Greek democracy

The Transitions movement is ‘apolitical’ in the sense that it has drawn support from right across the political spectrum.  (I doubt if there are very many ‘transitioners’ in the American ‘Tea Party’ but in Nebraska, conservative (ie. often Republican) farmers are united with climate change activists in opposing the proposed XL pipeline to bring tar sands oil from Canada to Texas – see here and search for Nebraska twice to see why the economics/politics are anything but simple).

But I wonder what conversations might be taking place in Cannes between the half-American Barack Obama (that well-known socialist, communist or pseudo-American according to some ‘Tea Party’ supporters) and the half-American social democrat (and HE WAS American born) George Papandreou?

It is unfortunate that George Papandreou (honoured by 14 countries, Spain twice, and numerous organisations) has fallen foul of the Greek economic crisis largely inherited from his predecessor’s centre-right government who were following precisely the policies of retrenchment now being advocated in Europe and protested in Spain, outside St. Paul’s and in Wall Street.  His decision to call a referendum was probably inevitable and maybe even astute (but no doubt the BBC will wheel out Nigel Lawson or somebody from the ‘independent think-tank’ Centre for Policy Studies (founded by Margaret Thatcher) to state otherwise).

Was Papandreou bullied by Sarkozy, Merkel and the bankers (as Obama has been compromised by Wall Street)?

Did it all begin in Greece?  Greece is celebrated as the home of democracy, civic society, science, mathematics, art and culture.  But in December 2008 riots were sparked in Greece by the police shooting (some would say murder, two police officers are serving life or long prison sentences) of a teenager.  These riots were undoubtedly also related to the economic and political situation in Greece and were followed by demonstrations (in sympathy) around the world – not least in Spain.  In May 2011 demonstrations by ‘The Real Democracy Now’ movement (‘los indignados’) began in Madrid and have spread throughout Spain and arguably throughout Europe and across the world.  These are sometimes said to be linked to the ‘Arab Spring’ movements which began in Tunisia in October 2010.  But it seems that ‘los indignados’ expect and hope that Greece will default – ie. not ‘refund’ the bankers.  Did it really all begin in Greece in 2008 or more than two thousand years ago?

George Papandreou is a notable and honourable democrat (and social democrat).  He helped formulate the policy for a new social Europe in 2006 and whilst this is a socialist agenda and Conservatives would not support their methods or routemap, few (even ‘liberal Conservatives’ like David Cameron) would want to dispute much of the key objectives it contains. (In fact, ‘Big Society’ Dave could almost have written many, though not all, of its 10 key objectives!)

Papandreou would almost certainly not be re-elected in Greece now but mainly because he is not ‘left-wing’ enough and the alternatives in a country, which has recently only been a democracy since 1974, scarcely bear thinking about in terms of quite probable bloodshed.
(Paradoxically I have added this post as an example of what perhaps we might NOT want here on the home page, but we should perhaps create a page for such elsewhere on the site – Trevor)

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