Saturday, February 18, 2012

Is it any wonder people are confused?

"What is so shockingly evident as you walk around Athens are the awful parallels between the war-time era and today. The soup kitchens, the beggars, the pensioners picking up discarded vegetables after street markets close, the homeless scavenging for food in bins … "

"There are so many similarities between these periods", says researcher Eleni Nikolaidou. "Of course, it was the Germans then, and once again the Germans are the dominant figures in our crisis now".

Greeks, we are then told by Mail writer Ian Birrell, "seem torn between outrage at their venal politicians, anxiety over the future and the fierce anger they direct at Germany for demanding tough measures as the price of a European Union bailout to allow their country to continue to function".

The imposition of the latest package of conditions by the German-dominated EU and International Monetary Fund, we are informed, provoked riots last weekend, while newspapers made ugly references to the Nazis, and politicians talked of living under a "German jackboot" as Europe's festering wounds burst open.

Shocked you are supposed to be, especially at the litany of hardships which the people of Greece are suffering. But, hang on a minute! Terrible though they might be, isn't this situation exactly what the Mail wanted (see above)?

"We earnestly hope EU leaders will find a solution that saves the euro from disorderly collapse", the paper said at the end of October last year. "Inevitably", it then noted, "we believe, this will mean re-writing the EU constitution yet again, to bring the countries of the Eurozone under a single economic government, with more uniform tax and spending policies — almost certainly to be dictated by Germany".

However, there is an alternative - for Greece to quit the euro. But that is precisely what The Mail doesn't want. It would sooner Greece remained in the euro, as indeed it is keen to see Britain remain in the EU. But then we are invited to decry the effects of the very policies that the paper endorses, while at the same time marking Germany down as the villain – the very country that wants Greece out of the euro.

Is it any wonder that people are confused?