Parliamentary inquiries in Greece are usually treated with scorn: the investigation into the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal, that into the 1999-2000 Athens stock market bubble, the inquiry into the events leading up to the signing of the EU-IMF memorandum in May 2010 – the motivation behind behind all of these was highly contested.
New Democracy’s proposal for a parliamentary inquiry into the circumstances that led to the country’s third bailout agreement is no different. No Greek prosecutor reacted last summer to almost daily revelations about the leftist-led government’s so-called “proud negotiation” and its plan B for a return to the drachma currency. The plan entailed a raid on the national mint, a parallel banking system, the issuing of IOUs for civil servants and pensioners, armored vehicles on the streets, and other surreal – if not hair-raising – details.
After all, this plan B was designed as a contingency measure and, as US economist James K. Galbraith now says, it was decided that it would not be put into force. It would be hard to press charges for a hypothetical plan B.
That said, there are two infuriating things in this case: First, the mastermind behind all these imaginative scenarios, former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, and his acolytes are still out there busy writing books and giving well-attended lectures. It’s a killer designing a murder he never executes advertising his plan to sell knives. Second, the blame for all the above is put exclusively on the aforementioned individuals as if the Greek prime minister had no idea about the plans.
Galbraith is still right about one thing: “At the end of the day, Yanis Varoufakis, the finance minister, discussed our work with the prime minister, and the prime minister made his decision, as everyone knows. That was the prime minister’s judgment to make.”
So while Varoufakis and Galbraith were shadowboxing against the nation’s “troika of the interior” (sic) and Maximos Mansion, Tsipras was busy touring China, admiring the view from the Great Wall, signing deals that he used to denounce, and munching on spring rolls. At one point, he also tried on a virtual reality headset. Tsipras probably missed the irony – it was less likely the voters did. The next elections will tell.