Enda & Joan cheering on the schoolyard bully

Posted: July 5, 2015 in Eurozone, Fine Gael, Greece, Labour, Sinn Féin

The increasingly belligerent tone of Fine Gael and Labour towards the Greek people and their government is a timely reminder of the values underpinning the coalition.

Since taking office their approach to the crisis has been characterised by dishonesty and servility.

They have made a virtue out of breaking election promises while slavishly kow-towing to the political elites in Berlin, Brussels and Frankfurt.

The consequence has been to make ordinary people pay for the recklessness of others.

While Fianna Fáil caused the crash, Fine Gael and Labour have made ordinary people pay for it.

Now they have the audacity to tell us that our pain has not been in vain – the era of austerity is allegedly over.

While Fine Gael and Labour point to macro-economic indicators as evidence of a recovery, everywhere you look you can see the impact of austerity.

There is no recovery for the families made homeless by the rising tide of rents and bank repossessions.

There is no recovery for the hundreds of thousands left on the dole, the tens of thousands on slave wage scam bridge schemes or the growing number of people taking up insecure poorly paid jobs.

There is no recovery for the families whose loved ones are left waiting on trolleys in emergency departments or stuck on never ending waiting lists for vital surgery because of years of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour cuts.

There is no recovery for families bereaved from recession related suicide and supported by a voluntary sector starved of much needed funding.

This is the human face of Fine Gael and Labour’s two tier recovery – improvements for the few while the rest of us are left behind.

Not satisfied with punishing their own people to please their political masters in Berlin, Brussels and Frankfurt, Fine Gael and Labour are now lining up behind Angela Merkel and the EU/IMF austerians to punish the Greek people too.

Enda Kenny and Joan Burton have taken servility to a new level. Without any sign of compassion for the impact of their demands on the Greek people they enthusiastically cheer on the school yard bully as she demands ever more pain.

The hard line taken by Fine Gael and Labour against the Greek people and government is economically and socially bankrupt.

They economic absurdity of imposing further austerity while denying debt relief for Greece has been highlighted by a growing chorus of economists. According to leaked documents even Angela Merkel and the IMF seem to agree.

The social cost of more austerity in Greece means more pensioners forced to live in poverty, more young people out of work and more sick people denied access to basic medicines.

And worse still the actions of Fine Gael, Labour and their EU/IMF allies threatens to destabilise the Eurozone itself and to plunge us all into another period of currency crisis.

And for what? So that Enda Kenny and Joan Burton can gain an election campaign soundbite to attack Sinn Féin? Are they really that cynical? Are they really that callous?

There is a school of thought that believes catastrophe in Greece would hurt the electoral advance of those parties offering a real alternative to the failed policies of austerity.

I don’t agree. If Syriza manage to force the hand of the European Union and IMF to secure a better deal for their people they will be applauded by fair minded people across the EU.

But if they fail to secure such a deal, or worse still, if the economic crisis in Greece deepens how will fair minded people react? Will fair they blame Alexis Tsipras?

I don’t believe so. I think they will look on in horror, aghast at the lengths to which political elites in Berlin, Brussels and Frankfurt – cheered on by their supplicants in Dublin and elsewhere- will go to preserve their privilege.

The current Greek government has a mandate to end austerity. Contrary to the claims of the Fine Gael and Labour spokespersons no other member state government has a mandate to punish the people of Greece and threaten the stability of the Euro.

Alexis Tsipras has restored dignity to the people of Greece. His Government is standing up to the school yard bully and saying enough is enough. The austerity emperor has no clothes. Her medicine is killing the patient. Another course of action is urgently required.

There is something deeply troubling at the efforts of the EU to undermine a democratically elected Government. Using financial blackmail to force regime change is just as undemocratic as using the force of arms.

But the stakes are very high. Alexis Tsipras and his government are seeking to do something very rare – they are trying to keep their election promises and to improve the lives of those worst affected by the failures of their predecessors.

Just imagine if they succeed. People across the EU will start demanding that their politics leaders behave likewise. How will Enda Kenny and Joan Burton explain their dishonesty and servility then?

  1. John says:

    Why do Greece deserve debt relief? They’ve been living on credit for decades, the debt is from over spending, they haven’t been forced out to bail out the Greek version of Anglo bank.

    Their debt burden by capita is relatively low, and their percentage of GDP required to service the debt is one of the lowest in Europe. Their problem is rampant tax evasion, their tax collection as a percentage of GDP is also one of the lowest in Europe. It’s not that they can’t pay, it’s literally that they don’t want to.

    I don’t think it’s fair that the rest of Europe has to pay instead.

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