Getting ever closer to the edge
E DII TO RII A L
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?