Saturday, 22 October 2011
When I was young amongst the many forms of preaching endured was politicians telling me to live an austere and frugal life the reason being that “Whitehall knows best”. It didn’t. Now Emperor Barroso, taking on the mantle of Charlemagne is telling me that Brussels knows best, it doesn’t.
A blogger on Friday, Raedwald, reminded us that in the 1970’s Greece was a very different place, very much poorer and with simple life styles. After it was given a great deal of money to play with by Brussels it has changed radically as have the expectations of its younger generations.
Greece has persistently manipulated its figures to justify its appeals for that money and more recently in order to keep the game going recruited Goldman Sachs to help it. Rather like going to the public executioner for a close shave. This has created a problem.
But because its affairs are so interwoven with other members of the Eurozone, so may of Brussels activities and so many of the major European banks it is now all our problems and because it is so big and difficult to control we are not sure of what to do except throw more money at Greece.
In Greece itself we have the unhappy situation of a major budget deficit in a country where almost all the wealthy and higher income groups evade tax and make use of tax havens whereas most of the lower income groups are dependent either wholly or in part on state benefits and public sector spending.
So the money sent to Greece will substantially leak out to where nobody knows because as well as its real economy, there seems to be an illegal economy almost on the scale of the UK’s. The hope is that in transmitting this money around various accounts sufficient fictions can be maintained to keep people happy.
Until the next time and historically with Greece there will always be a next time. This is because in Greece the last two millennia have been consistently turbulent and its location, geography and strategic importance will always make it so.
Before then it had been turbulent, put “Alexander The Great” into Wikipedia for a small part of the story in terms of time but not of the nature of Greek ambitions and activity effecting other parts of the world.
Our problems of perception arise from the magnificent legacy the Greeks left in terms of written learning, philosophy, science, literature and the arts. At the same time it was an Imperial power under Athens and continually engaged in conflict. It’s “demos” was not a democracy as we understand it.
When the Greeks entered the Common Market it was rather like King Leonidas welcoming the Persians and ensuring them safe passage at Thermopylae instead of fighting them to the death. There was a second Battle of Thermopylae in 1941, this time the New Zealanders and the Australians taking on the Germans.
Perhaps the UK might have been a lot better off sticking with the Dominions and other world connections instead of joining an EU that is going to fall under German domination arising from events in Greece.
The destruction of the Agora, the central meeting place of ancient Athens took a long time under various Persian, Roman and Slavic intruders and the Ottoman Empire.
This time round it may be accomplished much more quickly.