Greece Is The Word – Why The Political Future Of Europe May Hinge On Puctuation
Wednesday was the hottest July day in British history. It was also the day when Greece did the inevitable and became the first ever developed country to default on an IMF loan. This has put the IMF in a tricky situation. They can either do nothing, in which case they set a dangerous precedent and run the risk of people realizing that money is imaginary. The end result of that could be the total collapse of the money system worldwide.
Or they can ignore their own conclusion that Greek economy needs at least a twenty year grace period before paying back any more debt and insist on more austerity measures in Greece. In which case they run the risk of Greece dropping out of Europe. The end result of that could be the break-up of the European Union and the member countries ceasing to bicker about quotas and rebates and suchlike and remembering some of their old beefs. Armed conflict, in other words. The EU is, after all, just an elaborate distraction ploy to avoid any re-runs of World War I and World War II.
The Greek people have endured a barrage of vicious austerity measures over the last five years. And whenever you have austerity, you get one group of people blaming it on another group of people who have nothing to do with the situation whatsoever. Usually immigrants. Instead of blaming the wealthy, privileged people who actually engineered their plight, people blame foreigners.
I’ve never understood this. Immigrants usually move to other countries in order to build a better life. Most of them work very hard in jobs that no-one wants to do because there’s a better chance of that hard work paying off in their adopted country than in their country of origin.
Even if that were not the case, even if immigrants were lazy spongers who steal people’s jobs – just ignore that contradiction for the moment- whose fault would that be, ultimately? It’s not like someone can leave a front door key to a country under the welcome mat on the front porch so that immigrants can just let themselves in whenever they like. If immigrants were a problem then the final blame for that problem would have to lie with whoever was in charge of immigration policy i.e. the wealthy, privileged politicians and businessmen who run the country.
Some people do blame immigrants for their economic woes, though. And whenever you get that kind of thought, you always get something else turning up as reliable as clockwork. Nazis.
In Britain we’ve also had to put up with austerity measures too. These measures have been mild compared to the ones in Greece. So our Nazis have come in the rather ineffectual form of UKIP, who seem to have run out of steam a little bit. Lots of people voted for them in the recent General Election, but in a half-hearted tactical sort of way that resulted in them returning only one Member of Parliament. And that wasn’t even UKIP’s leader, Nigel Farage.
The austerity measures in Greece have been far more eye watering. As a result, they got some proper Nazis in the form of a political party called The Golden Dawn. Not sure why they chose to name their party after a 19th Century ritual magic society which listed Aleister Crowley and WB Yeats amongst its members, but they did. Maybe there’s a point lost in translation there somewhere.
The Golden Dawn, like all modern Nazis, categorically deny that they are Nazis. They claim to be “patriots”, which is the fall-back position of right wing bigots worldwide.
This claim might be a bit more credible if it were not for the symbol The Golden Dawn has chosen to put on its flags and banners. Here it is:
It’s actually just a detail from the traditional pattern you get around the edge of Greek plates. Out of context though, it does look very like a symbol of the Far Right. There may still be hope though. Recently, a senior spokesman for The Golden Dawn who was pressed on the point did admit that the party’s chosen symbol did look “pretty like a Swastika”. So maybe they’re having a re-think.
Then again, not everyone faithfully pronounces punctuation. So the spokesman might have been saying that The Golden Dawn’s symbol was “Pretty. Like a Swastika.” That would be a bit of a worry.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2015