Wednesday, 7 November 2012


A meal last night at the new Greek restaurant in Dulwich. Kind of in solidarity - for lack of anything I could do for friends in the US on their election day - with all the Greeks striking and protesting this week. What an entirely spurious gesture. Better if I went there, in the Spring perhaps, to see the Spring flowers on Lefkada or Keffalonia. Make sure all my money goes to local hospitality providers.

Poor Greece. None of it the fault of any ordinary, hard-working, forthright Greek I've ever met, of that I'm sure. I wish I understood more. Economics is more foreign than any country in southern Europe. Victimising the oldest Greeks who've already lived through occupation, civil war, dictatorship, too much horror for one lifetime, cutting their modest pensions to starvation level and levying outrageous taxes on the village houses that are often all they possess: that can't be right.

I've always supported the European Union, seen it, for all its faults, its bloated bureaucracy and democratic deficit, as representing the welfare state consensus demolished in the UK by Thatcherism. How, then, can it be doing this?

I know I remain, in the pragmatic medium term, a Keynesian, and in the broader, deeper sense a Marxist (whatever that means these days... I was moved by Andy Merrifield's book, Magical Marxism. He's also John Berger's biographer, impressively brainy as well as a dreamer). I'm against 'austerity' - as useless as it is cruel - in my own country and all the more so in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Not the best thoughts to go with a heavy meal. The Kleftiko sat undigested for a while on a stomach stiff with sadness.

1 comment:

Beth said...

It's interesting to read your thoughts on Thatcherism and the EU, as I sit here tonight trying to sort out my complicated feelings about the U.S., Canada, and the world. I feel increasingly like a citizen of the latter, rather than either of the others, but what does that really mean, in today's politically interconnected reality?