greece sunday trading
Democracy

Secular Europe forces Orthodox Greece to roll out Sunday trading

 

When it comes to Sunday trading, at least HM Government is intent on deploying the statutory instrument in the democratic process.  The Greek government, on the other hand, has been directed by their EU masters “to formally commit to strengthening their proposals in a number of areas identified by the Institutions, with a satisfactory clear timetable for legislation and implementation.. including Sunday trade”.

The ‘Institutions’ in this context are those of the Eurogroup in Brussels, but no-one is deluded that it isn’t essentially the Franco-German engine of ever closer integration, led chiefly by Chancellor Merkel of Germany, who (by all accounts) was “brutal” as she “bullied”, “nailed” and “crucified” the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his new Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos. The objective was to “grind down the Greeks”, and they certainly did it.

It is a hollow settlement that casts aside the will of the people expressed so recently in a referendum, but the outcome was predicted and pre-ordained:

..let us not fool ourselves about what will follow. The Franco-German axis will convene an emergency bilateral summit to agree the way forward, and then tell the other EU member states what it is. ‘Ever closer union’ precludes any restoration of national sovereignty: the answer to every crisis in the EU is ‘more Europe’.

The deal which the people rejected has been succeeded by a deal which is rather more austere. Never in the history of EU referenda has such an overwhelming Οχι been so expeditiously overturned by so much arm-twisting with so little favourable compromise to the recalcitrant state. In exchange for a further bailout of €86bn over three years – in addition to the €240bn bailouts already granted and with no reduction in the overall level of debt – the Greeks must accept a whole raft of economic reforms, including a €50bn programme of privatisation and the rolling out of Sunday trading. But at least they’ll now be able to pay back the outstanding €1.6bn to the IMF, and also meet their commitment to repay a further €3.5bn to the ECB next week. That’s €5.1bn gone in a flash.

Twitter has been outraged with #ThisIsACoup, but it really isn’t. It may seem like it, and, if you’re Greek, it might feel like a bit of a stitch-up. But neither Germany nor the Eurogroup can impose anything upon the Greek government that the Greek government is not prepared to concede. Tsipras and Tsakalotos may have been punched and kicked, but they were never bound and gagged. They have, of their own volition, done a deal. It was the price Syriza had to pay to remain in the euro: clubs, after all, have rules. They must now sell that deal to their parliament. What the Greek Prime Minister did not reject, the Greek Parliament yet could. Were it to do so, there would be a certain general election, which would result in the election of a government even more ill-disposed toward Brussels – even of the fascist Golden Dawn. If 62% of a people are feeling oppressed, they may seek national salvation in all manner of false and ugly messiahs.

Greece is bankrupt and the world knows it. So does the Greek Orthodox Church (which is by no means bankrupt, and prays for ‘more Europe’). Is the secularity of Sunday trade a price worth paying for ‘more Europe’? Where is the economic morality in borrowing and borrowing to pay off concentric circles of never-ending debt? Man shall not live by bread alone. Nor can he live forever on someone else’s dough.

For the Greek Orthodox Church, Sunday is still special. It is the day when the Gospels are venerated among the people, and the Beatitudes are sung. It is communal: there are no abstractions. For the Orthodox, love is powerful and present. In their consciousness they carry the heritage of Xenophanes and Plato; mindful of their myth, yet fervent in their belief that the rites and practices of religion are necessary for the well-being of man and the smooth running of society. Secularity may present a kind of societal symmetry, but it can never transcend the world of sight or inspire awe. True religion involves moral and intellectual purification; ascent from lower to higher mysteries in order that the soul might apprehend and understand.

By all means, let the atheist Greek Prime Minister persuade his parliament that Sunday is no longer sacred. They freely elected him, and, after all, the sabbath was made for man; not man for the sabbath. But let the Greek people know and understand that it was the EU – the secular Europe of the Enlightenment – cajoled by secular Germany in partnership with secular France, which contended that the conservative heritage of the Orthodox tradition was otiose, and that another cornerstone of Christendom must bow to the precepts of the Euro-beast. They have no ears for the homilies John Chrysostom, and no eyes for the political vision of Basil the Great.

Alexis Tsipras and Angela Merkel may sing the same hymn of divine darkness in the choir of secular Europe, but the rich who neglect their suffering brothers and sisters will surely experience the pain of Dives in hell.

  • Anton

    A common day off each week is good for family life but it’s the one of Israel’s Ten Commandments that Jesus didn’t repeat to his followers. (Does God really want North Korean Christians to be martyred for going on strike every 7 days rather than for their witness to others?) Christians who campaign energetically to keep Sunday-off while merely grumbling about the far more insidious ways in which politicians (UK and EU) are wrecking family life have a strange set of priorities.

  • Retired Paul

    Just because the shops are open does not mean that anyone has to go to them. They can still choose to go to church or have a quiet family day together.

    After a while, businesses will realise that paying people to stand around when there are no customers is a mug’s game. It may even be that the German owned businesses will realise it first!

    • saintmark

      “Just because the shops are open does not mean that anyone has to go to them.”

      Unless you work in one of them

  • Orwell Ian

    Allowing the reunification of Germany was not a smart move. Within a generation it has yet again become a domineering European power.

    When someone is mentally waterboarded for hours on end their own volition is flushed down the drain. Referendum ignored. Elected government neutered. Sovereignty trampled underfoot. The Coup that isn’t morphs into Occupation by stealth. “Ever closer Union” imposed by the boots of bailiffs and bureaucrats instead of tanks and infantry.

    The impoverished Greeks may indeed seek national salvation in all manner of false and ugly messiahs. Perhaps we shall witness the materialisation of “little green men” who may, or may not, be Russian.

    • bluedog

      Very true about Germany. A far better option would have been to sub-divide Germany into four Germanic states when the Wall fell. In fact, that’s precisely what the EU ex-Germany should demand of Germany as a condition for continued German membership of the EU. If Germany can make political demands of Greece, the EU should respond in kind. Otherwise Germany will steadily accrue overwhelming power within the EU, making ever greater demands on its subject nations. Of course, there’s no chance of the non-German states partitioning Germany, they’re too weak-minded, but its something the French could take the lead in.

      • I learned yesterday that the German national anthem during the 2nd Reich was to the tune of God save the queen…. But didn’t Britain own a bit of Germany , Hanover, once when we had those German kings called George? We could claim it back !

        • bluedog

          No, no. Ever been to Hanover and any of those North German towns? Dull, boring, incredibly provincial, full of old women dressed in loden colours with feathered hats. Interesting and somehow unsurprising to learn that the national anthem is an old German tune.

          • Phil R

            LOL Hannover, Hanover is in the USA.

            The German on beats most UK cities of a similar size

      • carl jacobs

        And what is the German crime? Hard work? Discipline? Thrift?

        • bluedog

          Well, the Germans are being, umm, just so German. You know what I mean.

        • Phil R

          Sensible use of money. Good beer

          • carl jacobs

            I cannot even fathom the idea of warm beer. How could it possibly be good?

          • Phil R

            There are three things wrong with America.

            The bread, the beer and the coffee.

          • carl jacobs

            OK, I’ll grant you the comment about bread. My daughter said the same thing when she returned from Finland. I don’t know enough about coffee to have an opinion. My wife drinks that triple shot vanilla … garbanzo bean … whatever snooty coffee at $4 a cup. I generally get Hot Chocolate. But I object to your overly generalized statement about beer. There is good beer in the US and (shelves and shelves and shelves of) bad beer in the US. We stock it for the Canadians, doncha know. All that bad beer – it’s not our fault.

            Whether good or bad, it all has one thing in common. It is all served cold. Warm beer is by definition bad beer. We even serve it in a frosty mug.

  • len

    We are really seeing now who the powerbrokers are in the wonderful brotherhood of man the EU….
    There are those energised by the powers of darkness whose aim is total control of Europe and after countless wars ,millions of lives lost,this ‘tower of Babel’ the EU has achieved its aims by deception…..

    • Dominic Stockford

      “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
      to whom belong wisdom and might.
      He changes times and seasons;
      he removes kings and sets up kings;”

      One day the EU will fall too.

  • alternative_perspective

    All the Greeks have to do is drop the euro. It won’t be easy and difficulties would follow but it would open a route to economic freedom.

    They have however persistently chosen to live within the euro, as pseudo Germans but without the discipline. They have accrued unpayable debts and now economic exile awaits.

    They chose this path. This is the fruition of the seeds they planted when they fudged their way into the euro.

    Its time for the Greek people to face economic reality and take responsibility for their actions. Whatever choice they make, its going to be painful. Hopefully they and us learn from the experience.

  • CliveM

    Considering the contempt with which they are being treated and the humiliations being heaped upon them, you should feel pity and outrage for the Greeks.

    Except they have an option. There is another future for them, free of the Euro. They refuse to accept it. They may have invented democracy, pondered on the nature of good governance, but they are no good at it.

    I suppose all thing considered, Sunday trading is amongst the least of what is happening to them. But I do wonder, considering how regulated German Sunday trading laws are, what right they have to impose this. This is state serfdom.

    • Patrick G Cox

      The Germans have not imposed this on the Greeks. Take a look at where these ‘suggestions’ come from. One more thing, the Eurozone Finance Ministers imposed this – Hr Schauble wanted the Greeks to leave the Eurozone. He was outvoted.

      • CliveM

        And failing their expulsion, these were the only financial terms the Germans were willing to countenance.

    • Dreadnaught

      Contempt? Humiliation you should feel pity and outrage for the Greeks?
      If anyone will be humiliated it will be the UK (again). Not a part of the Euro but being presented with a bill for a Billion just like we had to for Ireland. Your warm heart skips the fact that the Greeks have been enjoying a virtual tax- free lifestyle for years and retirement at 56 for the 25% employed in the public sector.
      I’m sorry but you need to reflect on your sentimental position in relation to the reality.
      The Greek mission to Putin should tell you what shade of *politics pervades in Hellas; *they would sell out the West and give over a couple of Islands for Russian Navy Bases and who knows what else, if the price was right – in used notes of course.

      • CliveM

        I think you have misunderstood what I’ve said. Probably my fault. Greece has been humiliated etc, but my point is that they could have avoided it and is ultimately their own doing. They have an alternative, but have decided to let the EU kick sand in their face instead. I don’t have sympathy.

        • I’ve got sympathy for the ordinary Greek, but not their political classes.

          • CliveM

            Me to Sam.

          • Still think we should keep the Elgin marbles, though.

          • CliveM

            Absolutely, look how the Greeks have looked after the Parthenon! It’s all falling apart!

          • I thought it was the pantheon! It’s all bloody Greek to me !

          • Pubcrawler

            Despite its Greek name, the Pantheon’s in Rome . . . And in rather better nick than the Parthenon.

          • Dude

            I’ve sussed you are a classics man, who read probably at Cambridge, but from somewhere in the potteries or the black country. The Mona Lisa is Italian, but in the French loo- ve?

            I get confused : my education of classics is via the likes of educational shows such as xena: warrior princess! Apparently the Greeks as descendants of the Holy Byzantine empire might have the original Temple Menorah somewhere ? Now that’d be something.

          • Patrick G Cox

            That’s probably because the Turks used it as a gunpowder store – and accidently blew it up just before Lrd Elgin managed to grab the marbles …

  • Patrick G Cox

    An interesting claim in the headline regarding the ‘forcing’ of the Greeks to adopt Sunday Trading. Please note that the ‘Toolkit’ comes from the OECD and not the EU. INdeed the UK is one of the larger voices in the OECD and is now itself pushing for Sunday Trading to be ‘normailsed’ whereas most of Europe does NOT open on Sundays. INdeed a recent poll in Germany rejected it completely.

    I find the constant anti-EU and anti-Germany rhetoric from the UK more than a little disturbing. It has echoes of the 1880 – 1914 rhetoric against the Germans on just about everything in it and I find equally disturbing the gulf of difference in the manner the UK Media in general has reported the Greek economic mess and the manner it is reported in Germany, France and one or two other languages I can decipher to be at best, disingenuous. I am left with the feeling that the UK is absolutely determined to smash the EU and the Euro by any means possible. One must therefore ask the question; why?

    The EU certainly has its faults, but it is completely irresponsible to claim that it is ‘falling to pieces’ and ‘failing’ (Daily Telegraph), undemocratic (Daily Fail, Express and The Guardian) because you, the UK voters do not have a vote directly in the elections for the Commission and some twenty-six of the seats in the council of Ministers. I think it is time to stop fighting WW1 and WW2 and face some of the realities. We’ve managed to annoy most of the Commonwealth, India is now one of the economic powerhouses in the world, Pakistan is a failed and collapsing state, most of the former African colonies are basket cases – so are these the people we think will welcome our patronage? Perhaps that is the problem – we can’t patronise the EU members because most of them are doing pretty well in the EU.

    • Anton

      The EU is a direct consequence of WW2: France wanted to bind Germany so tightly that it could never happen again, and an embarrassed Germany wanted to prove itself friendly. But you can be friends without getting into bed, and that is the British (people’s) position. I think it is better.

      • Didn’t France only agree to German unification if they agreed to join the Euro to” bind Germany in silken cords”?

        • Patrick G Cox

          Correct, and to get their hands on the economic benefit to prop up their own.

      • Dreadnaught

        Why leave out the Napoleonic and Franco-Prussian tiffs that lead up to two world wars. Just wait until France succeeds in grafting on Turkey and the Balkan States, then we’ll see how cosy the relationship.
        One day European Jo Public will stand up and say to hell with the lot of you and the sooner the better.

    • The German press seem to have vilified Greeks as lazy tossers with too many benefits. That’s what the eu and the Euro specifically has done: divided countries and left bitterness on all sides .

    • CliveM

      Patrick

      It maybe was part of the OECD tool kit, but it was the Eurozone countries that imposed it.

    • Dude

      I’ve re read your post. I’m assuming you’re either an expat or have at one time lived in Germany?

      My answer to your question is that in the past 20 years British eurosceptiscm has come from the right of centre with the centre and mainstream left generally pro EU. Those who are Euro sceptic have been readily dismissed as loons or basically nationalist/racist and as you say accused of living as if WWii was still being fought. I think that this is an unfair portrayal of the intelligent Euro sceptic , but politically that’s how we’ve been dismissed.

      But what has changed with the debacle over Greece (past couple of years) is the perception of Europe, among my liberal and mainstream left friends. I think the reality of realpolitik has shocked them to the core (lefties are basically big idealists).

      Clive m gave us a link to an article. I honed in on this bit :

      “For Germany the euro is a simple national interest weapon. It allows it to dominate Europe and global trade by artificially suppressing its real exchange rate. For it to sustain that position it cannot allow peripheral nations to successfully drop out of the currency. They’d flood out and the more that left the higher the euro would rise as the German weighting in the currency increased. Anyone staying must adhere to German rules and anyone leaving must be destroyed to deter others from doing do. The euro and Europe are irrelevant to German real politik. They are in it for the Germans.

      Yanis appears to have assumed that he could grasp the European light on the hill and persuade with elegant reason all of Europe to embrace enlightened super-national consciousness. He’s been genteelly sipping lattes at a gunfight and by doing so has played right into realist German hands by destroying his country’s economy as an example to all other European ‘dead beats’.”

      For a realist like myself , this is nothing to be surprised or upset about. However for the left it is a shock, because it’s not just that the EU is Britain’s biggest trade partner, but also because my friends genuinely think the EU should some kind of noble federation (like star trek) where war is banished from the continent. I’ve also read the left and liberal papers and their editorials and comments on blogs. The criticism has come not just from the UKIP types , but the left as well. This is significant and might point to a growing consensus about the European Union which is Euro sceptic across both left and right (at least at the micro grassroots level).

      You can defend Germany, but you should acknowledge that Germany is Europe’s greatest power and therefore is the ultimate arbiter of this situation. Anything Germany didn’t want wouldn’t be passed. You mention the German finance minister. It looks like he is still trying to show Greece the door even now. That’s because Greece needs immediate money, but the weekend was to establish what Greece had to so before a new package can be granted. So someone has to give Greece bridging loans. Wolfgang Schäuble has suggested iou’s . That is in effect a parallel currency. Whether the ecb and imf accept this is another issue.

      • Patrick G Cox

        I live in Germany. Ich sprache Deutsch. As well as English and Dutch. And I’m British. Interestingly, some of my neighbours are French – and believe emphatically that the Germans are right, but also qualify this by adding that there should be two Eurozones – a Southern one with France, Spain etc., and a German one including the Netherlands, Denmark (not currently in the Euro), Poland, Sweden and Finland.

        Having lived in two countries where government used the mechanisms of devaluation and running the printing presses, I prefer the German idea of keeping a tight control on both. When a country starts to issue ‘cheques’ instead of banknotes because you can’t fit enough zeros after the first number of a banknote – thanks, I’ll take the bailout and I’ll take the pain even if it means sweeping streets.

        I suspect that many commentators here are being disingenuous and conveniently overlooking the near collapse of the Pound between 1969 and 1979 when first Wilson devalued, then Callahan ran the printing presses. I seem to recall that at one point the Pound was worth less than $1 and then the IMF stepped in. Worth remembering those little hiccoughs before we throw epithets at the Germans. They didn’t invent the Euro, but having been used to underpin it, they aren’t keen to let it fail.

    • Hi Patrick

      The answer from some people would be something like :

      Because Germany was forgiven for what they did do in the war and have become a wealthy society once again ….. But they expect every penny back for bailing out Greece, or rather their own banks via Greece, even though they had their own debts(in all sense of he word) forgiven . That’s what sucks in the craw of many people.

      • Patrick G Cox

        True, and by 1953 roughly half the German population were still sharing homes, flats or anywhere else they could live because we’d basically flattened everything and destroyed the infrastructure pretty comprehensively. They chose to spend the Marshall Aid loans on rebuilding the infrastructure and recreation of industries to provide jobs and economic recovery. The allies ‘forgave’ those loans for a variety of reasons, not least being the need to have a stable ‘buffer’ between them and the Russians. The Greek situation is not comparable. They have not suffered the destruction of their infrastructure, cities or anything else. Their banks are now a popular target for blame – but remember it is the politicians who regulate the banks. None of them have committed a crime, they have operated within the framework allowed by the Greek government. Which also permitted their wealthy to shift vast amounts of capital to anywhere but Greece. And before you ask, I’m not a banker, but I did, at one time, set and control a large budget for a public service.

    • Athanasius

      Patrick, there’s something wrong with Germans. It’s really that simple. I’m not sure exactly what it is. Perhaps it’s a function of their language, which demands absolute precision in the formulation of sentences. It means that in Germany, non-verbal communication – massively important in every other culture – is of no significance. Basically, they just don’t get it, whatever the relevant “it” might be, unless you write it out for them in Gothic lettering. Whether you like it or not, there IS such a thing as a national character and the liberal notion of “inevitable progress” doesn’t invalidate that. That character may take harder or softer forms at different times, but its shape doesn’t change. The German character today is pretty much the same as it was 100 years ago, but with bankers instead of Uhlans. They’re jerks.

      • carl jacobs

        So does this qualify as an “Olympian pronouncement?” Or is it just ordinary garden variety stereotyping?

      • Patrick G Cox

        I disagree. I live in Germany, and I speak and read German (write it too if I must, but very badly) and the stereotype you present is totally false. Yes, the language is precise, but the nonverbal communication is equally important, just a little different to that of Southern Europe. Your sweeping statement that there is a ‘national character’ is also false, Germany is made up today of 17 ‘States’ (there used to be a lot more, but the Russians annexed one, the Poles claimed three more, and …) and I can assure you the regional characteristics are quite marked. I have often remarked – to the amusement of my Hessisch neighbours, that Bavaria is a bit like Scotland in its attitude to everybody else. I would also suggest to you that Germany is far more open and liberal than many supposedly ‘liberal’ neighbours, because tolerance is important to them. They share a common language, but while ‘Hoch Deutsch’ is what is taught and written, each Region has its own dialect, accent, traditions and so on.

        It is time to stop repeating the 1880s Daily Fail shibboleths about ‘Prussian Militarism’ and ‘Global Ambitions’. They’re out of date and tired. Oh, and ‘Prussia’ is now mostly part of Poland – except the bit the Russians deported everyone from and repopulated with ‘good’ Russians.

      • Patrick G Cox

        I’d suggest you don’t know the Germans at all.

    • bluedog

      ‘I am left with the feeling that the UK is absolutely determined to smash the EU and the Euro by any means possible. One must therefore ask the question; why?’

      Good thinking and a reasonable question. By not joining the Euro the UK is already semi-detached from the EU, although PM Cameron doesn’t realise. Intuitively the majority of the British people understand that a successful conclusion of ‘Ever closer union’, not including the UK, leads to an economic super-power of 500 million dominated by Germany. Would the UK survive such a situation as an independent state? If so, for how long? Far better to avoid the risk inherent in the possibility and destabilise the EU so that it fragments and collapses. There is plenty of support from the old Commonwealth for the survival of Britain.

      • Patrick G Cox

        While this tactic worked in the 1880-1914 period in stirring up hatred against ‘German Expansionism’ I rather think it may fail this time round. I’m sorry to say that if Britain would rather rely on such wonderful ‘allies’ as Zuma, Mugabe, the several more corrupt and inept African dictators ‘ruling’ in former East and West Africa, the impoverished nations of the Caribbean (who seem to be buying from the US rather than us), then so be it. I have rather less faith in that exercise than in the EU and I fully acknowledge the problems of that institution. Plus, once you throw in binding ourselves to TTIP and opening the door to US based corporate exploitation …

        Sorry, but we are definitely better dealing with Europe which at least shares some of our ideals and ideas. Funny, isn’t it, that the German government actually shares most of Mr Cameron’s views on the reform of it as well … but that probably means the UK Media will make it impossible for Mr C to accept any changes he could win.

        • bluedog

          ‘While this tactic worked in the 1880-1914 period in stirring up hatred against ‘German Expansionism’ .

          It was not until the Entente Cordiale was formalised in 1904 that Britain absorbed French anti-German propaganda. Prior to that relations were extremely good and very close.

          ‘ I’m sorry to say that if Britain would rather rely on such wonderful ‘allies’ as Zuma, Mugabe, the several more corrupt and inept African dictators ‘ruling’ in former East and West Africa, the impoverished nations of the Caribbean…’

          Are we talking about the same thing when mentioning ‘the old Commonwealth’? That’s conventionally a reference to Canada, Australia and NZ. Nobody could possibly suggest taking the names you offer in parenthesis seriously, and in any event the South African government is now aligned with China and Russia.

          Sorry, but we are definitely better dealing with Europe which at least shares some of our ideals and ideas

          .’ You must work for the FCO or know people who do. That’s the standard line in certain FCO quarters.
          Your comment on Cameron’s views about EU reform are perplexing. If he has told the German government it is disappointing to have to point out that Cameron has yet to tell the British people.

          • Patrick G Cox

            It was an excellent film as I recall. As to Cameron’s discussions with the Eu and Germany, perhaps the Mail and the Telegraph have simply ignored them.

  • Dudes

    Let’s face reality. Germany and the northern European creditors are now going to asset strip Greece so they get their money back (what fool gives a bankrupt state an extra 50 billion?). We should also put in a claim, to show we’re loyal Europeans. What will look good next to the Elgin marbles ? The pantheon ?(which could become a nightclub ) or possibly we could have one or two Greek holiday islands?

  • carl jacobs

    If the Greeks don’t want the money, the Greeks can always say “No.”

    This narrative of oppression is tiring. Greece is not being oppressed. Greece is begging for money but seems to think that it shouldn’t have to beg. It borrowed vast sums of money, which it promptly squandered. It made promises of reform that it refused to keep. And now it is back sticking it’s hand in Europe’s pocket demanding more. Do you really wonder that the terms are harsh?

    But I suspect also that the Germans are fighting a bigger war – to hold the line against French and other leftist desires to debase the Euro. The Germans aren’t going to allow gov’ts to inflate away debt. This conflict was as much about the primacy of German-led fiscal policy as it was Greece. That I think is why Germany was so uncompromising. It wasn’t just about Greece. It was about French problems as well.

    • Anton

      But it’s a great spectator sport!

    • Dude

      The problem those terms also impose more , not less debt on Greece, for about 50 billion Euro. True some of it will apparently be raised by privatization (but who is going to want to invest in a basket case or rather people who do with want the electric grid for a song). If the goal was to keep Greece in the Euro, then they could have done the harsh terms , but no more money. You don’t get declared bankrupt, then ask or be given further credits. The Europeans could have also said the current 330 billion Euro owed be charged at something like 1% above base rate in perpetuity, with the option to pay back the full amount when the economy is recovered. Or they could have wiped the slate clean and forgive the debt.

    • CliveM
    • grutchyngfysch

      Interestingly, French banks used to hold the lion’s share of Greek debt back in 2010 – which prompted the original panic over contagion, since at that time, a Greek default would genuinely have resulted in the collapse of the French banking system. Since that time, French banks have almost entirely offloaded their Greek debt into European sovereign debt – which meant practically offloading it onto the aggregate of European states. Countries which had no previous Greek liabilities are now holding the bomb lit by French bankers. Overall this has resulted in France as a whole effectively reducing its Greek liabilities by billions of Euros – although internally the liabilities have been shifted from private finance to the French State (so it’s swings and roundabouts if you’re sitting in the Élysée Palace).

      Certainly at the state level leftists have indeed been true to type in behaving irresponsibly – but it’s an irresponsibility which the Financial giants were happy to exploit to their own advantage, ensuring that their shareholders benefited at the detriment of taxpayers across Europe.

    • Athanasius

      As tiring as the narrative is, it’s positively invigorating next to the naked bully-worship of our American cousins. The Germans (along with the rest of Europe) activity conspired with the Greeks firstly to falsify their national accounts to allow entry into the Euro, and secondly to recklessly loan vast amounts to a state they knew to be insolvent. Is it not the case that all co-conspirators stand equally culpable for the actions of the conspiracy? Why then are the German banks still trading? Or, to put it in the American vernacular, where does Merkel get off being Frau Thrifty-unt-Prudent?

      • carl jacobs

        I have already stated on this blog that:

        1. Greece should default, return to the drachma, and take the hit to its credit.
        2. The creditors should suffer the loss of the bad loans.
        3. Europe should provide humanitarian aid to ease the transition.

        But GIVEN that Greece wants to stay in the Eurozone and GIVEN that Greece wants the money, then Greece must abide by the rules laid down by the creditors. And those terms should be harsh given Greece’s performance thus far. The $50 billion in surrendered assets will serve as collateral against a loan that otherwise makes no sense.

        Greece and Greece alone is responsible for Greece’s plight. No other country made it do what it did.

  • Martin

    Seems to me that if you push a group of people far enough, sooner or later they will strike back. Is this laying the foundation for another war in Europe?

    • sarky

      No!

      • CliveM

        I was going to say that, but then I thought, well no perhaps not directly (Greece is to small and weak) but perhaps directly I.e buddying up to Russia and distabilising things.

        • CliveM

          I meant indirectly!

          • sarky

            Any threat of war will come from the EU’s expansionist plans. What’s happening in Ukraine is a direct result of this. However, Germany is far too reliant on Russia for any real prospect of this happening (hence the lack of intervention in Ukraine).
            To be honest I think the EU will just fragment, Greece will leave followed by the UK and the other PIGS. There will be a bit of short term pain and then we can all go back to running our countries how we want to.

          • CliveM

            Perhaps. However impoverished, embittered people lead to instability. There is enough of that around anyway. No one will go to war because of the bail out. But we might find ourselves in as war because of the instability.

          • sarky

            It might cause a bit of civil unrest, but I doubt it will lead to all out war. Most countries haven’t got the budget or capability for war anymore.

          • Dude

            Desperate people don’t need actual weapons of an army to create civil unrest, which can easily lead to war. They can riot, use home made weapons etc. And more importantly find arms when they want to do so. Somalia, Syria, Libya, Iraq…. sounds implausible in Europe, but look at the break up of Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Transnistria. What happens if there’s a lot of rioting and civil unrest and the army steps in with a coup to implement the austerity ?

          • IanCad

            Anyway, Health & Safety would never permit it.

    • Hopefully not, but there’s a good chance of civil unrest in Greece when they realise that their leadership has utterly failed them.

    • Athanasius

      I’m forced to agree. The EU is currently standing among the people of Europe in pretty much the same position as the French aristocracy did among the people of France before 1789. They don’t care about us, they don’t hear us, they don’t listen to us and they have not the slightest doubt of their place in the divine plan. The fact that the God they don’t believe in said nothing about ‘ever closer union’ (and neither have we) is irrelevant. As JFK said, where peaceful change is impossible, violent change is inevitable.

  • sarky

    Breaking news…

    The Greek government are stopping the production of taramasalata and humous in order to avoid a double dip recession.

  • It’s a shame Yanis Varoufakis resigned. He tells us that the
    Greek economy has shrunk considerably and that what he wanted for Greece was help from the Germans and EU for Greece to increase its productions so that its economy could grow in order that it could pay it’s own way out of debt. Not another
    bail out. And he told the Krauts that in a gentle and delightfully
    logical way here, but to no avail.

    It doesn’t matter how often the shops are open when the credit runs out
    they will be back to square one. 86 billion wont last that long,
    still, as long as they are buying German goods.

    • Dont worry yanis is back from his Greek island home and ready to give his views. He has a column on the guardian website.

      • No good now he’s no longer a minister.

        • Yeah, but reading his posts cheer me up, which is far more important than being at the fulcrum of government. What is a mystery to me is why my sister Hadassah thinks Yanis is “rather dishy”. Is it the motorbike?

          • avi barzel

            The bike, the leather jackets and the brusque, bad-boy attitude. Women are deceitful critters, Shmu’el, they fall for the rascals and ignore sober, responsible paragons of kindness and integrity such our selves. Been eying a 2007 Softail Classic Harley, but doubt wife will allow me such tomfoolery….

          • Dude

            I’m sure that men are from mars and women from Venus. Now I would say Taylor Swift, Kate Perry and Bar Refaeli are clearly babes or my type , looks wise at least . But the woman’s equivalent (this particular sister is only 4 years older) is Yanis Varoufakis? I do know some women like bald men though.

          • avi barzel

            Our admirable looks, masculine hirsuteness, impeccable manners, and incisive wits stand no chance before loud-mouthed Mediterranean brutes like this Varoufakis fellow, my dear Sam.

          • Dude

            Sadly you are correct I fear.

          • Go and get your bike Avi, then sweep the wife off her feet and take her for an exhilarating spin. Do it while you can.

          • avi barzel

            Perish the thought, Miss Marie! My wife would verily sweep me off the driveway and into the storm gutter if I were so bold as to act without her express permission and rumble home on my dream machine. Ah, if you only knew of my travails and sorrows, and there’s nary a soul here to harken to my quiet whimper for help……

          • Yes and Yanis sounds more interesting than being a John. But I’m buying a motorbike anyway, at the request of my better half .

          • avi barzel

            O, you lucky rascal you! But if she asks you to do stunts over cars or the Grand Canyon, be suspicious. What are you getting?

          • He is rather dishy with motorbike or not!

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes, it is a shame. Having listened to him speaking in that clip it is clear that he makes more sense than most polliticians. It is also obvous why he was dumped/pushed. They could never have tolerated such common sense at the heart of the folly that is now happening.

  • David

    The institutional Churches are wrong, blindly wrong. They naively swallow the hype and don’t analyse the reality of the power structures and the economics. They are blind to the democratic deficit inherent in the EU Imperial project.
    The EU is a growing, evil empire, intent on greedily swallowing whole nations to feed its power.
    First will go the weak and perhaps foolish ones, but then as its inherent dysfunctional political structures weaken everything else of importance, it will seize opportunities to humiliate and swallow the medium strength nations.
    But beware UK you are not immune from destruction and total domination.

    • dannybhoy

      “The institutional Churches are wrong, blindly wrong. They naively swallow the hype and don’t analyse the reality of the power structures and the economics. ”

      Actually they sold out. They thought they could work with the forces of Secularism, and even though some might not want to admit it, they are now owned by the State; entirely dependent on it for survival.

      • David

        Maybe. But I doubt whether the selling out was a conscious decision, more a sort of creeping surrender to secularism, I’d say.

        • dannybhoy

          Quite. It was also a part of the theological malaise that inexorably weakened the CofE from the ’70s onwards.
          The thing is that as a part of the Church Universal the CofE increasingly gave up its Christian witness and ministry perhaps as the price for remaining the established Church of England. I could accept the concept of a broad church, as long as the traditional/conservative/evangelical wing remained vibrant and even prophetic as the moral voice to the nation.
          It hasn’t. Instead it has latched onto safe social issues like ‘poverty’ and ‘homelessness’ and ‘welfare’ and ‘climate control’ and inclusivity…
          That’s the great sadness.

          • David

            I totally agree.
            As a committed conservative, orthodox Anglican I also feel very sad about it.
            A small part of the C of E is still vibrant, and growing, but that part finds co-existence with the main body of the Church very difficult, as the two world views diverge.

  • I can’t help but think of the quote from Churchill who wrote that “Europe has lost a mistress and has gained a master”, when Germany came into being and pushed France out as the leading European power.

    • Don’t tell Linus. The poor guy will have an attack of the vapours

      • Linus

        You mean Germany is the largest and most powerful country in the EU?

        Well that comes as a shock! I mean, who could ever have thought that their clear numerical superiority, along with the relatively healthy state of their economy compared to every other European country, would translate into a position of strength?

        Honestly, it’s easy to see why conservatives have been so comprehensively sidelined that you’re reduced to bitching impotently on blogs like this one. Your image of everyone else is so firmly stuck in a stereotypical past that it seems you think we’re still living in the 1930s. A world where all Germans are evil dictators, and all Frenchmen think we rule the world, and all Greeks are lazy, work-shy crooks.

        You clearly haven’t traveled much. But perhaps it’s a good thing that you stay in your provincial backwaters and treat life as if it were an episode of a Miss Marple mystery and the evil foreigner must be guilty! The reality of the world out there would be too much for you. So stay where you are and fade into genteel irrelevancy while the rest of us get on with building a better world. One that isn’t contaminated with the waste products of dying religions.

      • Looks like he has ! See below.

  • avi barzel

    But let the Greek people know and understand that it was the EU – the secular Europe of the Enlightenment – cajoled by secular Germany in partnership with secular France, which contended that the conservative heritage of the Orthodox tradition was otiose, and that another cornerstone of Christendom must bow to the precepts of the Euro-beast.

    That additional exercise of blaming others should take no effort, Your Grace, as Greece already blames everyone and everything for its woes; the EU, the IMF, the banks, Germany, capitalism, Wall Street, Washington, the Jews, the Africans, the Roma, all sorts of imagined shadowy cabals and anything and everything the feverish minds of its own communist and fascist media and the lunatics at Pravda and Russian Television can conjure up for the intellectually feeble, of whom there appears to be no shortage. To recap the absurdities, Greece admitted to submitting fraudulent figures to the EU and with nary a chaste blush, blames the same EU for betraying Greece by getting suckered-in by the fraud, opposes repayment of debts from one side of its split tongue while promising to behave and demanding new loans from the other.

    Rest assured, Your Grace, that they are already ahead on this one; I wager that soon enough we will be astounded and entertained with interviews of Greek shoppers in supermarkets and department stores, gesticulating and riling bravely against evil Europe and the usual list of sinister suspects for forcing it to shop and incur personal debts, and thus sully and dishonor its precious and holy Sunday. And its embedded Church, a well-fed and dismally corrupt corporation as any, will mewl a little in half-hearted protest, bemoaning the tyranny of secularism, whilst briskly sweeping up the rich windfall of Euros heading its way. Secularity, Your Grace, appears to be much simpler and dumber than we imagine; it’s merely whatever can fill a void or whatever can displace failing and rotting ideologies and institutions. And Greece, as we can see again and again, has plenty of room.

    • Athanasius

      The EU did not get “suckered-in by the fraud”; they were co-conspirators acting with full knowledge and malice aforethought for their own purposes.

      • avi barzel

        Of course. Thank you for volunteering, as “Exhibit A,” to demonstrate the blight of conspiracy-mongering imbecility that pervades Souther Europe. There’s a cup of orange juice and a banana for you on the table by the exit.

        • Athanasius

          Conspiracy theories are only bonkers where there is no conspiracy. It suited the EU’s “ever closer union” agenda for this to happen. They knew it would, sooner or later. That makes them co-conspirators.

          • bluedog

            Most of the money sent to Greece returned to Germany in the form of receipts for German exports.

          • avi barzel

            You mean that Greece bought stuff from Germany, right? I mean, it wasn’t the case of German money pecking through its cage and fluttering home over the mountains and across the Danubian plains, darkening the skies across its path, like billions of homing pigeons.

          • bluedog

            Don’t the Greeks depend on Mercedes taxis?

      • James60498 .

        Quite right.

        Am I correct in thinking that the two people on here who are most convinced of the angelic nature of the EU actually don’t live in it?

        • carl jacobs

          If you are referring to me, then you are quite wrong. I consider the EU a metastasizing bureaucracy. It is founded on an economically illiterate currency union that cannot survive over time, and will never lead to political union. But that is a separate issue from keeping national agreements to repay debts. Greece took other people’s money and spent it. Greece is responsible to pay it back.

          Greece cannot be allowed to convert loans into grants by a combination of temper tantrum and irresponsibility.

          • I think that even in America, if one cannot repay one’s debts, one is allowed to go bankrupt and start over again.

          • avi barzel

            Bankruptcy is not entirely free and devoid of all financial responsibilities and then the defaulter’s credit rating goes south for at least seven years. Try sticking Visa with about 30 thou, refuse to pay because it’s their fault for being evil and tricky bloodsuckers and giving you credit, insist on continued credit and maintaining a good credit rating, refuse to change your spending ways, threaten Visa with moral responsibility for your and your family’s suffering and insist on a 60 grand loan or else you’ll walk from Visa. I’m sure you won’t be able to pull off such a brazen scam, but I bet you Greece will.

          • carl jacobs

            Greece didn’t want to “go bankrupt and start over.” It wanted previous debts written off without consequence, more money … lots and Lots and LOTS of money … put in its pocket, and absolutely no pressure to change any of the structural defects that caused this problem in the first place. In a word, Greece wanted to convert loans into income transfers, with the expectation of more loans income transfers in the future.

            It’s not the same thing.

        • avi barzel

          And if me as well, you’re not just wrong, but also deficient in reading comprehension and basic logic. Pointing out Greece’s corruption and laughing at its dismal culture of low-brow conspiracy theorizing is not a sign of support for the EU. You and others seem to be so enamoured of the illusion that Greece is a noble rebel, even for a moment thinking that it was about to bravely give the finger, that you’re missing he obvious; as easily and safely predicted by many, it went, hat in hand, taking blow after blow to its supposed national pride, begging for more handouts and to stay in the EU and the Eurozone.

          • James60498 .

            If I am wrong about you then you are equally wrong about me.

            I have never said that Greece is a “noble rebel” or anything of the sort.

            Greece has behaved very badly and gets what its government deserves.

            But there are those, (and to be fair you may not be one, and it was only your somewhat sarcastic response to a very reasonable post that wound me up )who seem to think that Greece conned the rest of the Eurozone into admitting it.

            That is only true the extent that it (the EZ) chose to be conned, and knew it was being conned.

          • avi barzel

            Alright, so we’re equally wrong about each other.

            So, here’s my take: Facts matter, as the current adage goes. The fact is that Greece…mostly its leftist government… fudged numbers, something its conservative and comparatively more honest opposition with access to the data convincingly argued. It suddenly, and seemingly miraculously, “improved” its percentage of its budget deficit in the late nineties as it courted accession and at the same time, parties in the EU were openly but rightly skeptical. But others, especially Italy and Portugal played silly buggers with their numbers as well. But things were looking up, there was a lot of pride, hope and fanfare and a good time was had by all…too good for numbers to make an impression.

            Two things need to be made clear though before we point fingers as to who is to blame; who is the con, who the conned. First, it’s not an easy matter to calculate a nation’s GDP and on top of this, its budget deficit in relation to that GDP. It’s not just the sheer volume of data, but contentious issues of scope, methodology and criteria, and unless one is prepared to riddle an applicant country with deeply buried-intelligence agents, one is stuck with its self-assessment. So, Greece squeaked into the Union with a declared margin measured in fractions of a percentage point, if I recall; but this hardly a serious case of negligence on behalf of the Eurocracy. I understand forensic accountants are still trying to figure out what happened and how in the late 1990s. There are real conspiracies and conspirators out there, but there are many more genuine screw-ups and bungling goofalopoluses.

            Secondly, the big hullaballoo with some of our friends here over the putzing-about with currency swaps and derivatives with US banks and the dreaded Goldman Sachs, all of which admittedly hid a portion of Greece’s debt, is a red herring, because …oopsie!… the fecking chronology is all wrong; the consequences of these machinations if you will, didn’t take place until well after Greece’s eager entry into the EU. The bottom line for me, is that Greece is behaving in character, which is to say with dishonesty and plnty of trickery and the EU was scammed like a dolt at an alley shell game thanks to its jejune optimism and overabundance of hubris. You pays your moneys, you takes your chances.

            I welcome any stray kicks at EU’s arse. I hope for its dissolution, before it manages to irreversibly destroy its component national and cultural parts, some of which I even admire and wish well. The EU is a nightmarish monster of rampant statism suffering the pathologies of both fascism and socialism, labouring under a futile attempt to restore the idealised Carolingian or perhaps Roman empires, bedeviled by its love-hate relationship with the remnants of its decimated Jewry, expressing its belated love in maudlin commemorations of the Jewish dead on one hand, and its latent hatred on a living and vibrant Israel on the other. Bat-shit crazy stuff. I’m glad there is an ocean between me and Europe, and that Israel is now strong enough to survive anything the EU throws at it.

            That being said, I’m not a fan of making up poppycock about the EU either. Nor do I favour eager adoptions of the Greek mythos and its convoluted Oriental narratives and reflexive blame-casting just to score one against Brussels. Facts matter, and there are plenty of facts in our critique of the European Union project to keep us busy for a thousand years.

        • Athanasius

          The twain under consideration do not live in this paradise of ever closer union, James. Indeed, one of them lives in the only western country more determinedly anti-Christian than the EU itself. Which doesn’t appear to hinder their Olympian pronouncements on the entity in question.

          • avi barzel

            Inquiring minds want to know; which country, the US or Canada is more determinedly “anti-Christian” than the EU? Normally, my Canada would be accused, owing to its long stretch of suffering under Liberal governments, but with our Conservative Party against our neighbours’ revolutionary community activist in the White House, it’s a close call.

          • Athanasius

            Redirected to Trinity Western University.

          • carl jacobs

            I think he might be referring to the US. There are more Jews in the US than in Canada, ya know. QED and all that.

          • avi barzel

            Hm, I didn’t think of that one. There must be an S.O.P. manual somewhere on how to interpret what his type goes on about. Didn’t you guys in SAC put one together? I mean with all this idle time watching bombers rust and weed grow over silos, there’s only so much poker and football betting you can handle….

            PS Don’t expect us to do this; we’re productively employed and busy up here with trapping beaver and fixing our leaky igloo roofs.

      • Exactly. Which is why Ireland would be better off returning to the UK fold.

        • Athanasius

          Yes, just as soon as you pay off that trillion and a half you owe.

          • Dude

            What’s a trillion and a half between old friends ? Ireland would be better off within a revitalised Albion Alliance and the republic would be reunited with the northern bit of the island of Ireland. A few pints of Guinness and we can get it done.

          • Athanasius

            Actually, considering the trajectory of the EU, an “Albion Alliance” might not be a complete non-starter. Westminster would HAVE to go, of course, together with that ridiculous voting system and the ugly “sovereignty of parliament” doctrine, but if a properly balanced treaty/constitution could be worked out between the four nations, something might be arranged.

          • bluedog

            Quite right, Corrigan. The federal capital should be re-located to the garden city of Liverpool. What’s not to like? A beautiful riverside location with wonderful old civic buildings, great racing, excellent football, lovely old squares full of late Georgian houses that would not look out of place in Belgravia, and in the geographic centre of the British Isles.

          • CliveM

            Liverpool!! Dear lord no, never…. Ever.

          • bluedog

            If the BBC can re-locate to Salford (With as yet no cultural improvement) the capital of a re-united UK would benefit from being in a more central location. London is tucked away in the bottom right-hand corner of the UK, is over-developed and hideously expensive. A brownfields option beckons.

          • CliveM

            If we move out of London it needs to be somewhere classy…….. Edinburgh.

          • bluedog

            You’re missing the point. Liverpool is not currently a capital city, which is the source of its eligibility. Using your example, one could argue for Dublin, or Cardiff. Does Wales actually have a capital?

          • Hi bluedog,

            The Welsh are cool and have very soothing, lovely sing songy voices….

            But I think the capital could be Lichfield, like when it was meroca(?), which is where my sister’s boyfriend’s family live. It might appeal to you as it is where the guy who wrote the dictionary came from, Dr Johnson as well as the captain of the titanic ; it’s very Georgian& has this massive cathedral, with a duck pond. Just in front of the cathedral is this ancient house where Charles Darwin’s father, Erasmus, lived. They still keep a well cool herb garden and lop rabbits there. Further up the road there’s a pub called the George and Dragon. Plus it’s got a wilkos and a marks and sparks, so what more do you need? And every year they do these funny English eccentric elections for stuff like chief ale taster of the city.

            How cool is that ?

          • bluedog

            Awesome, Hannah.

          • Pubcrawler

            It is a fine city, I know it well. Making it the new capital would utterly ruin it, and anywhere around it that hasn’t already been ruined. Let the Scousers have it.

            The capital of old Mercia was primarily Tamworth. Not as nice as Lichfield, but it has a decent modest castle. Again, leave it be.

          • carl jacobs

            Excellent Football? Really?

          • bluedog

            Even the greatest can have an ‘off’ day, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            62 points and sixth place. One might classify that result as “moderately good.”

          • avi barzel

            And it just so happens that you have idle property perfectly suitable and located for federal institutions. Advice on where to locate my planned Thirsty Avi Whiskey Bar and Herring Eatery would be appreciated, buddy Bluedog, old pal o’mine!

          • bluedog

            Look, Avi, with altruism as my motto this communicant can disclose ownership of several hundred acres of derelict foreshore, ideal for a new Parliament building and accompanying ministerial and departmental offices. Plans available on request.

            Regarding our restaurant, can one suggest Thirsty Kirsty’s Sports Bar and Bistro? While Avi is a fine name, it requires explanation and may not be enough of a draw for the all-important Friday evening after-work high-jinks. Liverpool’s a full-throttle kind of town and we don’t want to confuse the punters.

  • Dominic Stockford

    “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” Romans 1:25

    The EU is making clear that which is created by man is now the end and the purpose of life, and also, I guess, they believe it is the reason for being.

  • Albert

    Good article. I’m not an economist, but I keep reading articles saying Greece is stuffed by this agreement. Obviously, they need to get out.

    I’m not convinced by this:

    Twitter has been outraged with #ThisIsACoup, but it really isn’t. It may seem like it, and, if you’re Greek, it might feel like a bit of a stitch-up. But neither Germany nor the Eurogroup can impose anything upon the Greek government that the Greek government is not prepared to concede.

    That was true of the Anschluss – except that Anschluss had popular support, of course!

  • Inspector General

    Achtung!

    The shops will open on Sunday. Any shopkeeper that doesn’t will be shot!

    By order of the EU Reich Kommissariat for bankrupt territories.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Ah, but the sting is at the end – where it is clear that manufacturing will also, in due course, be forced to take place on Sundays.

      • Inspector General

        Ja-wohl mein herr. Resistance is futile. Ve are the masters of Greece yet again. Ja!

    • avi barzel

      Methinks you’re placing your hopes and coin on an old and lame palfrey, Inspector. Greece is not only poor material for standing up to the EU, but in its weakness, hypocrisy and duplicity, will further strengthen it. Sunday trade cannot be imposed; it requires merchants willing to open their doors and customers willing to shop. If a substantial number of merchants and citizens, but not necessarily a majority, refuse to open, trade or work on Sundays, the plan falls apart. One needs a “critical mass” of participants to open and staff enterprises and production facilities. This I saw recently in some of the rural and more traditional areas of my province, where even with our free Sunday trade laws, only tourist attractions and shops and maybe a single supermarket on a town’s outskirts could afford to open.

      I’m afraid that any real and effective opposition to the EU Behemoth will have to come from a much better source, one with real, not ancient and largely mythical traditions of democracy and liberty. Only one nation in Europe fits this description, and it happens to be yours; “…the nations, not so blest as thee must, in their turns, to tyrants fall; while thou shalt flourish great and free, the dread and envy of them all!”

      • Inspector General

        My dear Avi. One was mocking the Greeks not egging them on. If they want to march down the road to Germanification, that’s their lookout. Perhaps they’ve been over impressed through the years by German tourist behaviour and the German cars they’ve bought themselves.

        There’s going to be tears, of course. Can’t be any other way with a fairly laid back tax dodging sponger people that the Greeks have shown themselves to be. But the Germans are up for the challenge and WILL get their money back. Of that, we can be assured. And as for the Greeks, they’ll love the attention. Probably…

        • avi barzel

          Argh, I blush! You got me again, Inspector! Once again this simple, straight-shoot’n Colonial fell for the subtle and dry wit of the Brit. I say, perhaps you need to issue a suitable translation for the likes of me and Carl, or it least an explicit warning, such as the customary “/sarc” symbol one sees on American blogs.

          Still not sure that the Germans will get their money. In fact, I’m sure that they know this and look forward to getting their money’s worth in kind, probably by clapping the Greek in the town market pillory and pelting it with rotting eggs and turnips from time to time, as an educational device for all others.

          • Inspector General

            Chin up Avi. Do you really think the British empire builders would have reached a quarter of the world if the people they came up against actually understood what they were on about?

            Anyway, the Germans will get their money back, though one presumes they won’t be taking hostages this time round…

          • Hi inspector

            Britain did send a battle fleet to blockade Athens in 1850, after a British Sephardi Jew called Don Pacifico had been subjected to a vicious pogrom and had his property destroyed and had been refused compensation. The British prime minister , an Irishman, by the name of Henry Temple (viscount Palmerston) told the house of commons in defence of his actions:

            “As the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity, when he could say, Civis Romanus sum, so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him from injustice and wrong.”

          • Inspector General

            Thank you for that Hannah. Greece would have been part of the Ottoman empire at the time…

          • Hi inspector

            Greece won independence in 1829 from the ottomans, so was independent at the time. But the Greek state was bankrupt and was trying to get a loan from the Rothschild bank, which “provoked” the pogrom :that and the fact Greece tried to ban the tradition during Easter of burning effigies of Judas, seen as the stereotypical “Jew”.

          • Inspector General

            Thank you again Hannah for putting this man right on the date. Really must bone up on that event. Another rare example of Islam pulling out of an area…

          • bluedog

            Islam didn’t pull out, Inspector, but was forcible ejected. The only viable option.

          • ‘But the Greek state was bankrupt and was trying to get a loan…’

            Who says history never repeats itself? ‘Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.’

  • Inspector General

    “1839 the line was formally opened from Shapley Heath to Basingstoke and from Winchester to Northam Road, a little short of the Southampton terminus….

    At this stage the Archdeacon and Prebendary of Winchester wrote to the Company complaining about the operation of trains on Sundays, contrary to Scripture. The Chairman, John Easthope sent a forthright and carefully reasoned reply, bringing the issue swiftly to a close.[3]”

    ^3 Sam Fay, A Royal Road, 1973 reprint of 1882 original, E P Publishing, Wakefield, ISBN 0 85409 769 4

  • carl jacobs

    There are two prevalent narratives surrounding this Greek drama, and both are false.

    1. Greece is a victim of International Capitalism. The transparently obvious motive is to stir the oppressed masses of Europe to rebuild Socialism. Profligacy and irresponsibility by Greece become secondary to the overriding imperatives of the Left.

    2. Greece is a victim of a German imperialist plot. The fear, loathing, and (let’s be frank) envy of Germany on this thread is striking. Germany hasn’t done anything wrong. If these same actions had been performed by HMG, there would be solid approval on this blog. Germany is after all simply looking to get its money back. It’s the nation carrying the bulk of the debt.

    Greece wanted to play games. Greece lost. Well, now they pay or they suffer the consequences. Don’t blame the Germans for enforcing those consequences. It is what needs to happen. They aren’t invading anyone. They are doing what is necessary.

    • Inspector General

      {Ahem}

      Chaps. Carls mother has contacted the Inspector. Carl is refusing all food and is only taking short sips of water until we stop being beastly to Germany. What do you say men, an extremely muted apology for the lad?

      • carl jacobs

        Why apologize to me? I am not German. It’s no skin off my nose if you wish to express feelings of perceived inadequacy vis a vis Germany.

    • CliveM

      Carl

      It is perfectly reasonable to have no sympathy for Greece and I don’t (for the State anyway) but still understand that Germany has been complicit in this whole situation. Frankly as far as I’m concerned a plaque on both those houses. Greek greed and German arrogance. Still if Germany hadn’t been willing to turn a blind eye to Greeces accounts and let them join the Euro the whole damned project would have a taken longer to fail.

      • carl jacobs

        All of Europe turned a blind eye in the name of political union. It wasn’t just Germany. But you are correct, I think. If Germany (and the rest of Europe) didn’t know that Greece cooked its books, then Germany (and the rest of Europe) willfully looked away lest it uncover something it didn’t want to know. That’s why Europe should bear the loss of the bad loans.

        But that doesn’t change Greece’s culpability at all.

        • CliveM

          The other thing that’s seems to keep on being forgotten, is Greeces inability or unwillingness to stand by its commitments made to secure previous loans. It has failed to privatise as promised, it has failed to de-regulate as promised. It is arguable that some of what is being asked is counterproductive to expanding its economy. These aren’t. Greece has plated a good propaganda game, but you can see why patience is coming to an end.

          • bluedog

            The Germans don’t like to be reminded that in 1953, West Germany was allowed to have 50% of its debts forgiven. It seems debt forgiveness is not a two-way street where Germany is the lender.

          • CliveM

            True, however one can’t help but feel that if Greece had made some effort to stick by its promises, there would be more willingness to consider debt restructuring.

          • bluedog

            The problem with debt restructuring is that the German public will find out that their money has been blown. The current agreement enables German politicians to shift the blame on to Greece and to pretend the Greeks can and will pay the money back. They can’t, the sums are too big. The only option for Greece is Grexit. Grexit will destroy Merkel, the EMU and the ECB.

          • CliveM

            However Grexit is actually what the German finance minister wanted. Let’s be honest, if Greece wanted Grexit who could stop them. It would be a short term horror story, but would be the start to recovery. But there is a lot of nonsense about the impact of Grexit on their ability to raise loans and impact on credit rating. How could either of these get any worse!

            I did read that when all this started, Merkel was all for cutting the Greeks loose. However the USA concerned about the impact of this so soon after the Lehman Brothers debacle, pressurised Merkel into stomping up some loans.

            Maybe the Americans should pay!

          • bluedog

            Well Schauble certainly floated a five year Grexit, but it was hard to understand why, or how it would work. Seemed like a kite-flying exercise to flush out other options. The US is the biggest contributor to the IMF, so the US will pay.

    • bluedog

      Nobody seriously believes either of those propositions, do they, Carl?

      • carl jacobs

        I sure see a lot of people making those argument. If they don’t believe what they are saying, then they are giving a mighty good impression of believing what they are saying.

        • magnolia

          The third option is the leveraged buyout. Lend to people who cannot afford it. Then buy their collateral assets cheap. We all know Goldman Sachs KNEW Greece should never join. We all know the Greek Government at the time knew, as did the German Government, and every Government in Europe. People who lend money are supposed to ensure that they do it responsibly and that there is a good chance that the borrower can pay it back. This is their duty. If we brush aside all the people who pretend they never knew, what do we get?

          Lots of this is smoke and mirrors with created money. Did you know that most money is created by banks? Nice one to be able to create money, isn’t it? Make a loan, create money. Five people pay you £K10 you lend out £K700 to pay for an inflated bubble house. Nice work, if you can get it, but you only can if you’re a bank. Ah you say, that is not what is taught in schools about the size of the fractional reserve. Too right. Ask Ben Dyson what the BoE admitted about that.

          We are far far up the derivative creek, hoping to God there is a way back.

  • It’s all very strange. We are told that Germany is the most efficient nation in Europe, yet it is the one whose commercial doors are closed on the Lord’s Day.
    So how comes it that Germany wants Greece to do what she herself finds it unnecessary to do?

    • Inspector General

      They want their money back…

      • Well they’re never going to see it if they wait a hundred years, especially if Greece keeps tied to the Euro which will keep her in poverty forever.

        • James60498 .

          Indeed, you are correct.

          But, it could be argued that Germany has already had some of its money back, albeit in a different form.

          This article is a few years old now, and many of the numbers and facts are out of date,

          but it lays down far more eloquently than many of us could some economic principles that do not and have not changed.

          http://fortune.com/2011/11/14/why-germany-needs-the-euro/

  • Athanasius

    Apropos people paying the EU what they owe, does anybody expect the Ukraine to pay back the 36 billion euro hand-out it got earlier this year from Merkel and Legrarde? Considering 13 billion of that was a write-off of previous debt courtesy of the IMF, I wouldn’t hold your Breath. Perhaps if the Greek opposition launched a violent coup against the legitimate government with EU help and replaced them with people Brussels likes, then Greece TOO might get a write-down.

    • avi barzel

      Ukraine is facing an armed revolt by its Russian minority (i.e., “Russian speakers”) and for all practical purposes is in a state of war with Russia, the aggressor who wants to keep Ukraine out of the EU and out of NATO.
      In contract language, Ukraine is having a bit of a force majeure moment, hence it is hardly able to fulfil its obligations just now.

      • magnolia

        The coup was managed by the US and put a gruesomely anti-Semitic Nazi party in power, which I imagine you would like even less than me. They have officially admitted as much. Thus deliberately provocative, and against all international law. Now Russia is not ruled by the saintly, but they are less devious than the current US Govt.

        • avi barzel

          To be honest, I have no great love for either side, whether in its Czarist or Communist phases and marvel at the fact that there are still Jews living voluntarily in that part of the world, in Russia and in Ukraine, and among its people. But calling Ukraine’s government an antisemitic Nazi party, the collection of clowns and bunglers in the current US admin “devious” and the current American posture in the world “hegemonic” is, well, let’s just say, a bit of a hyoperbolic over-reach even for the agitprop crowd in Moscow.

          Putin’s Russia is reverting to type, stretching its muscles and bullying its neighbours thanks to American weakness, Obama’s capitulation, which he calls a “reset.” Ok, that’s not surprising to me; I was never one to buy the Gorbie mania and the perestroika nonsense. But I am surprised at Western conservatives for allowing themselves to be hoodwinked yet again by the same old Russian bear, this time in the unconvincing role as the last defender of true Christianity, patriotism and old time family values. It would be hilarious if the the whole spiel wasn’t being orchestrated by a panicked neo-Stalinist KGB mug and his compliant and corrupt Patriarchate, the same old kleptocratic nomenklatura and a hand-picked, essentially official media. The big question for me is, are social conservatives going to swallow the same story about Nazis oppressing “Russian speakers” when Russian tanks surge to “protect” them in the Baltics?

          • CliveM

            Agreed. But then people often see what they want to see.

          • avi barzel

            The problem with us conservatives is that we ‘re so embattled by the secular mainstream and its elites, that we’re willing to hug anyone with the wherewithals to fool us with cheap, transparent tricks. We feel isolated and irrelevant and to be liked, we will jump on any fad we can live with. The reemergence of Russophilia through the popular RT-Russian Television “news” clips expertly geared to stroke our much derided and abused social conservatism is comparatively benign, though, relative to the lethal attraction to radical Islam among rootless youth in search for certainties, a place in society, goals and heroism.

          • CliveM

            Avi

            If we wanted to be loved we wouldn’t be Conservatives. It’s interesting though how things repeat. Ukraine today, Czechoslovakia 1938, Putin, Hitler. Appeasement. Being easily impressed by a ‘strong leader’ sorting out societies problems and ‘degeneracy’.

  • Whether it be Greece or here in the UK, Scripture teaches that a nation’s prosperity is an aspect of God’s providence (eg Deuteronomy 28). To argue that defying the 4th commandment is a path to economic growth is an outright denial of Biblical truth. Sabbath observance is no mere minor matter, but is rather a very accurate barometer of a nation’s standing with God.

  • magnolia

    “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.” But instead they go from “No graven images may be/ worshipped,Except the currency” to no god may be worshipped except the currency.

    How can God bless these rulers? Only by abandoning them to the chaos that ensues when his guidelines are trampled upon, and wicked and devious nonsense foisted upon the people. Great article in Zerohedge incidentally pointing out an episode of the Simpsons where they suggested Greece was being sold on ebay. It virtually is by the sanctimonious heartless troika.

    It is being gorged upon and put up for dismemberment by the greedy, as if humanity were a non-existent good, or a people could be pressed up against the wall and driven to desperation and starvation with no .consequences. It cannot be.

  • Unbelievable! German Company Hochtief is top tax evader in Greece owes at least 1 billion Euros in back VAT and for social security payments which they have also been avoiding.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/german-company-is-top-tax-evader-in-greece/5462497