Democratising the Eurozone

Democratising the Eurozone

Yanis Varoufakis is currently playing to packed houses during his European Tour [aka lap of honour] and is frequently honoured with standing ovations.

His appearance in Coimbra [Portugal] was no exception.

It seems that Yanis Varoufakis is more relaxed [and expansive] in a university lecture hall – especially where his audience knows what its like to receive a visit [or two] from the Troika.

The highlights of his lecture are too numerous to mention but the main thread of this talk focused upon how European nations have consigned there national sovereignty to an anti-democratic black hole centred in Brussels that is slowly [but surely] eradicating European democracy.

During the lecture Yanis Varoufakis provides many anecdotes and plenty of insights.

He addressed many questions like:

Why is it that politicians are so inferior when compared to the politicians of yesteryear?

Sadly he concluded:

All you need to be a good politician these days is the ability to repeat the mantra.

In the Q&A session following the lecture Yanis Varoufakis quantifies the price of democracy:

1.5 million Euros for the Greek referendum.

Portugal is an amazing country that knows all about European trade deficits, European budgetary deficits, European social deficits and European population deficits.


Sadly, it seems Portugal might also be experiencing another European democracy deficit.

Antonio Costa, Portugal’s Socialist leader and son of a Goan poet, has refused to go along with further pay cuts for public workers, or to submit tamely to a Right-wing coalition under the thumb of the now-departed EU-IMF ‘Troika’.

Against all assumptions, he has suspended his party’s historic feud with Portugal’s Communists and combined in a triple alliance with the Left Bloc.

The trio have demanded the right to govern the country, and together they have an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament.

Mr Costa’s hard-Left allies both favour a return to the escudo.

Each concluded that Greece’s tortured acrobatics under Alexis Tspiras show beyond doubt that it is impossible to run a sovereign economic policy within the constraints of the single currency.

Defiant Portugal shatters the eurozone’s political complacency
Brussels faces a second anti-austerity revolt as the Portuguese Left tears up the script and demands the right to govern
The Telegraph – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard – 21 Oct 2015

The Portuguese president has invited incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho to form the next government, despite him having lost his majority.

BBC – 22 Oct 2015

So here again, just like in Brazil and Turkey, we’re set to see political turmoil take center stage, and the EU will be forced to stand by and hope that Portugal remains “in the fold” so to speak when it comes to austerity and the outward appearance of fiscal rectitude.

In “Manifest Waste Of Time,”
Portugal Reappoints PM In Defiance Of Anti-Euro Left Coalition – Tyler Durden – 22 Oct 2015

During the talk Yanis Varoufakis states Britain was a basket case in 1946.

The gory origins of the phrase basket case is another sad testament to the 20th century.

Maj Gen Ireland, Surgeon General of the army, said today there was no foundation for widely circulated and persistent reports of basket cases in army hospitals.

A basket case is a soldier who has lost both legs and both arms, and therefore cannot be carried on a stretcher.

“I have personally examined the records,” said Gen Ireland, “and am able to say there is not a single basket case either on this side of the water nor among the soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces.

Further, I wish to emphasize that there has been no instance of an American soldier so wounded during the whole period of the war.”

Boston Evening Globe -27 Mar 1919.

See: – Michael Quinion.

As for 1946…

There aren’t all that many laughs in 1946, and such as there are tend to be dark black.

A 1946 study by British psychologists discovered that those freed from forced labour in the camps still seemed a bit grumpy about the state of the world.

They were suffering, apparently, from ‘Liberation Complex’.

Greece was a basket case.

Iran and Turkey were Cold War crucibles.

China was in the grip of a power struggle between Mao Zedong and, if it were possible, the even less appealing Chiang Kai-Shek; not to mention starving after the retreating Japanese blew the dykes on the Yellow River and flooded three million acres of farmland.

In Japan, newspapers were running advice columns with headlines such as ‘Let’s catch grasshoppers’ and ‘How to eat acorns’.

And Germany was fucked: literally.

Sebestyen’s account of the way the Red Army raped its way across Eastern Germany is too grisly to rehearse here in detail, but detail there is.

How Hitler’s dreams came true in 1946
The Spectator – Sam Leith – 11 October 2014

With the end of the Second World War, a new world was born.

The peace agreements that brought the conflict to an end implemented decisions that not only shaped the second half of the twentieth century, but continue to affect our world today and impact on its future.

In 1946 the Cold War began, the state of Israel was conceived, the independence of India was all but confirmed and Chinese Communists gained a decisive upper hand in their fight for power.

It was a pivotal year in modern history in which countries were reborn and created, national and ideological boundaries were redrawn and people across the globe began to rebuild their lives.

1946: The Making of the Modern World Paperback – 2014 – Victor Sebestyen

But nobody asked him whether he thinks Britain is still a basket case.

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6 Responses to Democratising the Eurozone

  1. malagabay says:

    Yanis Varoufakis publishes a list of his speaking fees… and lack of them.

    Transparency is one of the pillars of the European democracy network that I, and many others, are working towards these days, and which my travels and talks are intended to promote.

    For this reason, I owe a debt of gratitude to the troika-led media in the sense that, through their vilification campaign, have given me a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate in practice the principle of transparency that we want to bring to European politics.

    Our campaign for Transparency Everywhere! can thus begin now, in this post.

    Below the reader will find, in response to the reports regarding the fees, format and travel costs of my recent and future speeches an account of where I have been, whom have I addressed, complete with fees and travel costs.

    Transparency Everywhere! My fees and the troika’s latest vilification drive

  2. PeterMG says:

    I always like listening to Yanis Varoufakis as I find myself in agreement with him when he identifies the issues of Europe. However its with his solutions that I often deviate as they involve turning Europe into one country and that will never work, and will lead to war. He can’t have “democracy” in each country and expect there to be a separate banking Union and distribution of surpluses as if Europe was one country. The next move the EU makes (2018) will be to remove national parliaments from financial control of their own budgets.

    In terms of the particular issues of Greece he tends to gloss over how the country was fundamentally changed so that more than 50% of the population depended on the state for their jobs. This was not so a few decades back, which makes it even harder for Greece to reverse the damage done to it by the Euro. A talk on Red Ice Radio by the Golden Dawn representative in NY is very illuminating. This is a group if this chap is to be believed that want a return to self government and its own currency. Hasn’t the world, and Europe in particular been here before?

    • malagabay says:

      “I find myself in agreement with him when he identifies the issues of Europe. However its with his solutions that I often deviate”

      • PeterMG says:

        Tony Benn was another who could clearly and concisely identify the issues of the day but had a blind spot when it came to the solutions, often suggesting doubling down on that which I thought was causing the issues. This easy identification and articulation of the issues, is what’s makes these Politian’s / academics popular with ordinary people, but the reality is we need more people who are able to articulate the answer. They are around but none of them are Politian’s, and they are not always media friendly, not that anyone with an answer would be a friend of the MSM.

      • malagabay says:

        I not sure there is any “answer”.
        It seems like a recurrent theme in human history: a natural progression towards feudalism.
        Sometimes the “progress” its fast.. other times its slow.
        If the “progress” isn’t satisfactory then everything is shuffled around with some war and chaos.
        Then they look to make “progress” using whatever is left until Mother Nature decides otherwise.
        I am not so sure about the practicality of “gold”.
        Have you ever tried to buy a beer with a 500 Euro note 🙂

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