The Political Roundabout!
This is not my favourite topic to write about, although Takis and I have friends who we like to talk with about politics – often quite vigourously. However I feel like I must write something in this Greek/Australian blog and as in both Greece and Australia there has been something going on that has similarities, there has been a restructuring of the political scene that, funnily, has been a resumption of what was there before in both countries!
What goes round comes around again.
In Greece there has been yet another election and from what we hear from friends and family, folk are so weary about all the political shenanigans in that country they just did not bother to vote. And so, with a very poor turn out at the polling booths, in Greece the Syriza party is back again, with the same leader, Alexis Tsipras.
In Australia there has been a growing disillusionment of the leader of the present government, and more than that an almost air of unbelief about some of his declarations. And so, to pull the party back into the possibility of holding government there was a coup. (In Australia voting is compulsory and elections are very organized and expensive and don't happen as often as in Greece. But internal political coups are common!) The new leader of the country was once before leader of his party, when they were in opposition
Making Deals with the Devil
What I find strange, even weird is that Alexis, whose Syriza party is very left wing, is now declaring that he has a mandate to form government after an election when probably only 50% of the population voted. And while he has now got rid of some very extreme left wing members of his party he only makes goverment by joining with a right wing party. Can’t imagine where that will lead!
Will he be able to…?
Cut wage and pension costs again, but less than in previous five years (2% increase in workers' pension contributions, 2% increase in pensioners' national insurance contributions)?
Reform early retirement: Decide which categories will qualify for it (and revamp whole pension system before January)? Etc. etc.
And, in Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, though a true liberal at heart, has had to make deals with some very conservative members of the Liberal Party to maintain some of the ‘less than liberal’ stances constructed by the previous prime minister.
So, similarly, I can’t imagine where this will end up!
As one media analyst says, he is now having to defend many of the policies of the previous leader that he once criticized. And, as she suggests, any stop-gap schemes made to please the far right conservatives will surely come unstuck.
Meanwhile in the Media Confusion reigns
Oh dear, what will journalist do? All is no longer Black and White! The BBC and other outlets made much of the bravery of Alexis, challenging the EU. They could come up with wonderful headlines like ‘Greek Defiance’, ‘No end to Greek Drama,’ ‘Greece goes down the wire,’ 'Last chance summit,’ but suddenly they have to change focus, from full on praise for Alexis' (George and the Dragon style!) youthful vigour in defying international creditors, to a milder credit for ‘transforming’ the left wing parties to a ruling party. They now can't avoid needing to direct their journalistic fervor at that the crush of immigrants arriving on the shores of Europe, Greece included, and now they leave Alexis to make his own headlines.
In Australia too the media has been flummoxed too by the changes in government. ‘Malcolm Turnbull’s coup against Tony Abbott has “set off a civil war within News Corp”, is how Murdock media company’s popular columnist Andrew Bolt put it. The Murdock Press (owning 70% of all national papers) had been firm supporters of the ex Prime Minister – as had the shock jocks – now? What can they say? They’ve got the Liberal Party that they wanted running the country, but this guy as their leader? He sounds too liberal. (And definitely not black and white, perhaps he's grey?). Hard for them to rage against, and hard for them to support.
Hope Springs Eternal!
Lets hope Alexis means it when he says ‘The mandate we received can be summed up in one word: Work. Without selfishness. With a collective spirit.’
And I do hope that he does not return to the need ‘To restore Greek pride’. A dodgy concept at best!
And in Australia? We have a man who believes Australia should become a republic, that we should do more for global warming, and many other policies, but who has to find a way to accommodate the old timers in his new cabinet, and yet find ways to bring Australia into the 21C.