After a spate of bank runs, capital controls have been introduced, banks will be closed indefinitely
and cash transfers abroad have been limited — not the appropriate environment for deliberation
before a referendum. Greek voters will feel frightened, desperate and angry. This is a recipe for
Whatever the outcome, the result will most likely be deadlock. According to the Greek
government, a No vote will pressure the EU, ECB and IMF to compromise. I highly doubt it. Any
result will only bind the Greek government.
A Yes vote will be a major defeat for Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister. He will have to resign and
demand elections or a coalition government.
Which leads to the question: What were they thinking? Why did the Greek government choose a
path that clearly leads to a quagmire?
The simple answer is the fear of political cost. They behaved opportunistically and myopically in
order to satisfy their electoral base and protect their favourite vested interests.
However it is obvious that this move can have detrimental effects for the very people they try to
protect — and it can also lead to the downfall of the Syriza government. Can’t they see it?
It is difficult to tell. This is not a typical leftist party. It is a coalition of radicals, Maoists, former
Stalinists and populists.
Their gut feelings are anti-European and anti-western. They feel more at home with their
comrades in Caracas than in Brussels. They are thinking and deciding collectively, with a
psychology which is a mix of delusion and
Mr Tsipras is himself a product of this environment. He was raised and socialised in a climate of
antiquated dogmatism, with no access to the real world.
He learnt how to be a party apparatchik, nothing more. He managed bitterly to disillusion the few
of us who believed that he was capable of outgrowing his party, maturing enough to accept
political cost and behaving rationally.
His irrational decision to call for the referendum at the weekend was also the result of the short-
sightedness of the EU and the other creditors.
Greece’s European partners pushed him over the edge by behaving dismissively and by insisting on
a continuation of a failing austerity recipe with unreasonable tax hikes and unfair spending cuts.
This led to a knee-jerk reaction by the Greek people. The government is now trying to exploit the
A ‘take-it-or-leave it’ vote is a recipe for disaster for Greece - FT.com http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/823557f4-1da2-11e5-ab0f-6bb9974f25d0...
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