21 february 2015, le demos nouveaux et arrivé !

Greece has folded this hand, but the poker game continues into next week, the summer and beyond. Behind the "who stands to lose more" gamble though, the bigger prize of democracy looks like it is being utterly eroded. Long after matters are somehow settled and greece gets enough help from its european partners to avoid collapse, the inability of its electorate to change anything, despite an overwhelming desire to do so, will be the salient outcome of this crisis. The basis of the last weeks' drama turns on the age old dilemma of a creditor insisting a debtor stick to the deal it made to get money in the first place. Whilst some blame and risk for making the loan rests with those that made it, the most part rests with an inept, unbalanced and corrupt economy that chose to lock itself into a bigger one and then needed the loan. Unlike the irish, portuguese and spanish, which were essentially problems of liquidity, greece was insolvent. There was no way around the many years of fat leading now to many of lean. An alternative eurozone strategy of keynesian stimulus would have helped greece, but at a price, given its governance, of avoiding necessary economic restructuring and, more potently, with no way of stopping the floodgates of equal treatment opening to portugal, spain, italy, france et al, which very quickly moves from an affordable stimulus, germany's great, and justifiable, fear. Where though does that leave the greek, and by implication other eu, electorates. Actually in the same place as most electorates: in the thrall of the majority. Just like the strong anti-austerity of scotland's electorate cannot at all change the policy of the overall uk government, which is supported by a majority of its parliament, so the electors of the greek corner of europe cannot change the contrary policy espoused by the european majority. It is rather vicious to see unfold, and not at all understood, but the great european democratic deficit question of our age is actually being answered before our eyes. Here is the european demos, laid bare, fittingly enough, by the greeks.