We welcome a new year, 2016, in desperation.
Greece is facing two very significant challenges for 2016. Judging from the way 2015 went under the leadership of Mr Tsipras, the coming year does indeed look bleak. What follows is a quick overview of the position of the country and some thoughts (not very many) on what could be done.
Challenge 1: The Refugee Crisis
Greece has been on the receiving end of the majority of displaced people from the wars in the middle east, and a wave of immigration from deprived areas in the wider European periphery. This wave of humanity will not stop. What will stop is the willingness of states ‘upstream’ to receive them. Greece, due to its geographical position will remain the receiving nation, and will also become a bottleneck where thousands upon thousands are stuck. It is hopeless to expect Turkey to do anything to stem the flow. Even if they were willing (which they are not), there is technically no way to secure the entire Turkish coastline, especially when the other side is visible across the water.
What the government and the Greek people need to do is accept reality, these people will keep coming, and they will be stuck in Greece. Drowning them in increasing numbers, or abusing them as a disincentive cannot, will not work and is abhorrent as a policy. Do not kid yourselves, the policy (not declared of course) has been to drown people. Where it not, Frontex would be doing more rescuing and less ‘securing’.
The Greek government needs to accept that it cannot pass people along and think about how to make provision to house them permanently, or in any case for the foreseeable future. The Greek population needs to accept this.
The Greek population has spent the last 100 years decrying the Great Powers for letting Greek women and children drown when they were trying to flee Smyrne during the Kemalist slaughter. They are in no position to dismiss the horror in the Aegean.
And Greeks fleeing Turkey is not the only example of a mass exodus we have in our history. My family was evacuated to Corfu by the British during the civil war. Frontex would have let them drown. I would accept refugees to move to my hometown in Greece, and if you think I am saying that because I don’t live there full time, I would accept them to come live in Barnes in London and I would pay the council taxes to allow them to do so.
Challenge 2: The Economy
Syriza has not brought us reform, revolt, nor compliance. It has brought us stagnation.
Syriza did not take the step of Grexit, did not implement a radical alternate plan like many (now in LAE) were advocating. Had they done so, we could hope for something. I do not think that this was the right way to go, for reasons I have spent years explaining, but still, it would have been something to deal with, to look forward to, to attempt to make succeed.
Syriza did not take the step of cooperation with our European partners (our enemies as many in the government call them). Had they genuinely cooperated, we would have something to hope for. Yes, Germany does not propose a viable, correct programme for the majority of the population. Yes, there are many many things wrong with perpetual austerity and ordo-liberalism. It can work however, to a degree, for some sections of the population, for some time. Portugal, Ireland are examples of that.
Syriza has chosen the path of stagnation, of neither cooperation, nor resistance. What a disservice this is to the country.
What can be done about it? Ask Mr Tsipras. The plan is to lie, to pretend, to cheat the silly Europeans into dishing out more money. Phoney. Sad. Tsipras lied to his supporters, lied to the country, lies to Europe. Lies. Mr Tsipras and his band of liars need to leave, I can tell you that much. Who will replace them? I do not know. This will be your task for 2016 dear Greeks. To decide on the replacement before this flock of sheep is led for the last time to the slaughter.
Happy New Year