters rather than politicians, the EU has finally offered debt relief. So maybe there'll be a better deal on the table by Sunday which the Greek government and people can accept. If not, and Greece is forced out of the Euro as punishment for debt, then I guess we'll know that it is bankers and not elected politicians who run the EU.

But either way, the fact that things have got to this point tells us that something is deeply wrong with Europe. The idea that you would crash a member country's economy with five years of crippling austerity is monstrous; to do it in an effort to repay debts which simply cannot be paid, and to keep doubling down on that mistake is just obscene. This should never have happened. People have died because of the IMF and EU's approach to Greece, and their negotiators should be held legally responsible for every one of those deaths.