BREAKING: As Brussels signs off on the hands-tied Syriza reform plan, another anti-Troika Slogpost disappears….


A piece at The Slog went up shortly before midnight CET last night (visual above) with this headline:


It is now a Dead Parrot. Shame really, because it had quite a nice anecdote in it. Anyway, it has vapourised….and WordPress are back in the silo not saying “Howdy! How can we help?”

The Sun headline re its content was me saying (1) how beastly the Drizzleboom, SchNebel, Lafarge, Dragula axis of Mobsterism are and (2) how Varoufakis has confirmed their view that Greece is just a glorifed prostitute. Between them – and far be it from me to cast the first stone – probably 1 of those 5 folks or their camp followers decided The Slogpost was off-message.

And the other half of the news is that the eurogroup of finmins have signed their approval of the Troika-monitored Syriza programme – which is unachievable in this context, but let’s not get picky about it. Frankly, unless they were double-dog certain it was doomed to failure, the Enemy would never have agreed to it.

See you all again in four months, then. But in the meantime, here’s the extract of an opinion I expressed in one email to some Athenian friends yesterday. It sort of gives the gist of the place from which I am coming:

My point remains the same, which xxxxx addressed very well – but not completely: one life experience I had 24/7 in my face during over 30 years in corporate life was analysts, hedge funds, politicians and what one might politely call ‘negotiators’.

Had YV walked out Friday, can you explain exactly how Draghula and his fellow clowns would’ve handled the markets today? It would have been an unmitigated disaster for them, for the euro, and for the (now largely EU) creditors. By midday today [Monday] the cost of any Clubmed sovereign borrowing money would have trebled, and the demands upon the ECB would’ve strained it to the very limit.
Within half an hour of YV holding a press conference about the nature of what happened, Obama would’ve been on the phone blasting Schäuble’s ears off. Wall Street would be advising every multinational to remove all capital from the ezone immediately. And the French Left would’ve gone apeshit bananas at Moscovici…followed by Marine Le Pen.
Throughout the last 24 hours, by contrast, I have had half a dozen reliable contacts telling me that the Syriza alliance is in bad shape. And the enemy (because that’s what they are) have returned to their heavily defended bubbles – certain once more that all power comes from the barrel of a gun.
Perhaps Yanis took the right decision, maybe not. But he will have precisely the same inevitable ‘choice’ four months down the line. The restrictions demanded by the Fab Four dictate this – in the Teutonic sense of Diktat.
During the 1930s, avoiding the f**k you response to Hitler left us with 47 million dead to bury.’

And by the way, this post is being duly saved in lead-lined caskets, clouds, and dongles. So f**k you.

Earlier at The Slog: Iain Duncan Smith and the Way of Death

34 thoughts on “BREAKING: As Brussels signs off on the hands-tied Syriza reform plan, another anti-Troika Slogpost disappears….

  1. John:

    Your essay included the Churchill Hooker Story.

    YV flunked the test. As did the 1927 socialite. As did the character Allan Harper in an episode of the now-late American sitcom “Two-and-a-Half Men”. (By the way, Charlie Sheen delivered Churchill’s lines flawlessly. He’s still winning.)

    I reach back into recent Greek history, specifically 28 October 1940, to share this lesson: If you don’t say OXI! when it matters, you’ll say “NAI!” to anything.


  2. Conflicting rumours surround the Syriza reform programme approval process tonight, but whatever emerges from this farcical trading of angels on a pinhead, I’m increasingly concerned as details of the humiliation process programme ‘deal’ accepted by Yanis Varoufakis last Friday come to light. I don’t actually think the five-point italic hand-tying target codicils matter a damn to be honest, because they’re all unachievable anyway.

    Far more relevant is what EC behaviour has been found acceptable to the Greek Government.

    Did you know, for instance, that both the Gang of Four revisions, the Friday ambush, and the ELA threats/leaks to Greek banks were driven by Draghi?

    Did you know that – in a direct sideswipe at rehiring Ministerial cleaners – there is a blanket ban under the agreement on any more public sector hiring?

    Did you know that, just to rub in really hard that how they think the Greeks shit on their shoes, eurogroup told Varoufakis Friday that they were “handing over the judgement process to the organisation formally known as the Troika” – Draghi’s exact words. This was a direct hit on Syriza’s refusal to deal with the Troika. “Eurogroup will leave the details to this institution, who will present their view to eurogroup” he added.

    Varafoukakis told CNN this evening that it was eurogroup who wanted more time to think, not the Troika. That is very, very economical with the truth – and not how other Syriza officials see it. The Troika has made it clear to eurogroup there are things they don’t like. As Naked Capitalism reported yesterday, ‘The Greek government is required to submit a list of reforms to the Troika by the end of day Monday. If it is not approved, the Eurogroup will meet on Tuesday.’

    Guess what? Earlier this evening, Greek Channel NERIT announced that the eurogroup has asked Greece to submit a revised reforms list for its meeting Tuesday morning. The Guardian carries the same story.

    I’m sorry, but at the minute Yanis Varoufakis isn’t coming out of this very well. For now, I support him to the hilt: but he is either going to resist the EC/ECB/creditors Troika or he isn’t. I know perfectly well that there are many among Athehnian opinion-leaders who disagree with me about this. So perhaps – to illustrate the point – I might be allowed to relate an infamous Churchillian anecdote.

    In the mid 1920s, WSC found himself seated next to a lady of liberal leanings at supper. Glad to have this arch anti-Communist to herself, the socialite took him to task about strike breaking, dissembling newspaper articles about the working class, and several other genuinely unpleasant dimensions of Churchill’s curate’s egg of a personality.

    As ever when in the presence of what he regarded as uppity suffragettes, Winston was cutting and dismissive, telling the woman she should stick to worrying about her children and suitable marriages for her daughters – while remaining grateful for the fact that Britain had unwisely given her the vote.

    “Mr Churchill,” said the shocked supper companion, “If I were married to you, I would put poison in your wine”.

    “Madam,” Churchill lisped, “if I were married to you, I would drink it”.

    Think of this as the “Drop dead” period of Syriza/EU insult exchanging immediately following the election.

    Back in 1927, this not entirely auspicious exchange rapidly deteriorated, such that by the time pudding arrived, the lady concerned had reached the end of whatever short tether she possessed.

    “Mr Churchill,” she said loudly, “You are the last person in the world I would ever marry”.

    “Madam,” WSC responded, “A small part of marriage involves procreation in the bedroom. In order to show you what my real intentions are, under what circumstance would you consent to sleep with me?” The mortified woman hesitated, and then replied.

    “There is no amount of money on Earth that would so persuade me”.

    “Not even,” asked Winston, “£10 million?”. She laughed out loud.

    “Don’t be ridiculous, that’s more than the Poor Relief budget. No woman is worth that”.

    “Very well then,” said the future war leader, “Shall we say £500?”

    “That is an insult,” she responded, “what do you take me for – a common prostitute?”

    “Madam,” said Winston Churchill, “We have already established your profession. At this stage, we are merely haggling about the price”.

    Fast forward to 2015: that’s what has been going on since Friday afternoon between Syriza and the Troika.

    I don’t buy the “lose the battle, win the war” argument. While the Troika, Wall Street, US economic colonisation, EU fascism and banking sociopathy are indeed the enemy, this is a peace time exchange, not all-out war – yet. A strategic retreat is one thing: preparedness to cling to the driftwood of credibility is merely appeasement.

    I’m now informed – in the last twenty minutes by a well-placed Syriza source – that fully eight Greek Cabinet members are opposed to acceptance of the deal. For myself, I feel cheated and made to look stupid by the hidden facts and cynical spin that followed Friday’s little re-enactment of the 1938 Munich crisis. But my feelings don’t matter a jot: let The Slog’s Saturday post stand as a testament to rushed judgement. More to the point is the reality that an opportunity to call the Troika bluff has been blown.

    If Yanis Varoufakis wants to regain his dignity – and keep Syriza together – he needs to think very carefully about what Prime Minister Tsipras should be asked to accept tomorrow…and then sell to his Party. For what will it benefit a man if he buys time, yet sells his soul?


  3. I just feel so sad about all this. I live in Greece & everyone was so optimistic with the new government. They’d fallen in love with Tsipras & his rock star mate Varoufakis. I’ve spoken to several fellow British ex-pats here & we all agree that if we’d had the vote here, we’d have voted for them, just because they were (or appeared to be) not the usual “what’s in it for me?” politicos & really cared about the people.
    However, I can just agree with PJN above: “If you don’t say “oxi” (no) when it matters, you’ll say “nai” (yes) to anything. It’s Ok for us, because we can go back to the UK if we have to, but our Greek friends ……


  4. He (Yanis) should have told them to go take a hike. Must still believe that being run by the Troika with the Euro is preferable to being out of it. Well good luck with that ,let’s hope they are all happy together.


  5. Yanis has, sadly and predictably, proved to be just another politician. Talks well, looks good but is just another coward under that paper thin exterior. Like you John, I was very hopeful that Syriza could be the real deal and be the first to take it to the Troika, setting an example for others to follow. I’ll consider myself very naive for imagining that anyone in any position of political power would have any sort of moral compass. I should have known better.

    Still, now that he’s basically left the door open for Golden Dawn, they’ll be chasing him out of Greece, or better yet, throwing him in jail for desertion of duty within weeks of gaining power.


  6. At this point, YV and the Greek negotiating team need all the support they can get, and people united. And i state that whole-heartedly even though i never expected the Syriza would be able to implement all the things they promised.
    I fail to see why don’t you urge your fellow citizens and your govs in your countries (countries much more powerful) to stand up, instead of urging little Greece to save the day or commit suicide?


  7. Having taken the time to actually look at Yanis’ history it is immediately obvious that it was never, ever going to be a case of, “Had YV walked out Friday …..” While he is in his own words a ‘libertarian socialist’ raised on Marxism (and an ardent supporter of the IRA when he lived in Ireland) he is also an obsessive EUtarian. His only real beef with the Eurozone is that (as a good libertarian socialist would do) austerity is unnecessary and Keynesian type stimulation and investment would resolve all problems and if it doesn’t, well that just means there hasn’t been enought! Not surprising I suppose when he learned his economics at the University of Essex and the University of East Anglia with a top up at Cambridge.

    I think we have the same syndrome in Greece as we have in the UK, we have the LibLabCon, three parties that espouse different policies but somehow do the same thing, just different amounts of ingredients. In Greece Pasoc, ND, Syriza, et al do exactly same thing and while Tsipras may have threatened Grexit YV has always ruled it out as far as I can see, which makes Tsipras the biggest liar in politics


  8. I do see what you mean. It is easy to stand on the sidelines making bullets for other people to fire, as it were, when it is the Greeks who will take the consequences. It is just that, as a sovereign nation they elected a government which promised to stand up to the troika. If they now reject this government and put in Golden Dawn, it won’t just be economic warfare waged against them but overt occupation with boots on the ground. It would have been better to make a stand now.


  9. It all looks like a repeat performance of the naively optimistic “hope and change”, which has simply led to “more of the same”. Will the public ever wisen up?


  10. If I may be so bold.
    The Greek government needs to rein in the Greek oligarchs and at the same time start generating tax money from them that would otherwise be not paid. To do that it needs the support of the Eurozone, without the Eurozone defeating the Greek oligarchy would be impossible.

    Perhaps it’s a case of divide and conquer, you help us with the tax avoiding Greeks and we’ll stay in the Euro. Once the oligarchy has been dealt with so can the Eurozone, from a much stronger negotiating position.

    Just my 2 cents.


  11. Putin has had a well documented fight to wrest control from the Russian oligarchy and 5th columnists, and has largely succeeded. I’m sure the Russians have been providing strategic insights to the Greeks.


  12. Of course, as well all know, the whole world is a stage.

    One interesting scenario might be that the whole “capitulation and in-fighting” shenanigans might be cover for a last minute u-u-turn and an excuse to go back to the Greek electorate to seek a different mandate, as other people have pointed out.

    We live in interesting times, still.


  13. Hazel, you got a point on GD. I hope we will not come to that. The majority of the Greek people do not support far right. And what i sense locally is that the percentage that GD got in Jan elections is their upper limit. What i also sense locally is that the majority of Syriza voters (especially the young) are angry with the local oligarchs and the corruption, more than they are angry with Germans. And that’s where Syriza risks to go down – if they fail to change that and reestablish the rule of law. In any case, i expect new political movements to be born over here in the next 2 years – we are (painfully) coming to the end of the traditional LIbLabCon, as described by another commentator.
    Regarding EU, what i see is that no matter what happens to Greece, we will experience major events in the next two years, from bigger countries. Greece could be the spark but i hope we don’t end like the canary-in-a-coalmine.
    Also, for those who mention 1940 and the Greek “NO”: we were united back then (something we miss at this very moment). We had leaders who had planned in advance (since 1936). And we had allies back then…


  14. The Euro continues to weaken against Sterling (£1= e !.36) and Sterling has lost 5 cents against its brief rally against the US$. This is market confirmation that ‘Grexit’ is coming, and that is before you read Zero Hedge, and the squabbles within Syriza!


  15. Perhaps Varoufakis is keeping the gunpowder dry? The facts will not change in the meantime. Greece owes €320 billion and the EFSF (ordinary european taxpayers) are owed €150 billion. These numbers will not change in the meantime. I hope that Varoufakis is keeping his powder dry for the next confrontation. If Greece decides to pull the pin €150 billion at least has to be realised by European taxpayers with Germany on the hook for €42 billion. None of this is over, not even by a long shot


  16. Deferral maybe.

    Their system based on expansion has ended and they who rule us cannot allow the contraction to ever begin.

    It will happen one day though but until that day comes it is now Greece trapped who must run the most horrendous economic path.

    Bad bank? Think bad nation where all bad debt will be put because a bad bank is not BIG enough = Greece.

    Greece will be made to default in the end though by economic pain or offloaded debt = that cancels the debt by the way.

    Amazing the EZ fiat monetary system that can burn out a value like Greece to then create a trillion euros if it so chooses!

    Can you see the shit in that?


  17. Great post and comments. YV said he was a “Europeanist” (I guess that, as opposed to being a nationalist, he is a continenaltist?). I imagine that Tsipras would say the same thing about himself. I’m from the US and don’t really understand it, but to each his own. Nonetheless, as an advocate for Greece in negotiations they should have been nationalists first. A Grexit was the only negotiating weapon they had, but the lay down their arms before the battle.


  18. I don’t see a Grexit as suicide. When the crisis started, many economists gave their opinions as to what would be best for Greece. I would say that, outside Greece, they were about evenly divided as to whether Greece would be better off with an exit. So it must at least be a reasonable option to consider. There are no guarantees, but isn’t it better than humiliation at the hands of the b.s. artists formerly known as Troika? Also, the more powerful countries’ governments don’t really even care about their own people. I live in the US and the politicians are trying to take as much as they can from the poor and elderly and transfer it upwards. So I don’t think you can rely on the benevolence of the powerful countries.


  19. I must say that while we can heap our disappointment on Syriza for folding to the Institutions and Eurogroup, I must question the will or intent of the Greek voting population that gave Syriza a mandate to exit austerity but stay in the Euro. Maybe Syriza will now seek a clear mandate on the issues. I do doubt this and instead see a splintering of the Syriza group as the idealists demand the impossible and the pragmatists ensure their own well being.


  20. If he is a Marxist then he has to believe in the State doesn’t he? So even if Greece exits and becomes its own “man” it won’t change a thing. Same shit different flavour. Look at the UK – my homeland of Wales – ruled by London. If Wales devolved where would the dosh go? Cardiff! Same shit different shade of brown! How would my home region of north Wales fare? The real future is total devloution to tiny regions. Until then the “Grexit” drama is just that – may as well watch Eastenders. (not that I do since we lost the sat signal! Not that I ever did anyway!)


  21. Yes, they say there’s a geyser for every geezer.. But seriously, what we are witnessing is institutionalised bullying on an industrial scale. You can’t say “maybe” to a bully, “no” is the only word that works. No doubt YF was sorely intimidated by the implacable gang of four and their army of gangrenous gargoyles, Iceland wasn’t as trussed up, but this is, after all, a struggle for self determination. We will see how much value the Greek people, and others in due course, place on that concept.


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