Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Greeks Vote Against Euro And European Union And For Home Rule And Democracy
January 27, 2015
It has been centuries since Greece mattered much in world affairs. But Syriza’s striking victory in the Greek parliamentary election Sunday could reshape Europe. In voting for the radical left-wing party the Greek people have reinvigorated home rule and democracy across the continent and challenged the “European project,” embodied by the European Union.
Greece has been in economic crisis seemingly for eternity. Always an economic laggard, the congenitally inefficient south European state manipulated statistics to meet the entry criteria for the Euro, or common currency. The other European governments knew they were being lied to but didn’t care.
Once in the Euro, Athens politicians threw a big party. The government borrowed at near-German interest rates and spent wildly. Nominal conservatives were little different than supposed socialists. The two main parties alternated in power and created a shared system of statist entitlement. Observed Denis MacShane, former British minister for Europe, politicians “awarded jobs and contracts to their friends and allowed the professional middle classes and public sector unions to avoid all responsibility for paying taxes. And they shunned the actual task of governing—that is, reforming the state so it can deliver public services fairly and to all.”