This is not a political statement. A lot of friends and business associates are calling me these days and I thought I should put together the kind of reassuring statement our government is not. From a communications point of view the country is in chaos. Nobody is controlling the agenda and -though improved – Greeks are still passionate political beings. Social media doesn’t help.
There are two, equally ridiculous, conflicting conspiracy theories. One is that SYRIZA is a pawn of Putin. They are expecting the Russians or the Chinese to bail us out. The far right is also on their payroll. It is a plan to ruin Europe. Funnily enough that is the target of the Americans too! In the other conspiracy theory, the previous government was ordered to step down by the US and the new one is secretly working with the Americans now….in order to ruin Europe!
All this would simply be foder for the Facebook village idiot to rant about were it not for the fact that the new government is indeed the perfect tool for anyone wanting to control the Euro. The unflappable Merkel has overseen six bail outs so far quite successfully. She is treating us like a patient wise old aunt, waiting until we run out of money before she gets involved. Greece however is the country in her EuroFamily that produces such extreme stock market reactions. Greece is the “heart”of Europe, it is a symbol. It seems to swing out of the spotlight and then back in again. One crazy statement from Greece (with the appropriate amount of international media attention) and currencies around the world bounce up or down.
Our politicians don’t help. The current government is naive, disorganised and bold. That is a dangerous combination. Our finance minister, much like our prime minister, seems to show a blatant disregard for most institutions. This isn’t just about bright shirts or the lack of ties. The new government is walking an equally erratic line within its borders when attacking the church or taking back promises it made to civil servants. Alexis Tsipras could say “we will dig a trench and float off into the Mediterranean until we get to Cuba”and nobody would bat an eyelid. We all know he will change his mind the next day.
So don’t worry about Greece. It is best to treat us like the village idiot. With patience, humour and the persistence we need. All hopes of a miracle solution, whether inside the country or internationally, are simply confusing matters. This country needs to work hard for many years to become competitive in the global economy. There are many of us who understand this, unfortunately none of them make it to government. In the meantime, Greeks will do what Greeks do best since ancient times: from Persians to Philip of Macedonia, the first world war or Byzantium, we are always making conspiracy theories about how “foreign powers”are trying to destroy us…