The Greeks stood firm amid the onslaught of threats, lies and bullying from Brussels and Germany, and delivered the NO vote Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hoped for.
There is a proud tradition of rejecting tyranny in Greece — from Leonidas and his 300 Spartans to 1940, when the Greeks stood firm in response to Benito Mussolini’s demand to allow Axis troops to occupy their ports – they replied with a single word: ‘OXI’ – ‘No!’
Now the Greeks have once again looked back at their proud history and resisted the tyrannical impositions of the EU — something all Eurosceptics can be heartened by — and they have said ‘OXI’ once again.
The Greek people are sick of being treated as a sacrificial offering to keep the euro alive. The eurozone is clearly now an ultimately doomed political project. Greece should have been allowed to default on its debts 5 years ago, but the EU wanted to keep them in the euro come what may to support a disintegrating European banking system.
The simple fact of the matter is the majority of EU leaders did not recognise what the referendum meant to the majority of Greeks. It was not, as many of them suggested, a vote for or against the euro, but rather a vote against the status quo of strictly enforced austerity with no end in sight.
With pensioners crying outside ATMs because they cannot access their money, threats of food and medicine shortages and dire poverty, the Greeks have had enough.
Without debt relief the Greek people realised they would be stuck in an endless cycle of cuts and greater debt. EU leaders actually aided the NO vote by intervening — repulsing ordinary Greeks with their blatant efforts at scaremongering to get them to vote against their own interests.
Several EU leaders, including the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, both of whom desperately wanted the YES vote to triumph, intervened blatantly. They believed it would spell the end of the recently elected radical left party Syriza and Alexis Tsipras, heralding the arrival of a potentially more pliant leader.
Following the announcement of the referendum on Sunday last, then refusing to negotiate, the IMF and ECB took the decision to withhold funds for Greek banks. In doing so, the EU leaders revealed they were prepared to do more than just verbally accost the Greek people.
The last round of negotiations stuck on only a €2 billion difference between the Greek and EU offers. This demonstrates deliberate attempts to weaken Greece to the point its government would be forced to accept any deal — even if it meant destroying a nation.
That €2 billion was small change for the EU, and would have been a simple concession. Yet for the Greeks the extra €2 billion would have made a huge difference if it had had to come out of their already squeezed pensions.
Amidst the wall of threats and scaremongering put out to intimidate them, the Greek people have clearly refused the status quo. Some EU leaders may dismiss Syriza, or the populist rhetoric which is being used by them.
However, what remains clear is how the EU means different things to different nations. Here lies the difference in economic practicality and identity. In light of recent events, neither seems to be particularly appealing.
The Germans have enjoyed the benefit of the euro, becoming the EU’s economic powerhouse. Greece on the other hand has succumbed through a combination of attractive cheap euro credit, enabled by opportunistic greedy German banks, and a cultural move away from their past dictatorships.
Eurosceptics have been highlighting these internal contradictions for years, and soon the EU leaders will reap what they sow.
At this pace, the advancing EU federalist dream is falling apart at the seams, German ministers are becoming increasingly fed up, and EU commissioners are astonishingly calling for even more integration.
The Greeks are right to object to the Troika’s attempts to control their lives. And Tsipras was right when he said on Sunday night: “Many can ignore the will of the government; no one can ignore the will of the nation.”
The Great British Public have been treated to a spectacle of the EU at its worst. The EU has clearly not recognised democracy from the birthplace of democracy.
David Cameron may promise meaningful reform, but it’s worth noting at this crucial time, Cameron was not invited to the key discussions between Merkel and Hollande, nor will he be present at the emergency eurogroup talks.
This seriously questions Cameron’s ability to deliver substantial EU reform for Britain, especially when one considers the way that EU ministers have determined over the last week that their federalist ideals are far more important than any member state.
We in Britain will soon be facing our In/Out referendum. Let the Greeks inspire us to fight to Get Britain Out of the tyrannical EU.
This article was cross-posted for the Commentator.