It’s a ‘NO’ from Greece! Decisive rejection of austerity


Alexis Tsipras has gambled and won.

Greece has voted decisively to reject the terms of the latest loan offer from the so-called Troika – the IMF, ECB and EU.

Figures published by the interior ministry showed 61 per cent of those whose ballots had been counted voting “No”, against 39 per cent voting “Yes”. This means Greece will go back to the negotiating table with a firm mandate to reject demands for further austerity as part of the conditions of any further loans – and to demand that the country’s huge debt be restructured into a sum that it is possible to pay off.

The victory for Tsipras and his Syriza party is all the more remarkable because it faced enormous opposition from representatives of the Troika and elements of Greek society who scaremongered hard that a ‘No’ vote meant Greece would be ejected from the Eurozone, meaning the Euro would cease to be its currency and it would have to create one of its own.

This is a proud day for Greece. As a nation and democratically, these people have made it clear that austerity doesn’t work and they won’t have any more to do with it – especially when it is imposed undemocratically from beyond their borders.

But you probably won’t hear anything of the kind from the media in the UK. Here’s Guy Debord’s Cat to explain why:

“The BBC and the rest of the British media will continue to peddle the lie that George Osborne’s LTEP is “working”. Can you see the green shoots of reification? If you can’t, then you’re probably an “extreme leftist”.

“As I type this, a BBC News reporter in Athens is interviewing a New Democracy politician who’s claimed that it’s a “dark day for Greece”. Then the reporter interrupts to tell her that Antonis Samaras, the leader of the New Democrats, had resigned. She stumbles and mumbles something along the lines of “I couldn’t possibly comment”.

“Cut to some vox pops of Greek people telling the camera how “scared they are for the future”. The propaganda: it’s blatant.”

The Cat also points out something well worth spelling out to the UK’s current Tory government:

“They don’t have a mandate. 24.3 per cent is nothing. 62 per cent is a mandate. Tories, take note.”

They won’t, though.

Not until the UK finally wakes up and follows the Greek example.

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42 thoughts on “It’s a ‘NO’ from Greece! Decisive rejection of austerity

  1. Nick Fourbanks

    good news Alexis Tsipras has made the right choice i did email him saying my views that a yes vote would cause the deaths of many Greek people and he would lose control of the country

    The no vote is still bad but it is the people choice and things will be bad and yes vulnerable people will die as a result

    of course the EU wont be concerned about that but none the less the people have acted in the main responsibly

    The Greek people are decent and hard working there pensions are very low and to cut then further would kill the majority of them off

    The bottom line is that Alexis Tsipras understands that and an exit from the EU would now be the wisest course of action

    The country as always will be supported by the tourists from many countries just like Tunisia the people of the world will make the right choice for their holiday as at the end of the day both these countries have the ability to form life long friendships with their guests and are repeat returnees

    I for one wish all the very best to both these countries and am sure with someone with my mindset will make headway in going forward

    1. hstorm

      I don’t see what’s ‘bad’ about the no vote. Will vulnerable people die as a result of this? I don’t see why, and they almost certainly would have been in mortal danger anyway.

      A rejection of Austerity is not just likely to keep more people alive, it’s also more likely to give the Greek economy the breathing space it needs to recover. Austerity has de-stimulated the Greek markets to such a poisonous degree that the debt problem has become far worse, not better. The Greeks will now have to exit the euro and re-issue the drachma, but it would have been wiser to stick with the drachma in the first place anyway, as Athens would have retained control of its own money supply.

      Yes, there will remain some very challenging and harsh times ahead for Greece, but they would have been that way irrespective of the referendum result, and at least with a rejection of Austerity, the suffering will lead to some sort of end. It wouldn’t have if Austerity were allowed to continue.

      1. Jim Round

        Don’t doubt the will of the 60+ who voted no but if the shortage of food, medicines and money is as bad as the media say it is then things could get out of hand quickly.
        The Greek government needs a logistics strategy to ensure there is enough to go round.

      2. Florence

        The doom merchants who favoured the Yes vote also have been wandering around the blogs suggesting that a No vote will lead to civil war. During negotiations it was reported that some EUcrats had approached the leader of a minority right-wing party in Greece asking if they felt they would be able to run a minority govt. ! Regime change, indeed. I think that one may have some time to unwind yet.

        If the EU is to work for “us” and not “them” we need to be heard supporting Greece, and publicly demonstrating our own opposition to ideological austerity. That opposition can be framed around the Wed. Budget, the attacks on the disabled and chronically ill, the dismantling of the welfare state, housing, infrastructure, unemployment, etc. We also need to show our support and solidarity with international struggles against austerity throughout the EU (and beyond – like Australia, USA, Canada) and oppose TTIP which will hand over our lives & economies to corporations.

        Do you notice how LITTLE we hear about the other EU / Western countries’ economic and political situations? All we hear are the rattling of sabres against the unseen enemy within and abroad, while being promised that accepting fewer safeguards and erosion of our freedoms will bring us some unspecified state of grace they call “safety”?

        This is one big battle, and the Greeks have chosen to say no to further imposed austerity. We need to support them.

      3. Nick Fourbanks

        As a former diplomat now retired through ill health i know what goes on behind closed doors and it’s not what you think by a long shot

        you will only have safety if i am in the country to make sure procedures are carried out in the correct manner. For the most part most countries civil service do not follow the guidelines of the policy maker ie the government so hence things always go wrong and that normally means death to the person who came up against a brick wall as it is always at a local level that something has gone wrong

        the likes of Alexis Tsipras mean well but he is not on the ground so to speak and is very far removed from the reality of WHAT is going on

        The sick and disabled always wherever they are in the world need the protection of someone like myself and my wife who is a full time carer to those coming to the end of their life. thankfully their are many like us in the world with many giving their services for free in their retirement

        conservative politicians never get involved at the deep end my Tory mp has never seen my wife at work for example and never will do

  2. hayfords

    The Greeks are unrealistic. They have no mandate in this situation. Why not have a referendum of whether the EU should give everyone 1m euros or whether the Earth is flat. Hopefully the lenders Weill say that the deal and the terms are the same and there is no change. Greece faked their convergence criteria to get into the Euro, then abused the cheap money. They have been a pain in the neck for years. It is about time to cut them loose. If they had their own currency they could have devalued years ago and traded themselves out of trouble. They are tied to a system which does not suit them. Greece is like southern Italy turned into a separate country. The difference is that Italy has the industrial north to subsidise their casual lifestyle of minimal work and little taxes.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Syriza has a very firm mandate. You’re a Tory; you think 24 per cent of the electorate give your party a mandate to form a government – this party got 62 per cent. Live with it.
      I notice that, after your weak attempt to criticise Greece, blaming the current government for the actions of previous administrations – another Tory favourite – you go on to attack Italy as well. You seem to be a xenophobe as well as a Tory.

      1. hayfords

        I am not attacking Italy. They can afford the luxury of a part of the country sitting in the sun, whereas Greece cannot. The referendum result showed that Greeks did not want austerity, but that was known even before it started. No one like austerity. The referendum vote was a form of self indulgence. Greece in common with most southern Mediterranean areas do not have the northern European work culture and there will always be a mismatch. I am happy for them to have the ‘tomorrow’ attitude, but outside the EU. Europe knows that Greece will not stick to any conditions for a new loan. It is just good money after bad. They voted in a stupid government as did France. Both countries are in trouble. Ireland, Portugal and the UK stuck to the austerity plan and now are doing fine. The ones like Greece, Spain and to some extent Italy are doing badly. The sooner Greece ggoes the better. I hope the Eurozone will take a tough stance.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Not attacking Italy? So you’re merely revealing your own xenophobia, then.
        You are wrong in saying that nobody likes austerity. Tories love it, as do the rich people who support them (how are you doing, by the way? I don’t imagine you’re a benefit claimant, are you?) because it means the money drains away from the poor and low-income earners into the hands of the people who need it the least.
        And you know what? You have to wonder about that. Why do these super-rich people need so much of our money?
        The only reason I can find is that they are using poverty to dominate the rest of us; to keep us down.
        Your comment that “Greece will not stick to any conditions for a new loan” is typical arrogance from an austerity-loving Tory. If new loan conditions, in combination with debt restructuring, make it possible for Greece to rebuild its economy and pay back what it owes, then Greece will not renege on them. You are again making xenophobic assumptions about double-crossing Greeks.
        You are right that the Greeks voted in a stupid government – it was the government run by the New Democracy Party, prior to Syriza’s election.
        The UK is not doing fine. Austerity is killing thousands of vulnerable people every year – possibly tens of thousands. If you think that’s “doing fine” then you should be in jail or a mental institution.

      3. mohandeer

        The UK stuck to austerity and are now doing fine – which planet are you on. I am now, as a consequence of this Tory Government a Socialist. For Mike, socialism is misunderstood, it is not about capitalism being bad, capitalism is not an ideology it is a means to an end. Socialists can use the concept of capitalism from a bottom up framework rather than the non-existent trickle down effect of top down economics. The Tories are no longer Capitalists – we all in England are that, they are corporates, worse they are corporate elitists having become unrecognizable as a party for any but the rich. Those on the middle bands will find out too late just how far Toryism has come from what it was in the 70’s. I read Karl Marx forty years ago and although I agreed with his vision I could not reconcile it with anything but a utopian dreamers thinking. Now I think I’ll read him again, this time with a better perspective on how capital can be used by the “lefties”, thanks very much.
        As for Greece, I know they will have a hard time adjusting to working hard for a living, it isn’t their strong point, but they are better off saying no in the referendum providing Tsipiras is serious about making what money they can pull into their budget work best for them. It will be tough, especially if the EU gets bitchy as Merkel likely will(she does bitchy very well). A lot will depend on bringing the tourists back, but it must not end there, they really do need to find a niche and sell it, make it, sell it.My real concern though, is what the US will get up to in order to push Greece around to their way of thinking.

    2. hstorm

      What a lot of pompous, near-racist stereotyping. Is your mother-in-law fat? Do you have Irish relatives who are stupid? German cousins who are sticklers for rules?

      Still, I agree with you on the point about them having to leave the euro, it is the only route open to them to get out of the current gridlock.

      But the mess Greece is in; don’t have any doubt, it was past right-of-centre Government in Athens that put the country in that position, and the Troika are creating bail-out terms that will simply make the mess carry on indefinitely.

      1. hayfords

        It is not racist stereotyping to tell the truth. If you think my comments about southern Italy are wrong then you should hear what northern Italy thinks. Their attitude is that the north works and the south eats. I know southern Italy very well and have family members living in the far south. Taxes are optional as they are in Greece. Greece will never function in the EU. Before they joined the Euro, Greece was a marginal third world country. They transitioned into a country that borrowed heavily and spent even more heavily. It generated an artificial bubble of prosperity. The referendum result is just an indication that they want the good times back. That is not going to hgapoen for many years, no matter who is in power and what deals they get. Their best path is to return to their own currency and relative poverty and leave us alone

    1. hayfords

      Very unlikely as our economy is improving. Several polls show a substantial majority in favour of cuts with at least 2 polls over 70%. That is why the Conservatives won. When the majority are iin work, they vote that way. Thatcher knew that and operated in the same way. It is the reason why the Conservatives will win at least next time.

      1. wildswimmerpete

        Do you mean Thatcher’s “call centre economy”, a so-called services “economy” based on shuffling paper and other peoples’ money? Hayfords, we don’t MAKE things, that’s the truth behind your so-called “improving economy”. Wealth is created by making and selling things, not answering telephones or sending memos to each other. Likewise the so-called “knowledge economy” – knowledge is pointless until it’s put to practical use. Sorry hayfords, I’m an engineer and resent the way your ilk trashed manufacturing industry in favour of Thatcher’s City spivs. The UK was the workshop of the world until Thatcher put an end to that. And before you whinge about Labour, unions and hyper-inflation, the 70s slump was caused by the 1973 Oil Crisis out of which the Heath (ie Tory) administration didn’t come up smelling of roses – I lived through those times. Thatcher exploited the consequences of the oil crisis to impose her anti-union, monetarist, pro City spiv policies, just as you Tories have been exploiting the bankster-caused crash of ’08 to impose your brand of corporatism – the new touchy-feely term for what in my day we described with another word: FASCISM

      2. bookmanwales

        One can’t help but laugh !!
        “When the majority are in work they vote that way”, 23% a majority ? not when I went to school.
        Thatcher’s only legacy was the destruction of this nation’s society.

        Housing benefit (1982), yes that one they keep saying we must control, introduced by the Tories to fuel the private sector renting boom.

        DLA (1991), yes that one again they say we must control, introduced by the Tories to massage the unemployment figures, actively encouraging people to sign off unemployment benefit onto the sick.

        Privatisation that to this day still costs us more in subsidies to those sectors which were supposed to be self financing, rail, transport etc

        All this “welfare dependency” the Tories harp on about has it’s roots in the destruction of our industrial base and low tax years of the Tory 80’s and 90’s and now the same again..

        When the Daily Fail says we are poorer even under a Tory government you can assume all is not as rosy as you seem to think.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        hayfords wasn’t referring to people who voted Tory, but to the increase in the working population. He neglected to admit that there are now three people doing jobs that used to be carried out by one.

        Other than that, I agree with you.

  3. Mr.Angry

    I share your view entirely Nick and wish them all the best on a road to recovery, austerity is wrecking Europe and costing lives on a huge scale, let us see what happens next in Spain, the IMF have a bloody nose, great so they should.

  4. wildswimmerpete

    Well done Syriza and the Greek people for your resounding OXI! Sadly for health reasons I can’t take a holiday abroad but if I could I would’ve spent my money on a holiday to Greece. Yes, hopefully Spain is next and the whole neoliberal house of cards begins toppling.

  5. hayfords

    You can create wealth other ways than making things. We were not the workshop of the world when Thatcher camne in. We were known as ‘the sick man of Europe’ because of our rubbish products. Our unions were crippling industry. Even Labour with Barbara Castle, tried unsuccessfully to control the unions. Luckily, Thatcher was made of stronger stuff.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      She wrecked British industry because she wanted to make the working classes less secure.
      That’s not strength – it’s weakness. She knew they were strong, so she undermined them.

      1. wildswimmerpete

        I suspect hayfords has been googling furiously in order to find his “facts”. I doubt he was around when I was experiencing the 1970s crash to the ground after enjoying the increasing wellbeing of the Fab Fifties and the Swinging Sixties. hayfords obviously hasn’t realised that his revered Tories were in power for a sizeable chunk of the Seventies: 1970-74. First thing that really kicked off inflation in the 70s was decimalisation of our currency in 1971, when unscrupulous traders rounded up the costs of individual items. Often an item that cost, say, 3d was offered at 3 pence, more than a doubling of price almost overnight. Then we had the introduction of VAT in ’73 which was imposed on staples, not just luxury items previously subject to purchase tax. That Tory Tax seriously jacked-up the cost of living. Then came the oil crisis and the infamous three-day week that resulted from the Heath government’s inability to cope with it. So in 1974 Wilson was already faced with the beginnings of hyper-inflation resulting from all of these factors. “You can create wealth other ways than making things” – ROFLMAO. Let me guess, hayfords “works” in the financial sector? Memo to hayfords – I’m quoting from MEMORY, actual experience, not “facts” gleaned from unreliable sources.

    2. hstorm

      Surely ‘wealth’ is the end product of human labour? By definition, that means making things, therefore to argue “You can create wealth other ways than making things” is an absurdity.

      Or are you one of those people who always confuse ‘wealth’ with ‘money’?

  6. hstorm

    [I’m posting this reply to Hayfords at the bottom of the thread because it won’t offer me a proper ‘REPLY’ box to speak directly.]

    “It is not racist stereotyping to tell the truth.”
    Oh yes? And who decides whether it’s true? Oh, of course, you do! Silly of me to forget that Tory-sympathisers always appoint themselves the referees of their own arguments.

    “If you think my comments about southern Italy are wrong then you should hear what northern Italy thinks.”

    And what makes you think I haven’t heard it before? Regional prejudice within countries is just as commonplace as international hostility, and is invariably just as wrong. Let me guess though – you think Scousers are drunk dole-queue natives, people from the West Country are all farmers, and cockneys all have punk-rocker hairstyles. Am I right?

    “Their attitude is that the north works and the south eats.”

    And in England, the attitude is that the north is out of work and the south is what props everyone else up. What do these two attitudes have in common? THEY’RE BOTH WRONG. They’re both the results of lazy, wildly-generalised prejudice, and self-satisfied whinging by privileged people who want to retain their advantages.

    “I know southern Italy very well and have family members living in the far south.”
    Oh, my favourite song! All together now, everybody; ‘Some of my best friends are Italian…’

    “The referendum result is just an indication that they want the good times back.”
    Actually no, the majority of Greeks are prepared to tolerate less prosperity than they had in the 2000’s. The referendum result is just an indication that they want an end to abject destitution for the majority of their people, and to an absurd pseudo-economic project that leads down a dead end of permanent economic depression.

    “That is not going to happen for many years, no matter who is in power and what deals they get.”
    How do you know? What makes you so sure they even need to do a deal? Why should the people in power be tied to the same policy platform as their rivals?

    “Their best path is to return to their own currency and relative poverty and leave us alone”
    ‘Leave us alone’? Oh I see, so you’re another of these Tory-leaning, over-privileged people who manage to view themselves as the real victims of any situation.

    Time to take the dummy out of your mouth.

  7. hstorm

    [This is a reply to Mohandeer – again, no direct reply button is visible.]

    “The UK stuck to austerity and are now doing fine – which planet are you on.”
    As Mike says, if thousands of people are dying, and hundreds of thousands more are in abject poverty, the country is not doing fine. If you mean in purely economic terms, well I question your priorities when attempting to measure these things, but either way, you are still wrong. The economy has had a couple of years of reasonable GDP growth. (None of it, by the way, has been any better than the spell of growth that occurred during the last six months of the Labour Government; people often forget that the economy was not in recession at the time of the 2010 General Election, but fell back into recession as soon as Austerity began.) But GDP growth is just a measure of the amount of activity there is in an economy, it is not a measure of how healthy it is. What we have is unbalanced growth, heavily anchored in the service sector. Manufacturing and other such sectors are still limping along awkwardly, and productivity remains anaemically poor.

    Further, the rise in GDP has nothing to do with Austerity. It only happened because banks started lending again in 2013, and that makes it bad news in the long run. People have to repay the loans over the next couple of years, and as many of them only took them out in the first place to cover the shortfall in living standards caused by their low wages, they are very unlikely to have the money needed to make the repayments. In other words, we could be as little as a year away from Credit Crunch II.

    That’s your idea of ‘doing fine’, is it?

    “Capitalism is not an ideology it is a means to an end.”
    No, capitalism is an ideology. It was an idea invented in the Early Modern era that the merchant class should be free of monarchical interference when attempting to do business.

    “As for Greece, I know they will have a hard time adjusting to working hard for a living, it isn’t their strong point”
    Ah, another one who supports his arguments with offensive stereotypes.

  8. hayfords

    Some of my best friends are Italian does not apply as my family members living in southern Italy are Italian. I know that area very well as I am of Italian parentage. Their attitude is to do the least work even if it generates less money and to pay minimal or no tax. It is a nice life and when I go there I envy them. I was there last year and the owner of a restaurant that I knew spoke to me about his son. He knew I have been in IT for around 50 years. He said that his son wanted a PC. I though this was going to be a request for advice. However, he said to his son, “you don’t want a computer. Spend your time swimming, playing football and having fun with your friends”. I know Greece very well, having visited many islands and stayed with a couple Greek families there. Greece is very different from the rest of Europe and does not fit in.

    The trend towards federalism in the EU will increase the control over fiscal matters in each country. One of the major failures of a strong Euro is the lack of control by the ECB. Federalism will bring complete control of budgets and harmonisation of taxes. The big mistake by the EU was to introduce the currency before the tighter controls.

    It is also the reason that we should stay out of the Euro. The only thing of value that Gordon Brown did was to use the Treasury Economic Model to prove that Blair was wrong to want to join the Euro.

    One of the Greek newspapers reported today that 16 out of 18 member countries want to see Greece leave.

    1. chriskitcher

      Sorry chummy but life is not about work it is about living. We have a financial system that promotes the Protestant Work Ethic but how many of the capitalists devote themselves to working as hard as they expect others to?

    2. hstorm

      I won’t go so far as to accuse you of making stuff up, but you don’t appear to know when you’re talking about Greece and when you’re talking about Italy, which makes me dubious.

      What I will say is that, assuming you’re not BS’ing, you really need to avoid projecting your view of your relatives onto the whole of the region they live in. If your family has wastrels in it, maybe you ought to look closer at yourself and your family, and not the place they live in? Think about it; if I were to assert that you and your family are clearly lazy, because these Italian relatives of yours are lazy, I would be making less of a wild generalisation than you are when you say southern Italians are lazy.

      Owning a PC is not the same as being industrious, and it’s a very strange implication on your part. Indeed, aren’t playing football and swimming less lazy activities than sitting at home in front of a computer? Just something to consider there, it doesn’t sound like it’s crossed your mind. Whatever you think of that, isn’t it again a bit of a silly projection to use this example as representative of an entire region of people?

      I agree with you about European federalism, except one point. The ECB is exerting too MUCH control, not too little. Its constant imposition of Austerity on Greece is an example of that, and is the reason the Greek Debt:GDP ratio has increased rapidly in five years. It is also why the Debt is never going to be paid; the stimulus it has cost the Greek economy by taking so many potential consumers out of the economy has caused tax receipts to plummet, and only when those consumers are allowed enough money to resume spending, and to get local businesses trading again, will debt repayments be able to resume.

      Actually, Gordon Brown did a number of very good things, at least while he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. Managing to maintain nearly 11 years of consistent growth in both GDP and productivity was some achievement, and vastly more impressive than anything the Chancellors of the Thatcher/Major era could manage.

      I disagreed with Brown’s use of private debt to hide how far wages were falling behind inflation, and his consequent de-regulation of the banks to allow private debts to keep ticking over. It all played a significant role in the Credit Crunch. He also made a serious mistake in bailing out the banks, when instead he should have nationalised them and broken them up into smaller institutions. But then I’m certainly not saying he was perfect, I’m simply acknowledging that he was a better Chancellor than most of the imbeciles we’ve had to endure at Number 11 over the last forty years. Especially the current buffoon.

      As for the newspaper poll, so what? I myself have long argued that the Greeks should get out of the eurozone, but not for reasons of bitterness or spite or greedy lender-self-pity. They should ditch the euro and re-issue the drachma, simply because it’s their only hope of reviving their economy. As long as the ECB insists that all further euros issued to Greece are conditional on Austerity – and during the last weeks of negotiations that has been ground that it has stubbornly refused to concede – there is simply no point in staying in the single currency. The Austerity is what stops the Greek Government from investing the money in the sorts of projects that will wake the economy up in the first place.

      1. hayfords

        It wasn’t a newspaper paper poll. It was the leaders of 16 out of 18 countries that want Greece to leave. It was reported in a Greek newspaper. It is not my relatives that leads me to believe that southern Italy is the way I see it. It is speaking with the people over many years. Brown was left a sound economy by Ken Clarke. Gordon Brown had a very easy time as a chancellor. He presided over a period of very fast world growth and that flattered his skills. Almost any chancellor could have done a good job. Darling had the potential to be a much better chancellor had he been allowed to do much. Brown’s biggest fault, which we are still suffering from, was to spend everything there was. Labour’s roll in the bank collapse was inactivity. They dithered over the problems with Northern Rock for too long. Many account holders had postal accounts only and due to the delay in supporting the bank over the critical weekend, they had sent in requests to transfer all their funds.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I just did a quick check and it seems Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Belgium want Greece out. That’s six, not 16. I’m not saying your poll is wrong, but I notice you don’t quote your source.
        Your comments about Gordon Brown are farcical. If a Conservative chancellor had been at the Treasury instead of him, you would now be trying to defend another series of ‘boom and bust’ mistakes.
        Your comment about Darling is also farcical – he did far more to reduce the deficit – in just two budgets – than George Osborne managed in six (today is his seventh). The figures corroborate this.
        If Labour’s role in the bank collapse had been inactivity, you wouldn’t have a bank account today. Labour saved the UK’s domestic banks. I agree with the view that the banks should have been nationalised and carved up – not doing that was Labour’s mistake. If the Conservatives had been in office, you would not have a penny to your name and the banks would be gone. The Tories, remember, wanted much greater deregulation than Labour countenanced.

      3. hayfords

        The source was the Greek morning daily newspaper Kathimerini. This is from their web portal

        “According to sources in Brussels, 16 of the other 18 countries in the eurozone are in favor of letting Greece leave the eurozone”

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        Which 16? Are they not named?
        The sources are probably wrong then.

  9. hayfords

    I was arond in the 1970s. I was in business from 1971 and was born in the 1940s. I remember the harm done to this country by the union bosses. I say bosses because the unions themselves were a good thing. We had demarcation, restrictive practices, constant strikes. Later we had Scargill taking the miners out on strike with no ballot and then refusing a ballot for the whole strike. I note that none of the union legislation introduced by the Conservative has ever been repealed. The Conservatives did what Labour had wanted to do for years but were frightened to do.

    1. chriskitcher

      This is a load of b****cks. Thatcher and her grubby tribe just wanted to put fear and poverty into the working person. Unions redressed the balance between employer and employed a balance that is now taking us to the bottom of the pile.

  10. wildswimmerpete

    I hold the opposite view of matters through the 1970s. However you state “I have been in IT for around 50 years” – a field that didn’t exist fifty years ago. We had computer (hardware) engineers back then – I’m holding in my hands two of the plug-in cards from a 1958 Ferranti Perseus mainframe – one a bistable and the other one is for gating. The valves are selection of ECC81, 12AT7 and 6060, all functionally identical double triodes – I suspect the first two were fitted by maintenance staff. Of course back then we had a flourishing, world-leading computer industry (the first properly programmable computer ever was the wartime Colossus), something else that Thatcher let shrivel on the stalk.

    1. hayfords

      I was a programmer on a Leo III in 1965. There were programmable computers quite a few years before that. The Leo I was around from 1951. I was in business with my own software company in 1971.

  11. hstorm

    This interview on Australian radio from a few days ago is fascinating to hear. German economist, Dr Oliver Hartwich, argues that Greece’s only escape route from its current crisis is to withdraw from the euro, and that the European Monetary Union, meant as symbolic of continental unity, may be the very phenomenon that threatens to destroy the European political Union.

  12. hstorm

    “It wasn’t a newspaper paper poll. It was the leaders of 16 out of 18 countries that want Greece to leave. It was reported in a Greek newspaper.”
    Er, could you be a bit more pedantic please? I saw two loose hairs that are crossed over on my desk just now.

    “It is not my relatives that leads me to believe that southern Italy is the way I see it. It is speaking with the people over many years.”
    And yet your relatives are the only examples you actually offer in support of your ‘point’.

    “Brown was left a sound economy by Ken Clarke.”
    Even so, it was still a mighty long spell of economic health that Brown maintained. You can’t seriously make out that the economic situation of 2006 was Ken Clarke’s doing, that’s just classic Tory blinkeredness.

    “Gordon Brown had a very easy time as a chancellor. He presided over a period of very fast world growth and that flattered his skills. Almost any chancellor could have done a good job.”
    Oh I see. So when bad things happen to the economy during a Labour administration, it’s because the Labour administration is incompetent. When good things happen to the economy during a Labour administration, it’s because the worldwide conditions are favourable.

    You do seem typical of a Tory.

    “Darling had the potential to be a much better chancellor had he been allowed to do much. Brown’s biggest fault, which we are still suffering from, was to spend everything there was.”
    Oh for Pete’s sake, not this ‘We’re out of money’ bollocks again. There is no such thing for a country that has its own currency, and if it were true, the Tories would not be able to cut taxes for the very rich right now.

    “Labour’s roll in the bank collapse was inactivity. They dithered over the problems with Northern Rock for too long.”
    And here is the other classic right-wing double-standard. When things are going well in the banks, the right-ites insist that the Government must stay out of the way at all times and not interfere in the financial sector in any way, as that will ‘impair efficiency’ (always left undefined). When things start going wrong with the banks, it’s made out to be the Government’s fault for not intervening, and not in any way the fault of the banks for being stupid, or for being irresponsible, or for abusing the extra trust that was put in them. Funny how Government intervention suddenly becomes a retroactive necessity once disaster has set in, having been forbidden-on-pain-of-death previously.

    “Many account holders had postal accounts only and due to the delay in supporting the bank over the critical weekend, they had sent in requests to transfer all their funds.”
    Yes. But that was Northern Rock’s fault, not the Government’s.

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