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Monday 26 January 2015

Greek Elections - Don’t Panic

The outcome of yesterday’s snap General Election in Greece, with centre-left party Syriza taking 149 out of 300 seats and agreeing a coalition deal with independent representatives today, has already achieved shock horror status in much of the right-leaning press, with the Mail and Telegraph trying their best to frighten readers with stories of Euro meltdown, Greece leaving the EU, and worse - none of which is actually in prospect.
While Liam Halligan at the Tel warns “Even if Greece stays in the single currency, after choosing a party determined to defy the European Central Bank, negotiations over bond repayments between Athens and Frankfurt will be extremely hard-fought”, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, now Greek Prime Minister, has said unequivocally thatwe do not support any Euroscepticism”. So no leaving the EU, or the Euro, it seems.

EurActiv appears to confirm this: “Syriza has decisively ruled out the 'Grexit' option, according to EU Parliament Vice President and Syriza MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis, who spoke in an exclusive interview with EurActiv Greece in Strasbourg”. He said “There is absolutely no case for a Grexit. Those who invoke such a possibility play a propaganda game against the Greek and European economy”. Hello Telegraph hacks.

The Mail continues the pretence of instability for the Eurozone: “Will SPAIN be next to scrap austerity measures after Greek revolt? Voters warned they are playing 'Russian Roulette' as support for anti-cuts parties surges across EU in wake of Far Left's victory”, giving readers the dreaded news'Uh oh, new Greek leader really IS a socialist': Alexis Tsipras still lives in this working-class block of flats”.

But Syriza, as Papadimoulis has pointed out, wants Greece to remain “a respectable member of the the European Union and the euro zone”, noting that his party “has been working for a long time ‘for making people inside and outside Greece that we are not those populist and anti-euro monsters we are depicted like by our competitors and by media’”, and that others “do not need to be afraid of a possible government led by Tsipras”.

It’s almost as if some of the right-leaning UK establishment are trying to create a caricature of what Tsipras and his party might do once established in office. Indeed, the Mail has hired Dan, Dan The Oratory Man to give his usual creative analysis: “It is a coalition of Trotskyists, Maoists, eco-protesters and Occupy types. Mr Tsipras has only recently removed the Che Guevara poster from his office”. Yeah, he’s a dangerous leftie!

Hannan is even prepared to slip in the odd whopper: “If forced to choose, he would pick the drachma over more austerity” (no citation), following that with “In truth, this is what EU leaders fear. Not that Greece will leave the euro and collapse, but that Greece will leave the euro and prosper. A competitive Greek economy, exporting its way back to growth, might inspire Spaniards and Italians … to follow”.

Hannan is talking out of the back of his neck. So is much of the press. Syriza is a mainstream centre-left party and the world is not about to end. Boring but true.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Someone better tell Dan that the other partner in the coalition is a right wing group who are also against austerity.