Same as the Old Boss – Alexis Tsipras 178


Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Alexis Tsipras, and we do get fooled again. If you will forgive me I should like to crow a little about the accuracy of my predictions on Greece in the last week or so. Now comes the bit where they stay in the Euro there is another fudge, the bankers get hold of more cash and more state assets, and nothing much changes.

We have to find what enjoyment we can in life, and I was writing yesterday about stuffing a duck. I give you another evocative little snippet from Sikunder Burnes which I rather enjoyed writing.

The next morning Burnes slept in late, hungover. Argoud woke up, and passed Percival Lord, who was sitting in the hall performing taxidermy on a duck. Argoud, still not sober, then crashed into Burnes’ room:

“That officer was not yet dressed, on which M. Argoud called out: “Why sare, the battle of Wagram was fought before this hour, and you are still in deshabille? Will you take wine with me?” “No,” said Captain Burnes, “I never take wine before breakfast.” “Then sare,” said Argoud, “You insult me and I demand satisfaction.” He ran out and soon reappeared with his small sword and asked Burnes to send for his rapier.”


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178 thoughts on “Same as the Old Boss – Alexis Tsipras

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  • lwtc247

    BTW Daniel, 11 Jul, 2015 – 5:37 pm.
    Nice post. I largely agree with it. I do think though that Tsipras is a ‘blip’ in that system, like Chavez was, like Moralses is, like Mujica was. One other interesting questions in relation to that inner circle is… do they have a motive for doing what they do or it is simply just greed or other human/’earthy’ factors.
    w.r.t Greece, I don’t dismiss the power of the ‘system’ that would mean that I’m wrong, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

  • lwtc247

    Indeed Ben. My apologies to Mr. Mossedeq (and others like Allende) for leaving him out.

    One more thing…. perhaps the Troika are MORE interested in Greece remaining in debt bondage and NOT have Greece thrown/walking out of the euro as it may have more to lose. As much as global share prices can have any meaning, look at what happened to them when Greece defaulted a few days ago?

  • Daniel

    Lwtc247 @7.52

    Craig’s analysis is spot on. There was nothing stopping Greece defaulting on the debt which is the only – albeit painful – way of preventing the further rape by the Troika of Greece which is what the justification for the extreme forms of austerity implemented in that country were predicated on.

    Are you seriously suggesting that Syriza were unaware of the eagerness of the Troika to initiate further bail-outs to bankers’ of which the political elites like Tsipras are beholden? Or are you claiming that these political elites in Greece are somehow unique in not wanting to play to the tune of the bankers?

    What the referendum indicated was that Syriza had a mandate to default which would have been the courageous and right thing to do. The fact that they didn’t, was a duplicitous slap in the face for the Greek people.

  • Daniel

    “I do think though that Tsipras is a ‘blip’ in that system, like Chavez was, like Moralses is, like Mujica was.”

    Wishful thinking.

  • lwtc247

    A better, insiders view, as to what Syriza was about…. [Synopsis: It was about getting a better deal.]

    “Tomorrow’s EU Summit will seal Greece’s fate in the Eurozone. As these lines are being written, Euclid Tsakalotos, my great friend, comrade and successor as Greece’s Finance Ministry is heading for a Eurogroup meeting that will determine whether a last ditch agreement between Greece and our creditors is reached and whether this agreement contains the degree of debt relief that could render the Greek economy viable within the Euro Area. Euclid is taking with him a moderate, well-thought out debt restructuring plan that is undoubtedly in the interests both of Greece and its creditors. (Details of it I intend to publish here on Monday, once the dust has settled.) If these modest debt restructuring proposals are turned down, as the German finance minister has foreshadowed, Sunday’s EU Summit will be deciding between kicking Greece out of the Eurozone now or keeping it in for a little while longer, in a state of deepening destitution, until it leaves some time in the future. The question is: Why is the German finance Minister, Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, resisting a sensible, mild, mutually beneficial debt restructure? The following op-ed just published in today’s The Guardian offers my answer. [Please note that the Guardian’s title was not of my choosing. Mine read, as above: Behind Germany’s refusal to grant Greece debt relief ).
    http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/11/behind-germanys-refusal-to-grant-greece-debt-relief-op-ed-in-the-guardian/

    Syriza has (and still is) been talked-up by people imposing their own ideas as to what Syriza was about. I made that mistake upon their election, but I realised my error. To these people, all they know is “the system” – all the do is think in the box. To walk away – as they should have done IMHO, if nothing else but because usury is immoral – simply isn’t in their thinking. They are nickel and dimers when they should be looking at the Benjamin’s.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    What the referendum indicated was that Syriza had a mandate to default which would have been the courageous and right thing to do.

    Hmmm. The gesture would immediately have been followed by the total collapse of all Greek systems. Food and energy shortages would have ensued. There would have been no money (financiers in sauve-qui-peut mode being what they are) Civil unrest on a large scale would have followed, and the army (assuming even the best-case, that it stayed loyal to the state – unlikely if having to eat IOU’s) would have become the controlling power in the land. More Generals, but still with no option but to accede to Europe. Tsipras was bluffing, knew he was bluffing, and the bluff failed. At that point, he had little choice in the matter. The alternative was to return Greece to its pre- Papandreou state. OK to stand on a point of principle, but not if it results in a civil war.

    Of course, if Merkel carries on making the Greek pips squeak, that may happen anyway, but in that case the enemy will be wholly external to Greece and national unity will be enhanced.

    I have to say it all looked very convincing for a while, and this was as much down to wishful thinking as anything else. We, and the Greeks, wanted to be deluded. The essence of a good con.

  • Alcyone

    “Same as the Old Boss – Alexis Tsipras”

    Craig, you would have us believe that you are a different kind of politician!? Why should we believe you, when you;

    -allow nepotism in your blog (your friend coming here and announcing himself to be a Murray with a I-am-the-King-I-can-do-anything kind of attitude) and you look the other way?

    -encourage your moderator to propagate such an attitude and inflict injustice.

    -commit family indiscretions.

    -can’t pay your public bills on time.

    -enjoy getting drunk, which is just another form of escape, and then boast about it.

    Come off your high horse, please.

  • lwtc247

    Ba’al Zevul, 11 Jul, 2015 – 9:12 pm. Please read Varoufakis’ blogpost (I liked to it just before) to understand how they, (most in)Syriza, believe Greece was caught in a viscous circle and that Grexit would have had major problems.
    That said, I think they should have just refused to pay off the interest. I don’t see any of this as ruse. They, believe debt restructuring is an essential part of the solution. All: Lets see how much of their previous “debt restructuring necessity” they managed to interject into the latest proposal before we speculate based on BBCesque “look, the Greeks (the media centre that supports the status quo) have caved in, long live the King.” or Craigs mischaracterising analysis.

  • Daniel

    “Of course, if Merkel carries on making the Greek pips squeak, that may happen anyway, but in that case the enemy will be wholly external to Greece and national unity will be enhanced.”

    This is an interesting perspective that I hadn’t considered. For sure, Syriza will be damned by Greeks who didn’t vote for them whatever the eventual outcome. As to whether yet more austerity on the back of further bailouts will be externalized by those Greeks that did vote for them resulting in a wider unity, is debatable in my view. The argument that this is a simply black and white issue of a virtuous Syriza versus an evil Troika is largely based, it seems to me, on the cult hero worship of the kind we see with some Putin supporters.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    “Nicola got the royal box at Wimbledon what more did you want?”

    And your point is …..?

  • RobG

    In all this stuff about Greece it should be remembered that the euro zone is the most powerful economic block on Earth, in terms of GDP…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_European_Union

    The 230 odd billion owed by Greece is just money down the back of the sofa.

    As many have pointed out here, the ‘Greek crisis’ is just a take-over bid by the IMF, etc.

    By European standards the Greek economy is tiny, and whether it stands or falls will have little impact on the EU zone as a whole. The markets will get jittery, a bit like a maiden aunt who is addicted to prescription tranquilisers and drinks too much Guiness.

    The problem for the present Greek government is that it is unable to easily print its own currency (part of the deal of joining the euro was that Greece had to destroy all presses capable of printing the drachma); unlike Iceland, another small economy which retained it’s currency, and thus was able to tell the debtors to get stuffed, and was also able to put its corrupt bankers in jail.

    I’ve no idea how things will pan out in Greece. There seems to be negotiations going on behind the scenes with the BRICs. I can’t see Washington (which to all intents and purposes now owns the political leadership of the EU) ever allowing a BRIC deal to happen.

    The Greeks are stuffed, much like the rest of us.

    And for many of us, the Revolution can’t happen too soon…

  • Andrew

    Greece may turn out to be just a footnote. The rebel economist Steve Keen says we’re living through “the biggest debt bubble in the history of capitalism” – i.e. the 2008 global crisis isn’t over yet.

    He thinks China will be the next bubble to burst – it’s “inevitable” sometime in the next 1-2 years.

    (Keen was one of the few economists who predicted the 2007-8 crisis).

    He was talking at a conference in London – here’s a video of his presentation. It’s pretty difficult unless you’re familiar with Keen’s work and/or Hyman Minsky. The comments mentioned above are at about 12.44 and 14.44.

    http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2015/07/09/will-we-crash-again-ftalphaville-presentation/

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Amdrew: Looks like it. Keen is a voice im the wilderness, probably because what he says makes sense.

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings (Kipling) also have a view.

  • fred

    “Fred, I thought you claimed to deal only with issues and never made it personal.”

    How have I made it personal?

    The people of Scotland voted in the general election and they got exactly what they voted for. Zero influence at Westminster but Nicola gets to swan around appearing on American TV and sitting in the royal box at Wimbledon.

    That’s democracy.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Lwtc – agree wholly that the crisis could have been averted by the EU, but it preferred to protect “its” industries – notably including the arms industry – which had sold Greece goods beyond its ability to pay for them. Demonstrating, incidentally, that the chief beneficiary of the EU is still intended to be Germany. But that is not where we are in 2015. Tsipras and Varoufakis had claimed to be able to mitigate the situation, which was not of their making, and which the previous government had failed to solve. They may have been sincere, who knows? But the conditions currently under discussion are apparently pretty close to the ones the referendum rejected, and I think Varoufakis’ article is at best disingenuous, although interesting and informative. I catch an eerie similarity to the Chancellor of the Exchequer talking up the pound during a nosedive, in order to recover market confidence.

  • Clark

    Fred, it isn’t proper democracy either. What influence the Scottish voters got at Westminster depended on how the other seats fell. If just a few thousand non-Scottish votes had been different, we could have got a Labour-SNP coalition and the SNP would now have a lot of power. Such flaws with Westminster are precisely why millions of voters in Scotland want independence from the Westminster system.

  • ben

    Why not simply forgive the debt with a few dozen quid-pro-quos to their financial captors?

    Worked for post WWII France and Germany. Empire compromises when in it’s own, best self interest.

  • fred

    “Fred, it isn’t proper democracy either. What influence the Scottish voters got at Westminster depended on how the other seats fell. If just a few thousand non-Scottish votes had been different, we could have got a Labour-SNP coalition and the SNP would now have a lot of power. Such flaws with Westminster are precisely why millions of voters in Scotland want independence from the Westminster system.”

    That is how democracy works and it’s the same for every other region of the UK and is the same with every election. Sometimes the area a region votes for gets power, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we get a Tory government sometimes it’s Labour. That’s how democracy works. Lot’s of people would prefer a system where they personally get what they want all the time but that isn’t democracy.

  • nevermind

    Whilst Craigs piece is merely pointing to the parameters of political power and what party politicians are prepared to do for wielding it, just like this 180 degree turn.
    Meanwhile Phil, a regular poster here, has decamped to Athens and is writing on the blog below about it;

    I know some can’t cope with Phils anarchic horizons, nut he’s an active sort of guy….., so whatever happens on the ground, Phil is there and talking to the locals to give us a view from base.

    http://louderthanwar.com/author/tales-southbank/

  • Clark

    Fred, it’s an example of democracy failing rather than working. That it applies all over the UK and at every election makes it worse, not better. Do you therefore retract this:

    “The people of Scotland […] got exactly what they voted for. Zero influence at Westminster” (etc)?

  • fred

    “Fred, it’s an example of democracy failing rather than working. That it applies all over the UK and at every election makes it worse, not better. Do you therefore retract this:”

    No I do not.

    Why the fuck should I? It’s true.

  • OldMark

    ‘Gloating doesn’t do you any credit, Craig. Tsipiras has fought hard and long, and credit to him for that. But the forces ranged against him are overwhelming. He is caught between a rock and a hard place, and they are squeezing him mercilessly’

    Ian- spot on

    Daniel @5,37pm- the link to the information clearing house article is instructive; there was however no need to highlight the fact that many of nouveaux riches plutocrats identified therein are Jewish

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    “Nicola gets to swan around appearing on American TV and sitting in the royal box at Wimbledon.”

    I asked you what your point was because I haven’t heard you complain about Cameron or Miliband in the Royal box, and I know you have no objection to aristocratic rule – you voted for Lord Thurso for years – so I wondered if you have a problem with uppity Scots getting above their station.

  • fred

    “Fred, it’s an example of democracy failing rather than working.”

    1997, 56 Scottish Labour seats, a Labour government at Westminster.

    2001, 56 Scottish Labour seats, a Labour government at Westminster.

    2005, 41 Scottish Labour seats, a Labour government at Westminster.

    People weren’t saying democracy was failing then.

  • fred

    “I asked you what your point was because I haven’t heard you complain about Cameron or Miliband in the Royal box, and I know you have no objection to aristocratic rule – you voted for Lord Thurso for years – so I wondered if you have a problem with uppity Scots getting above their station.”

    I thought I had made myself clear.

    You seemed to think the people of Scotland hadn’t got what they voted for in the general election. Obviously they did.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    “You seemed to think the people of Scotland hadn’t got what they voted for in the general election. Obviously they did.”

    No, that wasn’t my point at all. I was enjoying the irony of some people constantly harping on about Scots not acknowledging the result of the referendum while those same people bury their heads in the sand regarding the result of the general election.

    So what IS your problem with Nicola Sturgeon appearing on US TV and in the Royal box at Wimbledon?

  • fred

    “No, that wasn’t my point at all. I was enjoying the irony of some people constantly harping on about Scots not acknowledging the result of the referendum while those same people bury their heads in the sand regarding the result of the general election.”

    Nobody is burying their heads in the sand regarding the general election.

    People voted and they got what they voted for. Seems some people are disillusioned as to what they were voting for that’s all.

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