The Greek Situation
The elections held last weekend in France and Greece tell us a lot where things are going. Where they’re going is not to a better place but to more chaos and turmoil. The French have kicled Nicolas Sarkozy out of office, and installed a Socialist President who will wind back on the austerity and aim for growth. The Greeks have not only hung their parliament, they have sent in extremist parties who promise to junk the deal made by the previous government.
What nobody is saying is how magically this growth is going to manifest for France and at the same time cut back on France’s deficits, let alone how the Greeks are even going to be able to form any kind of government to deal with the impending drying up of funds.
One sympathises with the ordinary Greek voter – sold down the river by their politicians years ago, they now have nobody to turn to but the extreme fringe. This is kind of how the Nazis got a foothold in the Weimar Republic back in 1933, 4 years out from the crash of 1929. Not that the Greeks are about to re-arm and invade the rest of Europe, but we can see the rise of the extreme parties in Greece as a kind of history repeating. This is how it goes.
In the short term, this is leading to talk of Greece leaving the Euro. The laughable thing is that polls in Greece reveal they don’t want to leave the Euro. So if we’re to get this straight, they don’t want to pay back money they owe, but they want to keep all the benefits from being part of the EU. I can really see that one working….not.
The Budget & The Libs
Wayne Swan brought down a predictably beige budget, claiming a $1.5b surplus. The basic gist of this year’s budget is that a lot of high income earners are going to have their perks cancelled. Tony Abbot predictably jumped up and called it ‘class war‘, which is inflammatory rhetoric, but I don’t know if Tony Abbott knows of any other kind. I don’t normally talk about the budget every year, but I thought it was worth mentioning that along with Joe Hockey’s notion of entitlement, it’s a bit rich of Tony Abbott to call this budget ‘class war’.
There’s a deeper problem with the conservatives even reaching for the term – as their American brethren do – because if there really is a class war, then it means there is a class system operating in our society. Forget the myth of an egalitarian Australia, if Tony Abbott is saying there is class war being waged by the ALP, then that sure as hell means there is a class system in Australia, and that the Liberal Party approves of this class system and would like it to continue undisturbed.
So, without being as inflammatory as Tony Abbott, is this really what he wants us to understand when he uses the term ‘class war’? That Tony Abbott thinks there is a class system in Australia and that it is a good thing and by logical corollary, egalitarianism is not something the Liberal Party support? I tell you, Occam’s razor says the simpler explanation is no, he’s just an idiot.