OPINION

On elections, political leaders, eurozone, far right

Elections

I cannot understand why the leading party in the elections has a bonus of 50 MPs. The result is just that the two pro-bailout parties have 50 percent of MPs with 32 percent of the people?s vote.

Jose Rocha

Portugal

Sordid egotism at its worst

The fateful May 6th election was a result of the sordid egotism of Samaras, who deserves to suffer the fulll consequences of his actions. I have consistently criticised Samaras for his personally selfish actions which have no relevance to the good of Greece — and have rebounded on him in full measure. Facebook — on which I have a page — starts each day with a question «What’s on your mind?» The day Samaras started his repetitively boring ?me, me, me? Odyssey I said the «truly appaling prospect of Samaras as Prime Minister.»

Nothing has happened since then to change my mind.

Venizelos I like, though he?s a bit too strongly linked to the less-than-glorious past, and whilst I cannot endorse Tsipras’s policies, he at least carries the bloom of youth and energy on his shoulders. Don’t forget that the important matters are the future — the thorough overhaul of the Civil Service and its plan for appointment on merit, the cleansing of the Augean stables of corruption within and the regaining of Greece’s good name. «It is better to lose one’s right arm than one’s reputation.”

Look outside the box, Greece. France seems to be a likely role model witha Socialist President Hollande, and a retiring President gracious in defeat. To unite the squabbling Greeks is a Herculean task, but one that is both necessary and desirable.

John Foss

Athens

Ban of the far right

First of all its a myth that far-right parties can be banned or be forbidden in Germany. It would be more correct to say that any party that does not respecting the law, or even more important the German Constitution, can be forbidden.

The most famous party that was forbidden in the younger German history was the KPD (Communist Party of Germany), which was banned in West Germany back in 1956.

Right now there are attempts to ban the Nazi-right-wing NPD. The reason behind that attempt is that NPD party members might have been involved in or had knowledge of a series of assassinations of immigrants (Turks and also a Greek) that was carried out by an extremist group called NSU.

It is very easy and it surprises me that obviously in Europe and especially in Greece we are not on common ground regarding this issue.

Parties that openely threaten the lives of people, promote violence or are even linked to acts of violence or other criminal activities, discriminate against minorities, discriminate against religious freedom, plan to tear down the democratic system (KPD) and so on can be forbidden after a serious and long process controlled by the highest court of Germany.

If you put this as a standard how many parties would remain in Greece?

Sebastian Schroeder

Patra

Advantages you are a poor Balkan country in the 21st C, not a rich, ‘glorious’ 1st world country of your fantasies.

Learn enough humility to work together — 11 million individualists do not a nation make, merely a mess.

Learn compassion (not egotism), compromise (the very opposite of the Olympics), and cooperation (not the egotistic competition of the Olympics that even ancient Greeks commented on). Compassion, compromise and cooperation is what the ‘ancients’ were tring to teach, but which is wantonly ignored by most Greeks it seems. They only cry for their ancestors ‘glories,’ not for their intelligence…

Even Plato and Aristotle would be looking down and saying ‘What’s the point of crying for the non-existant?’ Go down as far as you can go without falling off the edge of the world, learn the three Cs (compassion, compromise (real compromise for benefit, not just for political trickery…), and cooperation (the hardest of all for those strutting Olympian egotists). Then you 11 million might find your way out of this crisis to somewhere a little more realistic.

Philip Andrews

Painful survival or self-destruction

Greek citizens can be forgiven for losing hope and direction. Decades of political mismanagement have robbed individuals of their responsibilities toward the community, while delaying essential social and economic reforms. But events have brought Greece beyond the point where recriminations, blame or even anger are relevant.

There can be little doubt: an exit from the Euro would deplete people?s purchasing power and savings, chase investments and stoke inflation; it would destroy the fabric of Greek society. Most likely it would spell misery for all (but, maybe, the very rich) for years, if not decades. If staying in the euro is an avowed objective, there can be no illusion: ?Greece fatigue? among fellow Europeans has grown to a level where their politicians will be popular for standing up to unreasonable requests from the Greeks, and where hard bargaining and blackmailing on their behalf will only serve to strengthen the resolve of European hardliners.

If Greece stays the course initiated a couple of years ago, there will be more pain, no question. Unfortunately, there is no alternative, other than a path of self-destruction. If Greek citizens and politicians choose the latter, they will have nobody to blame but themselves. If, in the process, they inflict pain on the rest of Europe, I doubt this will be great consolation.

Christian Rochat

London

Euro exit?

We all know too well that threats make bad bargaining tools. And that?s exactly what we are getting from pro-austerity countries. They know nothing of the inner workings of Greece. Once again let?s remind ‘Europe’, that we are Europe! And nothing will change that!

If we don’t want to leave the eurozone, by no law can any country expell us. That’s why they haven’t thrown us out yet and that’s why they keep pushing for our decision to leave.

We must seek transparency from the last 20 years of incompetence; first to know where we stand and second how we must proceed.

We have been led by wolves toward the slaughter for far too long. Greece must decide on her own future. Germany has convinced us that she can remove us from the crisis, which, most would agree, she is failing to do so.

Polliticians and technocrats alike are formulating years of austerity, like they?re a part of the equation. They say 2014 will be a year of growth; they say 2020 will be when we will be out of crisis. Meanwhile they enjoy elegant nights out and fancy dinners and trips around the globe.

And we ask why the Greeks are wavering towards the left?

Germany should be very careful of her arrogance. The citizens of Greece won’t be subject to cruel methods of reform. If they wish to lead Europe, they must learn to be humble and compassionate.

Hari T

Democracy and voters

Those voices I hear, of how proud some people say that they are of the Greek people (the German parliament yesterday just to name the most recent one), that they exercised their democracy obviously don’t understand at all what has been going on in Greece before the elections!

Democracy is based on information, maturity of voters and education, and if a voter is not informed adequately but is fed illusions and wishful thinking as well as plain old lies, if a voter had to endure a steady decline of their living standards and fears for the future and many, many voices showing realities that are based somewhere between the clouds, then we get exactly what we got and we want to call that democratic process?! Democracy is more than just casting a vote! Democracy is expressing a choice based on knowing all options and weighing consequences of that choice!

Public education and information is virtually nonexistent in this country. One has only to look at the so called news, with all these fancy windows where the same old people are heard talking on top of each other posing as so-called experts on every aspect of life and where journalists are the ones yelling the loudest. Serious politicians have made such a mess of not only public relations that they are not trusted and therefore warnings of what is to come if we don’t stay on course are dismissed, because they are considered to be liars anyway and voices that promise to do everything differently are soaked up like sponges.

So then we see a person like Tsipras as savior, someone who doesn’t fit the status quo by age, behavior and looks, and he manages to convince a very large portion of the population that 1+1=10. And voters believe him… because he promises to fill their empty pockets and expresses what most people have learned all throughout their lives… namely that someone will always save us when we are drowning, that everything will be OK… and they are of the illusion that the rest of Europe will behave like their parents did… if you just whine and complain loud enough you’ll get what you want; a «no» becomes a «yes» and if the consequences are unavoidable then the blame can safely and conveniently be put somewhere else (Germany, France, America) or we are victims of conspiracies!

Parents in this country, just to give a simple example, nearly go bankrupt to put their kids through school instead of giving at least part of this responsibility to their children. (They mean well of course, but ultimately they raise spoiled children, which become spoiled and immature voters).

So what then can we expect? mature behavior? turning away from instant gratification? responsible, informed and educated voters which are needed for democracy to work?

40 percent of people chose not to vote… that is almost half… how is that a show of good democracy? believing you can stay in the Euro zone without sacrifices? How is that a show of good democratic behavior?

People that complain of a decline in the numbers of German tourists, who last year came to Greece to spend their money here rather then going somewhere cheaper in order to show solidarity, only to be rewarded by having to walk 4 km to the airport in 39 degrees of heat due to the behavior of taxi drivers… have we already forgotten that?!

Or then maybe those Greek voters that don’t reside in Greece… that don’t have to live with the consequences of their vote in the least, for who it is very easy to advocate a return to the drachma, those that don’t have their life savings in Geek banks, those that don’t have to fear civil unrest when people are forced to live with the consequences of being isolated from the rest of Europe.

All of this is demonstrating a successful show of democracy? Get serious!

Michaela Toth

Greek budget deficit

What is the point of having budget deficit targets set in terms of GDP ratios when GDP, the denominator, itself is being depressed by the IMF-inspired measures demanded by the Troika? Utter madness. The government is like the hamster on the wheel — the faster it is made to run, the faster it gets nowhere.

Paul Papadopoulos