The Plastic Hippo

February 13, 2015


Filed under: History,Politics,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 3:05 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,


There are elements of Europe`s small but supremely powerful ruling elite that are of the opinion that by electing Syriza, the people of Greece have gone stark, raving bonkers. Universally described as “far-left” or “radical far-left”, the leader of Syriza has been given a new first name by almost all European media. Prior to being elected Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras was known as “Alexis Tsipras” but now in the spotlight of media ubiquity he is known by his new, full name; “Ex-Communist Alexis Tsipras”.

The Greeks are obviously flirting with this crazy fad called Democracy that is certain to result in tears before bedtime. After all, it was the Greeks who cooked up all this nonsense about representing the will of the citizenry and the preposterous notion that the populous should have a say in how a nation is run. Cameron didn`t like the election result and the Angela of the North Merkle maintained a disgruntled silence but it was an unnamed “official” at the IMF who allowed the mask to slip by saying “we do not let things like elections alter our policies”. At least we have moved on from 1967 when the likely election of Greek Communists prompted the CIA to organise a military coup d’état a few weeks before polling day which ended Greek democracy until 1974 when Turkey invaded Cyprus. These days, it`s nothing to do with nationalism but has everything to do with money.

What Greece has done is nothing short of lunacy according to Europe`s small but supremely powerful ruling elite. By electing representatives with the crazy opinion that austerity does not work, has never worked and will never work, the people of Greece have presented an understanding of economics that is beyond the comprehension of very rich people telling very poor people that austerity is a good thing. Austerity simply does not work. Slashing and burning social infrastructure reduces tax revenue, stagnates retail spending and deters investment. Devoting huge chunks of GNP to debt repayment and crippling interest charges stifles any hope of growth in an economy and causes a downward spiral into civil unrest and financial anarchy. Spare a thought for the Weimar Republic in 1933 and the consequences and then take a passing glance at the wisdom of quantitative easing.

The small but supremely powerful ruling elite controlling Europe constantly compare a nation`s economy to a household budget and take every opportunity to remind us that we should all live within our means. Fair enough, but me and the missus don`t have the troika of European finance ministers, the IMF and the European Central Bank telling us what we can and cannot buy in Tesco. When the small group of European finance ministers include George Osborne, a man who has heroically expanded the definition of complete and utter idiot, and the IMF who until comparatively recently was headed by the charming Dominique Strauss-Khan and executives at the ECB being as faceless and secretive as HSBC Swiss account holders, me and the missus have every right to buy as much frozen moussaka as we like.

Greece, however, has an advantage over the hippo household in the formidable shape of Yanis Varoufakis. Perhaps one of Europe`s most intelligent economists, he now finds himself in the new Greek government as finance minister. He might fit the stereotype of a Bond villain, but the bloke is talking complete common sense about debt, austerity and the dangerous rise of fascism. What he said in Paris and London caused share prices to rise but what he said in Berlin caused stocks to fall again. He had the same message, but German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble had other ideas and stopped the flow of money from German banks to Greek banks resulting in Greece coming close to default.

Wolfgang did not like the election result one little bit and claims that the Greek financial crisis has been brought about by Greek indolence, corruption and tax evasion. He offered to send 500 German tax collectors to Greece. Perhaps Herr Schauble should offer tax collectors to Switzerland or Wall Street or the City of London or the myriad of political parties screwing the life out of a variety of nations. Corruption and tax evasion are obviously all Greek to Europe`s small but supremely powerful ruling elite.

In 1953, the London Agreement on German External Debts effectively cancelled all German debts including First World War reparations and all the money stolen during the later unpleasant experiment with fascism. This cancellation led to the nascent West Germany investing in infrastructure and industry and resulted in economic growth and a re-unified Germany. One of the signatures on the London Agreement was Greece who wrote off the forced “loan” to the Nazis when under occupation. Merkle might be playing a blinder over Ukraine but she really needs to have a word with her finance minister. Deutschland is now the most powerful and influential nation in the European Union and you are going to have a pop at Putin, mean mouthing Tsipras looks a tad hypocritical.

Germany had its debts wiped; the United Kingdom, on the other hand, is still paying interest on debts from the First World War and will continue to pay forever and ever and continue to pay interest on debts accrued due to the South Sea Bubble fiasco of 1720. It`s good to know that in 2315 I will still be paying for that bottle of Ouzo I bought in Athens in 1976.

Clearly, the people of Greece have lost their marbles by electing a “radical left” government that actually understands the madness of austerity. In Spain, Podemos is miles ahead in the polls. Across Europe, people are taking to the streets to demonstrate against inequality. In the UK, the party of protest is a bunch of golf club bores pretending not to be fascist. I`m checking out properties on Corfu and trying to remember how much a Drachma is worth and looking at flight availability on May 8th.

The best thing the UK can do is to ignore political parties that claim austerity is working and, more importantly, pay our debts. The Elgin Marbles must be returned to their rightful home. For Europe`s small but supremely powerful ruling elite; that`s Elgin – on the banks of the River Lossie – in Moray – in a place called Scotland.

ψηφίστε για Syriza – voto para Podemos – vote – vote for a change. Austerity is an excuse for profit. Austerity is killing us.


  1. One of your best.

    After years of PFI style German-led investment, aided and abetted by the EU (Athens airport and the Olympic Games scandal spring to mind), German companies need to get their infrastructure money back.

    An EU debt adjustment will undoubtedly be agreed, but the German private sector will not let Merkel rest until they get their return. Varoufakis knows this, hence the shift from debt cancellation to rescheduling.

    The Schauble offer of tax collection ‘help’ is, to say the least, insensitive. He needs to be reminded that Greece comprises the logistical nightmare of over 2000 islands. It also has its own laws regarding official access to business premises, records and staff and a wonderful local grapevine.

    Above all, many Greeks remember the last attempt by Germany to collect tribute.

    The Realist

    ps some islands still use the drachma

    Comment by The Realist — February 13, 2015 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  2. Total gibberish. Uninformed & prejudiced nonsense.

    It’s clear what the Greek people want: to enjoy a high standard of living despite an low productivity economy and dodging their taxes, with the difference made good by loans which they then don’t repay.

    If the others members of the Eurozone are foolish enough to write off yet more Greek debt – in addition to the billions already lost – that’s up to them. If the author of the above idea thinks that’s good, perhaps he/she should lend them some of his/her money.

    This is not about democracy; voting for a Government which you hope will get you off a hook of your own making is nothing to be applauded.

    As for austerity, we’ve seen very little in the UK: the Government has carried on borrowing and spending. Unless you think we can also borrow billions and then simply refuse to repay it, continuing to spend money we haven’t got will eventually lead to far great problems as the interest and repayments take demand out of the economy and we run out of people prepared to lend as reasonable rates.

    Nobody – Greek, British or any other nationality – can expect to carry on spending more than they earn indefinitely and this sort of nonsense will lead to far worse problems for us all.

    Comment by ECW — February 13, 2015 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

  3. Has there been some disturbance in the crypt over the last 24 hours?

    Comment by BrownhillsBob — February 14, 2015 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

  4. ECW

    I will not bore you with basic economic theory, as I am talking gibberish, uninformed & prejudiced nonsense.

    Except to say that GB also spends more than it earns, so borrows. As do the Greeks, but at much higher rates.

    The reason can be found in German PFI infrastructure investment over the last 4 decades at crippling levels of pay-back.

    The Greeks now see it as German revenge. And they might be right.

    I lived and worked in Greece for some years, so might have some idea.

    Brownhills Bob

    You contribution was surprisingly brief. Or did I miss something? No news from WMBC must have been challenging, so my contribution last week to the Hippo’ s brilliant post must have been Mannah.

    It must have been a real struggle to separate such crucial matters as war in the Ukraine, chaos in Africa, anarchy in the middle East and meltdown in Europe.

    God bless. You still managed to comment on my contribution and ignore everythnig else.

    My suggestion is that you comment on the post, not on the poster.

    I see that your site goes from strength to strength.

    Look after it, it is a wonderful thing, albeit too much about lost dogs.

    Comment by The Realist — February 16, 2015 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

    • You were in Greece? How divine.

      Were you Sandy or Rizzo?

      Nobody does wistful, thespian-class ennui like you do, Realist. Thanks for the fine words – but if you really followed the blog, you’d know missing dogs were level pegging with missing cats, and since I run a community resource, it’s not for me to refuse its appeals on the basis of variety.

      We have reunited pets with owners, motorbikes with riders, cameras with photographers, wallets with the absent minded – even reunited separated family members.

      I’ve never tried to find anyone’s lost credibility before, but first time for everything.

      Best wishes

      Comment by BrownhillsBob — February 16, 2015 @ 10:21 pm | Reply

  5. Bob

    Please stop bullying and threatening. It simply will not work.

    It does your reputation no credit, diminishes the really good stuff on your main site and shows scant regard for the original Hippo topic

    You should know that by now.

    The Realist

    Always happy to talk face to face when it suits. But I wont put any money on it happening. Maybe the Hippo could facilitate?

    Comment by The Realist — February 17, 2015 @ 12:45 am | Reply

    • Bullying and threatening? Oh come now. Please indicate where I’ve done either. It amused me hugely that out of two possible targets, you assumed the crypt comment was about yourself.

      You always shatter under the gentlest scrutiny or humour. Sad, really. For one so critical of others, it’s a bit telling.

      Meet you face to face? Why on earth would I want to do that again?

      Best wishes

      Comment by BrownhillsBob — February 17, 2015 @ 12:51 am | Reply

  6. QED. Try reading your posts.

    Maybe you could offer a view

    Comment by The Realist — February 17, 2015 @ 6:40 pm | Reply

  7. QED

    Comment by The Realist — February 17, 2015 @ 10:18 pm | Reply

    • That’s Latin, not Greek. You mean ὅπερ ἔδει δεῖξαι, meaning ‘the precise thing it was required to have shown’

      Best wishes

      Comment by BrownhillsBob — February 17, 2015 @ 11:46 pm | Reply

  8. Bob

    Your research into Greek language is excellent.

    I assume tnat you have already absorbed ‘malaka’ into your vocabulary.

    At risk of yet more abuse and threats, please offer an opinion on the original topic.


    If unsure βακας might do. I think it might mean stupid. No doubt you will look it up and advise.

    Comment by The Realist — February 18, 2015 @ 2:14 am | Reply

  9. Bob

    Out of curiosity, what do you make of this extract from your own post?

    ‘I’ve never tried to find anyone’s lost credibility before, but first time for everything’.

    Would it not look like bullying to the poor sod riding on the Clapham Omnibus?


    Comment by The Realsit — February 18, 2015 @ 3:01 am | Reply

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