It isn’t often that I feel the need to stick my head above the parapet and blog about politics but the crisis in Greece just goes from bad to worse and I have an almighty urge to knock heads together.

We all know that if an individual has a credit card then they are given a maximum sum which they can spend on it. So why did the countries who have loaned money to Greece not have something similar in place. The lenders have a duty to only lend what can be paid back, if they ignore that then as far as I’m concerned the lenders are more at fault than the borrowers are. Anyone who is owed money from Greece should just write off the debts and learn from their mistakes.

Apparently the UK is owed around £1 billion from Greece but for the Germans the sum is closer to 40 billion Euros. I haven’t been following the minutiae of the subject but I have heard that the Germans loaned the money to the Greeks so long as the Greeks spent a large part of the money on buying German goods, mainly armaments, which is something that I’m sure the Greeks didn’t plan on spending any money on.

This is a strategy which goes on in Third World countries with the so called overseas aid money from First World countries coming with long strings attached to boost the manufacturing in those countries.

This evening on the news I heard that the Dutch prime minister was the latest leader to wag a finger at the Greeks and tell them that they must abide by the rules of the European Community. What a laugh. I happen to know that the Dutch governments have been cocking a snook at European rules for years and years. They still have tax relief on mortgages there, something which they should have stopped when the UK did some 20 years ago when the EU told us to stop it. The UK government is always very quick to obey any rules whilst other governments just say – our people will not stand for that – and ignore the rules which don’t suit them.

At the beginning of the German bullying of Greece I said that as far as I was concerned it was come-uppance time for the Germans, a bit of pay back for what they did to Greece during World War 2, and I still feel that way. The Germans have completely forgotten that at the end of the war their debts were written off and more than that – they had money thrown at them so that there would not be a repeat of hostilities within 20 years – as there was after the First World War.

Meanwhile the UK was debt ridden and in fact it was only a few years ago that we paid the last instalment of our debt to the Americans. Angela Merkel was brought up in East Germany so she almost certainly doesn’t know that the difference between 1970s Germany and 1970s Britain were vast. I was in Germany in the 1970s and I was astonished by the country. Compared with Britain it was so wealthy looking and the standard of living was way beyond that in the UK. In 1970s Britain there were still bomb sites which still hadn’t been re-built on. Areas of housing in Germany which were thought of as being poor were in fact of a far higher standard of anything in the UK. That’s what happens when a country is given a blank cheque to re-build.

As everyone has been saying that the financial meltdown of 2008 will have to be paid for by generations to come – I see nothing wrong with expecting the post Nazi German generations to write off the Greek debt – as war reparations, a fine for what they did to the Greeks during World War 2.

Apart from anything else, have you had a look at the map of that area of the world. Syrian refugees are making their way there to get away from the mayhem in Syria. How easy it will be for the real bad guys, ISIS or whatever the hell they call themselves – just another kind of fascist if you ask me, to follow them to Greece when they want to, if we don’t get on top of it. And of course, Greece has loads of tanks and armaments which nobody wants to fall into the hands of nutters who will turn them against Europe.

We can’t afford to let Greece fail as a state, we stand together or we’ll fall together.

And another thing … I heard somewhere that Greece has actually already paid off the amount of money which they have borrowed, the money they still owe is actually all interest. If that’s true then shame on anyone for hounding them for more payments.

8 thoughts on “Greece

  1. I don’t like the exponential growth of the entitlement mentality – a combination of “If I want it, and you have it, I should be able to have it too!” followed all too closely by “If you’re dumb enough to loan me the money to buy it, you’re too stupid to deserve to be paid back”.

    If you dance, the piper must be paid. Shouldn’t the burden be on the dancer?

    Of course, I’m hampered by my upbringing – that pesky Protestant work ethic. The whole situation makes my blood boil.

    • Pearl,
      I had a Scottish Presbyterian upbringing, much the strictest variety probably. But I believe that there are people who have to be saved from themselves – the ones who feel entitled – and so it’s up to the lenders to use their brains and not lend, to save the spendthrifts from themselves.

  2. Aye, but if you refuse to lend, then you are a cruel heartless banker. It’s a no win situation for the lenders.

    I don’t see why it’s anyone’s responsibility to save those who aren’t interested in saving themselves.The whole ideal of a United States of Europe seems a fool’s errand to me.

    The only reason for extending any further hand to the ones who just bit you is to save the rest. Greece is Europe’s drunk uncle.

    The whole ideal of a United States of Europe seems folly to me.

    • Pearl,
      I think the idea is that a European Union will make it less likely that war will ever break out again. I’m not sure if it’s very much different from a USA which is like a group of small countries with different laws, and every now and again you hear of a US state being on the verge of bankruptcy.
      I think lenders have been irresponsible, no doubt because they were rubbing their hands at the thought of interest payments, but if they had had any sense they would have realised that the level of debt was going to be unmanageable.

      • That’s just it – the EU is nothing like the US.
        The US has a central government. Yes, there are 50 states that each have a state government, with its own laws, taxes and expenses. But there is a central, Federal government that has overarching power. Federal law trumps state.
        And those states have always been states – a jurisdictional part of a cohesive nation. The only time there was any drift was in the lead-up to the Civil War – which was partially started over states’ rights. But even then, it was two similarly cohesive group of states banding together. That war was over ideologies, not borders. And when it was over, the union rejoined.
        The EU is a loosely affiliated group of nations that have always been fiercely independent. Greece is in it for Greece. It could not care less about the EU, or the rest of the world for that matter. It wants to go merrily along its profligate way and let the rest of the “family” pick up the tab for its excesses. “…other peoples’ money” indeed!

        • Pearl,
          However, the people in Greece have no jobs or if they have jobs – no pay. In those circumstances there’s no chance of any sort of recovery. The conditions imposed on previous bailouts made them even poorer. They’ve paid back the original money, now it’s all going to interest racked up on it, borrowing money to pay interest – crazy. I believe that individuals under those circumstances have the interest frozen.
          The US may seem united to you but I know a fair few Yanks who don’t feel that way and say they have nothing in common with people in the South or North and really don’t like the ‘other lot’.

          • I wasn’t implying a grand national kumbaya here (although that can arise from time to time.). I was talking politics and economics. With the singular exception of the Civil War, these 50 individual states have managed to successfully function as a unit without taking up arms against each other in our (admittedly brief) history. Europe can’t make that claim…there’s just too many years – centuries in some cases -of enmity within and between to overcome. That’s the difference I was pointing to. There’s also a mobility within the US that doesn’t exist in the EU. There aren’t the kinds of language and cultural challenges to overcome here as you move between states for personal and economic advancement.

            And you will have “not caring for the other lot” anywhere you deal with humans. Even in a wee country like Scotland, there are those kinds of regional bias. When you look at the massive size of my country and sheer numbers and the melting pot of peoples and cultures that make it up, it’s to be expected that some folks will feel like your “Yank” friends. I just don’t see it like they do – I’m the kind of person who embraces and celebrates differences. And there are a lot more people like me here.

            As for not expecting to pay interest on a loan – well, I just can’t get my head around that.

          • Pearl,
            I think that when you get down to it we’re all tribal to an extent or maybe I should say clannish, but like you I’ve always found different people more interesting. Mind you I read recently that Spanish will be the majority language in the US within the next 20 years or so.
            You might be interested in reading this article in the Guardian today about what some Germans think about the way their government is treating the Greeks.

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