I do not have a vote in the upcoming election in Greece. While I spend a good amount of time on the wonderful island of Crete, I have to accept what Greek voters decide. No, I don’t. If I don’t like what they decide, I can get out and leave them to their misery because that’s what it is and will continue to be indefinitely, unless...
The people are being squeezed but you do not drive the illness out of a dying patient by strangling him. True, once dead, the pain stops but it is a ‘drachstic’ remedy. The current Greek government has kow-towed to German diktat, believing there is no choice. There was no choice, but there is now, there must be now. Here in Crete tourists are as rare as crisp chips cooked in olive oil (another blog). Why should tourists come to Crete? It is no cheaper than Italy, Portugal or Spain (including the ever-sunny Canary Islands. For new visitors, the glaringly confusing language, with letters that are not even pronounced the same way most Europeans are used to causes amusement yet serves as a reminder of the thousands of years of democracy.
Why should tourists not just go to Turkey? The language is equally confusing, but because they are not in the euro, holidaying there is quite cheap whereas Crete (and Greece as a whole) cannot compete. Greece needs to leave the euro.
Do the Greek people have the stomach for a fight? Perhaps not, because nobody functions well on an empty stomach. Yet the Trojan horse of the euro and German governance is already amongst them and if they don’t fight today, they will have to fight tomorrow…unless this time around they are content to accept German rule and privations.
Antonis Samaras of New Democracy, the current Prime Minister, is an honourable man and this is his Achilles Heel. When he imposed austerity, he had little choice and it has done its job. Greece, many commentators say, could successfully leave the euro now and in a relatively short time the new drachma would see them flourishing again. However, Samaras gave his word to the troika that he would see it through and he cannot honourably change course. Yet he has brought competent, though painful government, to Greece when it was badly needed. What would Syriza, the ultra-left alternative, bring? Many of my Cretan friends answer ‘chaos’ yet still they will vote for Syriza.
My hope would be that Syriza and New Democracy achieve similar amounts of votes each and are forced into a coalition where Samaras continues as a competent and trustworthy PM but able to say, ‘Oh dear…terribly sorry, Deutschland but uber alles, above all, my coalition partners insist...’