Some very preliminary observations on the Greek election
Here are some scattered and very preliminary observations on what looks, from exit polls, will be a very convincing victory by Syriza (which may or may not fall just short of an absolute majority).
Obviously, not all of this (or any of it) is universally applicable.
1. The centre-left vote turned out to be very susceptible to collapse when challenged from the left. Pasok has gone from largest party a few years ago to barely making it into parliament. From 44% in 2009 to 4.4% today. Syriza from non-existent to government. (UK Labour, beware. The Greens are coming to get you.)
2. Negative campaigning only works when it is reciprocated. If one side is left to predict doom and the other concentrates on its own message, the negative campaigner ends up sounding hysterical and the campaign feels like blackmail. (Again, lessons for UK.)
3. We need to stop fooling ourselves as to the number of bigots who exist in our societies. We made so many excuses for Golden Dawn voters: “They don’t fully understand. They’re just frightened. They’re voting out of protest. The dog ate their homework.” Many of Golden Dawn’s MPs are now in jail, charged with violent crimes. Raids on their homes uncovered swastika flags and nazi memorabilia. You’d have to have lived at the bottom of the sea to not know this. People voted for them in similar numbers as last election.
4. There are limits to the Shock Doctrine. YA GOTTA LEAVE THE PLEBS WITH A LITTLE SOMETHING TO LOSE. Otherwise you lose.
5. The EU is not The Troika. The EU is not Angela Merkel. If either Troika or Merkel act as if they speak for all member states, others will start to worry. While it is fair for membership of the Eurozone to come with rules, they have to be rules as to result, not method. You can demand a balanced budget. You cannot demand low taxation and private health. That bit is up to each country, not Angela.
6. There is only one prospect more terrifying to the global hegemony than Syriza failing. And that is Syriza succeeding. It is time for the European left to unite and lend its support to Greece. With elections coming in several EU states in the next year, this can have a very dramatic effect on how Greece is treated now. “First they came for the Greeks and I said nothing…” sort of thing.
7. It is possible to be pro-EU and still want to punch its current monetarist policies in the face. The EU as a project is very worthwhile. It has been captured by the very same interests that have captured national governments. The level at which the IMF dictates policy is irrelevant as to the democratic deficit. One might even claim that fragmented state governments are even easier to bully. We need to fight for the Europe we want. The idea that what stands between each of us and a life of prosperity is a hypothetical Romanian cleaner is the most ludicrous one we have ever bought so wholesale. Reject it.
More tomorrow. Or later. Or both.