Leadership faced with scale of troika reforms opts to do nothing
One example of lack of cohesion and direction will suffice: in 2010 Dora Bakoyannis, who might have become Greece’s first woman prime minister if she had played her cards differently, was expelled from ND because she voted for austerity measures, when party leader Samaras was adamant that ND would oppose them.
Samaras was then forced by international pressure to sign up to austerity and the bailout.
Shortly before the June. election, Bakoyannis and the members of her new party, who had failed to win any seats in the May election, rejoined ND, which cynics saw as a move not only to boost ND’s numbers (which it successfully did), but to ensure Bakoyannis’s personal return to political power.
Samaras had by this stage announced he would seek to renegotiate the bailout, but after the election he stated unequivocally that this was not the right time to do so. With so many U-turns, the electorate cannot understand what is going on. In fact nothing is going on.
We have had elections in May – inconclusive. We have had elections in June – inconclusive. In fact, absolutely nothing has happened in the past four months to indicate any resolution of the crisis, or Greece’s relations with the European superpowers. It’s as if the party leaders have taken a firm decision to be indecisive.
The reason is obvious: the reforms demanded by the troikato bring Greece into line with the economies of greater Europe would require a complete dismantling of Greek society. There are so many vested interests in Greece (protected professions being just the tip of the iceberg), there is no way that society can be reformed without a collective lobotomy.
The fact that the crisis is deepening rather than getting better suggests the remark in 1919 by David Ben-Gurion (later Israeli leader) about the emerging Arab-Jewish conflict: “Not everybody sees that there’s no solution to it. There is no solution!”
The crisis in Greece, followed by those in Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy, has been a huge learning curve for Europe, especially the architects and policemen of the euro zone.
There has been a gradual shift from the insistence that Greece could under no circumstances leave the euro zone, to today’s position where many member states are not only saying that a “Grexit” is likely, but are even considering strategies for survival in the event of the euro itself collapsing.
The Finnish minister for Europe, Alexander Stubb, has said that we must not build another Berlin Wall, this time between north and south, but that is precisely what seems to be in the offing.