Revealed: Tsipras isn’t a mad Commie, and even Venizelos’s surname is a fraud
Greece is turning steadily to the Left – at all class levels. Partly from a feeling anong most people under 40 that the existing Establishment are a bunch of deadbeats (they’re not wrong, either) and partly because of the plain-speaking charm of Syriza’s leader, Alexis Tsipras (left, in every sense).
A leading centre-right Greek intellectual writes this to me:
‘In both [2012 Greek] elections I found myself incredibly impressed by him, and actually growing to like him….especially his (for me) rather charming voice, which is the exact opposite of an orator’s: naturally broken and rough…the charm being that this rather broken voice says intelligent things [in contrast to the other pols] in a measured way, at most rising to emphatic. He is naturally self-controlled & factual. He’s an engineer and that’s exactly what he sounds like, a conscientious engineer who does the research and opens it to the public. Ergo, a lot of people who were not attracted by Syriza 4 years ago, have come to trust him.
Further, his response to the crisis has been to invite in everyone to shape and find new policies. So the party’s positions have matured considerably, while he opens up Greece’s multiple options – for we DO have options – to public discussion and debate. He educates, even as he is being educated himself. In this ridiculous, terrible reality, this is powerfully attractive.
I did not vote Syriza, because of its blanket support for the unions. I support unions absolutely – but there are good unions and bad….and in our case the government-supported unions are a HUGE part of the problem. Now? I’d probably vote Syriza.’
The opinion polls (and their demographic breakdowns of support) add quantitative evidence to suggest that my correspondent is right. I am not a chap of the Stateist Left myself, but I think I’d rather vote for an Elgin Marble than, say, Evangelos Venizelos.
Talking of whom, did you know his name isn’t Venizelos at all? It’s true: Eleftherios Venizelos was, earlier in the last century, a sort of Hellenic Winston Churchill – the greatest statesman and hero of modern Greece. Evangelos Veryblobulous was born into a completely unrelated family with a different last name. He made the change while a student – by deed poll, supposedly as an act of ‘homage’, ha-ha-ha. The blob’s real family name is Turkoglou, so you can see pretty immediately one good reason for changing it to a name that isn’t Turkoglou. An anagram of Turkoglou is Loot K. Guru, by the way. Not many people know that.