Tag Archives: Germany

Why does Sunak have billions for dormant companies, but not a penny to safeguard our jobs?

Rishi Sunak: he doesn’t want to save UK jobs. Meanwhile his government is funnelling billions into companies run by friends of the Tories – who can’t deliver what they promise.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has again been urged to extend the furlough scheme that safeguards huge numbers of UK jobs during the Covid crisis – a scheme he is adamant will end on October 31.

The Commons Treasury select committee has urged him to renew support for sectors of the economy that are still suffering because of the pandemic, saying the alternative is mass unemployment and an end to viable firms.

But you can probably see the problem Sunak has in the committee’s own words:

“Effectively targeted assistance to those who need it is important,” the committee says in an 84-page report, ‘Economic impact of coronavirus : the challenges of recovery’.

“The Chancellor should carefully consider whether a targeted extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and/or other targeted support measures might be required and explain his conclusions.”

The problem is that the UK’s current Tory government hasn’t yet had a target that it could hit.

Meanwhile…

Yes, we deserve far better. But we’re not going to get it.

Source: Coronavirus furlough ‘must be extended’ to avoid mass unemployment from October 31 – Mirror Online

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Coronavirus: Countries that relaxed lockdown are suffering second spikes – and Johnson’s talking about copying them


What a timing malfunction: on the day Boris Johnson tried to talk the UK into accepting his plan to relax lockdown restrictions, countries that have already made this choice reported increased infections and reimposed them.

Strangely enough, This Writer was only discussing the issue last week – with a guy who was saying that places like Germany have relaxed restrictions and nothing bad happened:

https://twitter.com/ricoforest30/status/1258431809135808513

https://twitter.com/ricoforest30/status/1258433256267137025

Well, I don’t know about Austria and Denmark, but as for Germany

New coronavirus infections are accelerating again in Germany just days after its leaders loosened social restrictions, raising concerns that the pandemic could once again slip out of control. The Robert Koch Institute for disease control said in a daily bulletin the number of people each sick person now infects – known as the reproduction rate, or R – had risen to 1.1.

Germany isn’t the only country having difficulties.

In South Korea

The South Korean government issued an emergency order on Friday for the closure of all bars in Seoul after a single clubber infected at least 40 people and exposed over 1,900 more to the coronavirus. The closure is indefinite.

The authorities were forced to trace the contacts of the 29-year-old man, who has not been named, after his night out in the Itaewon district of Seoul – and have so far found at least forty people confirmed with the infection. The country had previously been free of domestic transmission of the virus after an extensive and rigorous programme of testing, tracing and isolating as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

And in China

An untraced coronavirus outbreak in a Chinese city near the Russian border and a spate of new cases in Wuhan has prompted fears of a fresh wave of infections in China.

On Sunday, Chinese authorities reclassified Shulan, a city near the Russian and North Korean borders, as high risk, after a cluster of cases connected to a woman with no known history of travel or exposure to the virus.

It came just a week after China designated all regions in the country as low or medium risk. On Sunday the country’s national health commission reported 17 new cases, its second day of a double-digit rise and its highest number in nearly two weeks.

These are all countries that were thought to have got their Covid-19 outbreaks under control – only to see them flare up again.

Now Boris Johnson is telling the UK everything is under control – just as the leaders of those other countries probably said to their citizens.

Considering what happened there, what do you think is going to happen here?

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Johnson’s coup: Now we must fight to prevent the end of the UK as a democracy

Two-fingered salute: His decision to shut down Parliament shows that this rude signal is all Boris Johnson has for democracy.

Boris Johnson’s demand that the Queen prorogue Parliament in order to ensure that his “no deal” Brexit cannot be stopped – and her meek submission to it – has shown that the UK’s democracy is at risk of collapsing: We are threatened with dictatorship.

Some of us have been watching it coming for years.

The first move was the economic crisis of 2008 onwards, leading to the collusion of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in order to form a Coalition government that imposed austerity on the majority of people in the United Kingdom.

The reduction of money for public services led to splits in society, with groups lining up to demonise other groups – supported by highly-inflammatory rhetoric from the government.

Most notable in this was the demonisation of the sick and disabled – with the conscious collusion of the mainstream TV and print news media (consider the effect of so-called documentaries like Benefits Street, for example).

This in turn made it possible for David Cameron to call a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, partly because people in his party were claiming that EU regulations were the country to accept excessive numbers of immigrants from other EU countries.

The result of that referendum was three years of deadlock as Parliament struggled to agree an agreement on the manner of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union that everyone could accept. This could have been avoided if Mr Cameron had taken the time to define the terms on which the UK might leave, before the referendum was held. He did not.

It also gave a huge platform to demagogues – politicians appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than using rational argument – most notably Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

Mr Cameron, who became prime minister in 2010 despite the fact that his party did not have a majority in Parliament at the time, resigned after it became clear that the referendum result was to leave the EU. This was in contradiction of his own promise to stay and enact Brexit, in the run-up to the vote. He was replaced by another unelected prime minister, Theresa May – who resigned earlier this year, having failed to take the UK out of the EU.

Now we have a third unelected Conservative prime minister, Boris Johnson, who is determined to take the UK out of the EU on October 31, preferably without a withdrawal agreement. He knows that Parliament will prevent this if it can. A known liar, he has lied again in order to wrong-foot his political opponents and steal power from Parliament to ensure that he gets the Brexit he wants.

As the BBC’s Iain Watson tells us:

He’s proroguing Parliament to prevent it from debating Brexit.

And the Queen has allowed it:

Now Dictator Johnson is saying there will be “ample time” for Parliament to debate Brexit.

This can only be seen as another lie.

But the real issue now is this:

History is repeating itself. We have seen these developments elsewhere.

Do you know where?

It happened in Germany after Hitler and his Nazis took over the government of that country.

Hitler did not have a majority in the German parliament when he took power in 1933 – he relied on the collusion of others, as David Cameron relied on the support of the Liberal Democrats.

Hitler used Germany’s economic weakness during the time of the Weimar republic to demonise groups within German society – most notably Jews, but also the sick and disabled who he described as “useless eaters”. The Coalition government – and every Conservative government since – have persecuted people claiming benefits because they are sick or disabled and, while not gassing them to death as Hitler’s Aktion T4 programme did, they have “nudged” these people towards death by denying them the wherewithal to survive by sanctioning their benefits, or removing them altogether.

The first political opponents that Hitler removed from Germany altogether were Communists, and it is unlilkely to be a coincidence that Tories have constantly referred to Jeremy Corbyn as a Marxist, and his Labour Party as Communists (in fact, Labour is a democratic socialist party, which is not the same at all).

There has been a huge amount of mass media collusion with the Coalition and subsequent Conservative governments. Hitler controlled the German mass media with an iron hand.

Hitler rallied the German people around powerful feelings of nationalism and Brexit has allowed modern demagogues like Boris Johnson to kindle such feelings in the UK.

Hitler had no regard for human rights. In their plans for the UK post-Brexit, the Conservatives intended to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a “Bill of Rights” in which no UK citizen would have any rights beyond what would be decreed for them by our Tory masters.

The list goes on and on (the above are just off the top of This Writer’s head).

And now Parliament is being prevented from sitting for most of September and half of October, leaving it without enough time to stop Dictator Johnson from achieving his “no deal” Brexit – in defiance of democracy.

I know – you thought you were living in a democracy.

So did the Germans!

Many years ago, in the early days of This Site, I used to paraphrase the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller, who wrote of the Nazis:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.

I used it to highlight the plight of the sick and disabled, changing the first line to “First they came for the sick and disabled, and I did not speak out because I was not sick or disabled”.

Now we know what my last line should be:

Finally, they came for democracy – and now it doesn’t matter whether I speak out or not because nobody will listen.

That is the situation we face, it seems.

You can watch it getting worse and do nothing, and then tell me I was right when it is too late to reverse this disaster.

Or you can actually get up and stop it.

What are you going to do?

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Why is Corbyn apologising after an AUSCHWITZ SURVIVOR condemned Israel EIGHT YEARS AGO?

Perhaps this makes matters clearer: It turns out Hajo Meyer is the person who said an anti-Semite was no longer a person who hated Jews but a person who is hated by Jews. No wonder the Campaign Against Antisemitism is keen to besmirch his memory.

Of all the accusations by the fake “anti-Semitism” accusers, this has to be the lowest yet. Why has Jeremy Corbyn apologised?

It seems Mr Corbyn has been accused of anti-Semitism because he appeared at an event in 2010 when Hajo Meyer, a Jewish Holocaust victim who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp, repeatedly compared the behaviour of the Israeli government in Gaza to that of Nazi Germany.

It’s just This Writer’s opinion but, as a person who has witnessed the crimes of the Nazis first-hand, he should know!

To show how ridiculous the accusation is: The implication by the Campaign Against Antisemitism is that Mr Meyer was an anti-Semite. These people are accusing a Holocaust victim of anti-Semitism – or they would, if he hadn’t died in 2014.

The fact that this has been dredged up now raises a couple of questions.

Firstly, did the Campaign Against Antisemitism conduct any research into the feelings of the wider community of British Jews before making its claim? This is an event that happened eight years ago, so there has been plenty of time.

Why was no accusation made in 2010? It seems that would have been the appropriate time. Why has no objection been made until now? Is it because it is politically expedient to do so now?

The CAA has referred the party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which has exhibited little interest, saying it will consider what action is needed – “if any”.

The CAA’s letter to the EHRC claims that Labour has created an atmosphere of discrimination against Jewish members and/or associates through years of failure to enforce its own rules. Which rules? Isn’t it strange that they never come out with any actual evidence?

So we find that Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for being present when a Jewish Holocaust survivor passed an opinion that he was perfectly entitled to hold – at an event eight years ago, to which (to the best of our knowledge) the wider Jewish community in the UK does not object.

He should not have done so. In fact, he should have told his accusers to clear off – in no uncertain terms. Until he actually does this, he will never be free of them.

Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for speaking at an event where the actions of Israel in Gaza were compared to the Nazis.

The Labour leader acknowledged he had appeared with people “whose views I completely reject” when he hosted a Holocaust Memorial Day event in 2010, while he was a backbench MP. He apologised for the “concerns and anxiety” it had caused.

The main talk at the event, called Never Again for Anyone – Auschwitz to Gaza, was given by Hajo Meyer, a Jewish survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. He repeatedly compared Israeli action in Gaza to the mass killing of Jewish people in the Holocaust.

Corbyn said: “The main speaker at this Holocaust Memorial Day meeting was a Jewish Auschwitz survivor. Views were expressed at the meeting which I do not accept or condone.

“In the past, in pursuit of justice for the Palestinian people and peace in Israel/Palestine, I have on occasion appeared on platforms with people whose views I completely reject. I apologise for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused.”

Source: Corbyn apologises over event where Israel was compared to Nazis | Politics | The Guardian

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Another setback for Tory Brexit talks – the silly Ruperts thought they were entitled to set the pace

The key objective of Theresa May’s speech in Florence has been rejected by France and Germany [Image: PA Wire/PA Images].


Theresa May’s Florence speech can’t have been all that well-received if France and Germany are rejecting its main message.

This is what she gets for assuming she can dictate the pace of Brexit negotiations and the subjects under discussion.

It has been said before, and will be said again – the UK is the weaker participant in these talks; the EU can basically do what it wants and if Mrs May doesn’t like it, she’ll have to lump it.

See if she doesn’t.

Paris and Berlin will reportedly reject requests for Brexit talks to move on to a possible transitional arrangement until the so-called “divorce bill” is settled, in a huge setback to Theresa May after her well received speech in Florence.

In that speech, the Prime Minister proposed a two-year transitional period after the UK leaves the EU, in a bid to break the deadlock of the negotiations.

But, according to the Financial Times, any hope of moving on to discussion of establishing a transitional deal will be effectively vetoed by France and Germany, until the question the UK’s exit settlement is fully agreed.

Source: Theresa May’s Brexit plans in ruins after France and Germany ‘reject transitional arrangement’


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The ultimate insult: Tory privatisation means European state-owned rail firms profit – not you

[Image: TSSA Union.]

We’ve established that the citizens of the UK – whether we use trains or not – are subsidising rail companies by nearly £4 billion a year.

We’ve also established that £3.5 billion of that money is used as profit by the railway operating companies.

Now you have proof that most of the £3.5 billion goes to German, Dutch and French nationalised railway services. It makes their services better while we are given trash.

This is the ultimate result of Conservative privatisations. They LOVE it!

Tories don’t care where your money goes, as long as you don’t have it, or anything like decent services or a decent standard of living.

That’s why they intend to continue privatising your assets and services, until foreign nationalised industries control everything (apart from, maybe, the courts and defence, if you believe David Cameron).

If you think about it, the Tories are making sure that Germany won the Second World War after all – 70 years after the event.*

Even if you can’t accept that, ask yourself whose side the Tories are really on.

It will never be yours.

Here’s the TSSA video that hammers the point home:

British taxpayers are paying for nationalised rail services in Europe, and the French, Dutch and German people would like to say thank you.

And it’s nothing to do with us still being in the EU.

As ticket prices skyrocket again today, a new video points out the absurdity at the heart of Britain’s privatised railways.

Huge chunks of Britain’s rail operating companies are now owned by the French, Dutch and German governments.

A chunk of the profits made from hiking fares in the UK are paid in dividends to state-owned companies such as Keolis, Arriva and Abellio.

Source: British taxpayers are subsidising European train fares and it’s nothing to do with the EU

*This is not to suggest that the Nazis could ever be said to have won World War II. If you want to find anything corresponding with Nazism in Germany or the UK, your best bet is – again – the Tory government.

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Franco-German Euro pact to push UK out of the Union?

So much for David Cameron’s boast that he would renegotiate European treaties on immigration and social security.

While he’s been sabre-rattling, Germany and France have already agreed closer political union within the Eurozone (that’s the part of the EU that uses the Euro as currency), without any change to existing treaties.

Cameron knew this was likely to happen but expected it to mean the relevant treaties would be re-written, allowing room for his proposed changes.

Now his plan has been rendered unviable.

Cameron the outsider has, once again, been pushed to the fringes of the EU.

Nobody wants to talk to him. Instead of being a major player in Europe, he has turned the UK into a third-stringer.

He wanted to use ‘Brexit’ from the union as a threat; create a fear that the UK would walk out of Europe.

Now it seems clear that we are being pushed.

France and Germany have agreed a new plan for closer eurozone political union despite David Cameron’s plan to renegotiate EU treaties on welfare and immigration.

The new Franco-German agreement would see closer cooperation between the 19 countries without any change to existing EU treaties, according to a leak to France’s Le Monde newspaper.

The agreement would see cooperation in four areas “developed in the framework of the current treaties in the years ahead”.

The British government has previously accepted the need for tighter eurozone integration but has hoped that the rewriting of EU treaties to make way for it could allow Britain to make other demands about welfare and immigration.

Source: France and Germany push ahead with closer euro political union despite David Cameron – UK Politics – UK – The Independent

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Greece could break Austerity – if Tsipras has the courage

150324tsipras-merkel

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss his country’s economic strategy and debt repayments.

The point of Austerity in Greece was never to help that country pay off its debts; it was to create a permanent debt that Greece would never be able to pay off.

Under a submissive government, this was feasible – as it has been in many countries in what is laughably called the Developing World – but now Syriza has taken control and Alexis Tsipras could have the Troika (European Central Bank, IMF and the European Union – the three organisations that have been lending money to the Greek government) over a barrel.

The plan was to add Greece to the list of nations running a ‘zombie economy’ in the service of neoliberal corporate interests, rather than the well-being of its own citizens.

The Troika’s settlement with Greece was similar to that carved out by the western banks with the Developing World – the creation of a Debt Trap.

Western banks indulged in a lending spree across the Developing World during the latter half of the 20th century but the oil shocks of the 1970s created a domino effect of economic disaster which ended up putting most of Africa and Latin America on the verge of bankruptcy.

They could not be allowed to default on their debts. This would have allowed those countries to recover but would have harmed the western world – both economically and politically, as its influence would have faded.

So the IMF stepped in with ‘bridging loans’, ensuring that the original debts could be serviced – but there was a cost. In return for these loans, the IMF created a mechanism called the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP – an appropriate acronym as it has sapped away a huge amount of money from every nation where it has been used).

The SAP set conditions under which debtor nations were provided the bridging loans: The sale of nationalised industries and resources – mostly to foreign-owned corporations and governments; the removal of capital controls on money flowing into and out of these nations; allowing the IMF to dictate the level of public spending; prioritising debt repayment and corporate welfare over infrastructure investment and human welfare; and suppression of wages and restrictions on trade unions.*

This is more or less the deal that Greece was offered.

The result has been clear – as Professor Simon Wren-Lewis pointed out in his Mainly Macro blog yesterday: “Austerity… is of course why Greek GDP has fallen by 25 per cent.”

At the moment, the Troika is threatening Tsipras with the loss of further loans, as he has stated that he intends to reverse the privatisations that have been forced on Greece over the last few years, raise the minimum wage, and increase public spending. These are measures designed to reverse the Troika-engineered Greek economic collapse and make it possible to start paying off the huge debt the country has built up.

Tsipras wants that money because he wants his economic recovery to take place in an orderly way, so he has agreed not to roll back the privatisations that have already taken place but to review those that haven’t; to introduce collective wage-bargaining, stopping short of raising the minimum wage but encouraging non-statutory wage rises; and tackling the humanitarian crisis with free medical care for the uninsured unemployed, along with housing guarantees, at no extra cost to the public purse.

But here’s the thing: Greece can manage without that loan money, if it has to. Yes, there will be a great deal of pain, but Tsipras effectively has the Troika over a barrel. The promise of some money is better than no money. All he has to do is hold his nerve and point out that what the Troika is doing is exactly the opposite of what it is supposed to be doing.

By funding Greece during Austerity, the Troika was perpetuating its debt, rather than helping end that debt; now it is actively fighting a plan that will genuinely help end that debt. And the world can see this.

It is an important lesson for the UK, as well. This country didn’t need the Troika to enforce privatisation, wage suppression, public spending restrictions and so on because we have a neoliberal Conservative-led government that is already avid for those things.

Our economy has suffered badly – and our people have suffered brutally – because of these choices by rich Conservatives who have not had to bear any of the pain themselves.

For no reason.

It seems possible that both Greece and the UK could probably take a leaf out of 1920s German chancellor Gustav Streseman’s book – re-industrialisation and (in Greece’s case) renegotiation of loans and an exit from the Euro in order to create a new currency. Whether that is practical is best left to economists who have more expertise than a layman like this writer.

What is clear is that Austerity – and its champions – are bad for everybody’s national interest.

*Austerity – The Demolition of the Welfare State and the Rise of the Zombie Economy, Kerry-Anne Mendoza, published by New Internationalist. Pick up a copy now!

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Alexis Tsipras on the ‘fiscal waterboarding’ of Greece

Alexis Tsipras.

Alexis Tsipras.

Now, why would the Western (right-wing) media be doing their best to suppress this?

Most of you, dear … readers, will have formed a preconception of what this article is about before you actually read it. I am imploring you not to succumb to such preconceptions. Prejudice was never a good guide, especially during periods when an economic crisis reinforces stereotypes and breeds biggotry, nationalism, even violence.

In 2010, the Greek state ceased to be able to service its debt.

Unfortunately, European officials decided to pretend that this problem could be overcome by means of the largest loan in history on condition of fiscal austerity that would, with mathematical precision, shrink the national income from which both new and old loans must be paid. An insolvency problem was thus dealt with as if it were a case of illiquidity.

In other words, Europe adopted the tactics of the least reputable bankers who refuse to acknowledge bad loans, preferring to grant new ones to the insolvent entity so as to pretend that the original loan is performing while extending the bankruptcy into the future. Nothing more than common sense was required to see that the application of the ‘extend and pretend’ tactic would lead my country to a tragic state. That instead of Greece’s stabilization, Europe was creating the circumstances for a self-reinforcing crisis that undermines the foundations of Europe itself.

My party, and I personally, disagreed fiercely with the May 2010 loan agreement not because you, the citizens of Germany, did not give us enough money but because you gave us much, much more than you should have and our government accepted far, far more than it had a right to [all boldings mine]. Money that would, in any case, neither help the people of Greece (as it was being thrown into the black hole of an unsustainable debt) nor prevent the ballooning of Greek government debt, at great expense to the Greek and German taxpayer.

Indeed, even before a full year had gone by, from 2011 onwards, our predictions were confirmed. The combination of gigantic new loans and stringent government spending cuts that depressed incomes not only failed to rein the debt in but, also, punished the weakest of citizens turning people who had hitherto been living a measured, modest life into paupers and beggars, denying them above all else their dignity. The collapse of incomes pushed thousands of firms into bankruptcy boosting the oligopolistic power of surviving large firms. Thus, prices have been falling but more slowly than wages and salaries, pushing down overall demand for goods and services and crushing nominal incomes while debts continue their inexorable rise. In this setting, the deficit of hope accelerated uncontrollably and, before we knew it, the ‘serpent’s egg’ hatched – the result being neo-Nazis patrolling our neighbourhoods, spreading their message of hatred.

Despite the evident failure of the ‘extend and pretend’ logic, it is still being implemented to this day. The second Greek ‘bailout’, enacted in the Spring of 2012, added another huge loan on the weakened shoulders of the Greek taxpayers, “haircut” our social security funds, and financed a ruthless new kleptocracy.

Respected commentators have been referring of recent to Greece’s stabilization, even of signs of growth. Alas, ‘Greek-covery’ is but a mirage which we must put to rest as soon as possible. The recent modest rise of real GDP, to the tune of 0.7%, signals not the end of recession (as has been proclaimed) but, rather, its continuation. Think about it: The same official sources report, for the same quarter, an inflation rate of -1.80%, i.e. deflation. Which means that the 0.7% rise in real GDP was due to a negative growth rate of nominal GDP! In other words, all that happened is that prices declined faster than nominal national income. Not exactly a cause for proclaiming the end of six years of recession!

Allow me to submit to you that this sorry attempt to recruit a new version of ‘Greek statistics’, in order to declare the ongoing Greek crisis over, is an insult to all Europeans who, at long last, deserve the truth about Greece and about Europe. So, let me be frank: Greece’s debt is currently unsustainable and will never be serviced, especially while Greece is being subjected to continuous fiscal waterboarding. The insistence in these dead-end policies, and in the denial of simple arithmetic, costs the German taxpayer dearly while, at once, condemning a proud European nation to permanent indignity. What is even worse: In this manner, before long the Germans turn against the Greeks, the Greeks against the Germans and, unsurprisingly, the European Ideal suffers catastrophic losses.

Germany, and in particular the hard-working German workers, have nothing to fear from a SYRIZA victory. The opposite holds. Our task is not to confront our partners. It is not to secure larger loans or, equivalently, the right to higher deficits.

Our target is, rather, the country’s stabilization, balanced budgets and, of course, the end of the grand squeeze of the weaker Greek taxpayers in the context of a loan agreement that is simply unenforceable. We are committed to end ‘extend and pretend’ logic not against German citizens but with a view to the mutual advantages for all Europeans.

Dear readers, I understand that, behind your ‘demand’ that our government fulfils all of its ‘contractual obligations’ hides the fear that, if you let us Greeks [have] some breathing space, we shall return to our bad, old ways. I acknowledge this anxiety. However, let me say that it was not SYRIZA that incubated the kleptocracy which today pretends to strive for ‘reforms’, as long as these ‘reforms’ do not affect their ill-gotten privileges. We are ready and willing to introduce major reforms for which we are now seeking a mandate to implement from the Greek electorate, naturally in collaboration with our European partners.

Our task is to bring about a European New Deal within which our people can breathe, create and live in dignity.

A great opportunity for Europe is about to be born in Greece. An opportunity Europe can ill afford to miss.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Breathtaking hypocrisy: Germany owes Greece 11 billion euros in unpaid loans – Pride’s Purge

Mr Tsipras says Frau Merkel's Germany is behaving like a 'Fourth Reich', trying to use its debts to rule Greece. But will he be able to defeat Germany's powers of financial coercion?

Mr Tsipras says Frau Merkel’s Germany is behaving like a ‘Fourth Reich’, trying to use its debts to rule Greece. But will he be able to defeat Germany’s powers of financial coercion?

UPDATE July 6, 2015: Greece has decisively rejected austerity, after a referendum in which voters refused the terms of an international bailout.

“In 1943, Germany forced the Bank of Greece to lend it two loans worth 11 billion euros in today’s money. And Germany has still not paid back the debt,” writes Tom Pride.

“Which – considering the Germans have been bleating on and on and bloody on about how the Greeks should honour their present debts – is a case of breathtaking hypocrisy writ large, I’d say.”

He’s got a very good point – look at this report (from the Torygraph) of German sabre-rattling against the new Greek government, which is determined to reverse austerity measures imposed on the country and to renegotiate (read ‘cancel’) its debts:

“Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, said Greece is legally bound by its agreements. ‘There are rules, there are agreements. New elections change nothing,’ he said.”

So the will of a country’s people counts for “nothing” then?

It seems the German government has just put its foot in its massive ministerial mouth.

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