Get­ting ever closer to the edge

E DII TO RII A L

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

When Alexis Tsipras set his foot in Cyprus on Mon­day he was greeted with open arms by the usual crowd of rent-a-mob pro­gres­sive sup­port­ers and other parochial diehards, all scream­ing their adu­la­tion for this ‘saviour’ of Greek pride and dig­nity.

Tsipras is Greece’s ver­sion of our own Demetris Christofias, but with far more charisma, an inspiring new-look pres­ence and greatly im­proved or­a­tory skills – a bit like Christofias on ‘speed’ and with a bet­ter tay­lor.

Of course, all the drama and na­tion­al­is­tic an­tiTroika, anti-EU dem­a­goguery we are wit­ness­ing will come to nought. Pride and dig­nity can­not be banked, they don’t pay bills or debts and they don’t put food on the ta­ble.

Reneg­ing on bailout agree­ments, which is clearly what the new Greek gov­ern­ment in­tends to do, judg­ing by its bel­liger­ent state­ments, could only lead to one out­come: state bank­ruptcy fol­lowed by a roller­coaster of im­me­di­ate exit from the Euro cur­rency, value of as­sets, bank de­posits and in­vest­ments slashed by some 50% overnight, cap­i­tal flight (if any is left).

Frozen out of money and cap­i­tal mar­kets, Greece could be treated as a pariah for years by for­eign cred­i­tors and in­vestors, mass un­em­ploy­ment far worse than it is now, with Greece’s debt po­si­tion far worse and prob­a­bly un­cor­rectable for many years.

Mean­while, the mis­chief-mak­ing op­po­si­tion par­ties in Cyprus want to fol­low suit as do many illinformed cit­i­zens.

It is all oh-so-easy while drunk on na­tion­al­is­tic pride and dig­nity and suf­fer­ing from delu­sions of grandeur to ig­nore the harsh re­al­i­ties of sovereign debt de­fault or to imag­ine that they have the power to brow­beat the Troika and the EU into agree­ing to a huge cut in Cyprus’s bailout debt.

The is­land’s op­po­si­tion MPs (gen­er­ously paid by tax­pay­ers) have been act­ing more like bol­shie 15-year olds who imag­ine that talk­ing big and tough in a school de­bat­ing so­ci­ety some­how means that the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter ( who holds the purse strings) is go­ing to cave in and give them all longer hol­i­days, a free i-Pad, a free trip to Dis­ney­land and so on. Pride and dig­nity have be­come the metham­phetamine of the ig­no­rant masses in Greece and Cyprus, cyn­i­cally fu­elled and ma­nip­u­lated by shame­less child-like pop­ulist politi­cians whose only pri­or­ity is re-elec­tion, no mat­ter how reck­less their ac­tions in achiev­ing it.

Be­ware the old say­ing: pride goes be­fore de­struc­tion, and a haughty spirit be­fore a fall. Greece’s new lead­ers and Cyprus’s op­po­si­tion par­ties have got pride and ar­ro­gance by the bucket-load.

Greece may well end up flush­ing it­self down the drain.

Is that a good rea­son for Cyprus to fol­low suit?

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