Greece – One Cool Dude



Yanis Varoufakis, economist, and one who a damn sight more the most politicians


Waiting for the IMF wolves to circle

I’m allowing the new political situation in Greece a few days to settle into its chosen path before writing about it, but the signs so far are very encouraging.

I’d like to think we are seeing the start of the death of brutal austerity consensus that benefits only banks and the wealthy, but watch needs kept on the reactionary right-wing for signs of counter-attack. But my head keeps telling me the neo-liberal elite will do all they can to bring Greece to its knees.

Meanwhile this headline caught my attention:

“The finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, arrived on a 1300cc Yamaha motorbike for a meeting with PM Alexis Tsipras.”


Can’t imagine any member of Scotland’s parliament arriving at Holyrood for a major meeting on a cool motorbike though I wish it would happen. (A bicycle doesn’t count.)

Like his boss, Alexis Tsipras, he sports no club tie. It would be refreshing if stuffy politicians ditched the tyranny of the suit and arrived at work in tidy but casual attire. Back in the day in the UK arriving at work in a pair of suede shoes, (termed ‘brothel creepers’) got you sent home and a black mark on your progress report.


Yanis on his Yamaha XJR 1300



Eschewing the accoutrements of power

President Jose Mujica of Uruguay uses a battered old VW Beetle he has had most of his working life as a modest farmer. He refused a $1 million offer to buy it from some idiot Arab Sheik, anyhow… I digress.

Talk about throwing off the old hackneyed images! Amazing.  I’ll post a photograph of Varoufakis on his motorbike if I find one. (See sister essay ‘Varoufakis Rocks!’)

Tsipras, and Varoufakis, an internationally respected economist, are conferring ahead of their meeting with Euro group president Jeroen Dijsselbloem. If any proof were needed that Greece has entered a new era, this was it. Long may it last.


To my mind it reconfirmed a growing admiration Yanis Varoufakis is the coolest politician around, though it doesn’t escape my alarm on a motorbike anybody is an easy target for Greece’s right-wing assassins! Escapes down very narrow alleys happen only in movies.

A politician liked by the people

Morbid thoughts aside – yesterday, as he arrived for his first day behind his desk at the finance ministry, he was mobbed by mobile camera wielding schoolgirls.


You just know that right-wing stooges in the mainstream press will exploit that to create a spurious debate about the intrusion of ‘celebrity’ status into serious politics, ad nauseam, as if somehow, there has never been a politician anywhere on the planet that attracted celebrity status. Here, they are burying Churchill for the umpteenth time to remind us of imperial England’s power and glory.

Things are looking up

Think of the press scorn if Varoufakis had arrived in a black Mercedes 600 to talk about austerity, official flags flapping from the bonnet, police guards on all sides!


“We are going to destroy the basis upon which they have built for decade after decade a system, a network that viciously sucks the energy and the economic power from everybody else in society,” Varoufakis told Britain’s Channel 4 television.


Alexis Tsipras, prime minister of Greece. He might not be able to resist the ransom of Jean-Claude Junker and the European Bank


How strong willed is Tsipras?

The emergence of a political cool dude comes amid concerns over steps by Tsipras to halt austerity measures following Syriza’s election victory. European leaders have insisted Greece must meet its debt obligations.


Tsipras has said he wants to renegotiate the terms – but insisted there will be no Greek default, which is feared may push Greece out of the eurozone.

Greece has endured tough budget cuts in return for its €240bn (£179bn; $270bn) bailout, negotiated in 2010 with the “troika” – or what I call the list of villains: the EU, International Monetary Fund, (IMF) followers of the Chicago School of ‘Shock’ Economics, neo-con graduates, and European Central Bank (ECB).

Greece’s economy has shrunk drastically since the 2008 global financial crisis, and high unemployment has thrown many Greeks into poverty. Strangely, Greek bank stocks edged up on Thursday a day after dipping sharply as the government shelved privatisation schemes required under bailout terms.

Here’s how the outgoing welcome the incoming:

To the victor the spoils? Not in Athens, where the new prime minister arrived at his official residence on Monday night to discover that computers, paperwork and even the toiletries had been removed by the outgoing administration.

After he was sworn in Alexis Tsipras found himself inside the Maximos Mansion without basic necessities. “They took everything,” he said. “I was looking for an hour to find soap.” Varoufakis looks the man to reinstate the soap, but not at extortionate IMF prices.

Watch this space…


This essay was followed by ‘Enemies of Greece’s Reformation.

This entry was posted in General, Scottish Independence Referendum. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Greece – One Cool Dude

  1. hektorsmum says:

    I think that Greece may take a while to get anything like on the straight and narrow, but they will get there. In the meantime we are stuck with a Government still spending money like water whilst fleecing the poor. I have argued elsewhere that the ordinary people of Greece would not have joined the EU if they had been told the ramifications I bet. It seems strange to me that we, those who are allowed the only power to choose some useless plonker once every so often are the guilty people, surely those who gambled the money were the guilty ones and they should be paying the penalty not the poor and disadvantaged. Given that Germany was forgiven their debts after the second world war, surely the same could have been done for Greece. If it was wrong to do what was done to Germany after the first world war then it is surely wrong to bankrupt a Nation.

  2. jimnarlene says:

    He certainly looks a “cool dude”, I hope he coolly guides Greece back to health. Showing that austerity is not the way forward.
    Do you think I can get the sheik to buy my, old, VW van?

  3. Grouse Beater says:

    Do you think I can get the sheik to buy my, old, VW van?

    Stick a Rolls-Royce badge on the front. 🙂

  4. jimnarlene says:

    It’s got Mercedes wheels, will that do?

  5. Grouse Beater says:

    Given that Germany was forgiven their debts after the second world war, surely the same could have been done for Greece.
    I often wonder if decisions are based on skin tone, caramel or darker and you get no sympathy.

  6. hektorsmum says:

    Hey on the subject of vehicles, GB, looked at the new four for four Smart Car, looks good, might be in the running to replace the IQ should it have a decent spec. Do you have any thoughts, do need somewhere to stick the wee dug and I do not think the original 2 door Smart would accommodate, he goes in an aircraft box you see, and the reason I liked the IQ was the air bag at the back. We have in our driving years been hit from behind on three separate occasions and do not want the dug hit.

  7. Grouse Beater says:

    A slightly larger size all-round helps make it a better drive than the one I have. With new suspension – MacPherson strut up front, de Dion axle at the rear – it feels better planted on the road, absorbing bumps and bends without a jolt, and it cruises easily at speed.

    Regarding space for humankind’s faithful friend, luggage space is behind the seats where there’s room for a couple of decent-sized weekend bags or an overweight Labrador; so, worth having a look.

    My disappointment is the loss of the aesthetically pleasing interior, and cuteness by the addition of a snub nose. Those fat B-pillars, too, make for surprisingly large blind spots.

    That aside, only way to verify that is to get a test drive. The new one is in the showrooms now, so if you are in the market to buy new now’s the time. If you have a garage think about the electric version – only moving parts, windows, wheels and steering wheel.

    Whatever your choice, once bought it’s amazingly cheap to run and to own because of its frugality in all departments and being emission friendly, petrol or electric. The body is plastic, nothing to rust if left outdoors, and panels easy to replace. Merc-Smart attention is second-to-none.

    The only decision is whether its price new is better value than a cheap second-hand small city car with the risk of parts needing replaced and no warranty that a new Smart offers. Also, I believe the top of the range versions will hold their value better than the small engine ones, but not as well as the Aston Martin version of the i.Q which now changes hands at £22,000!

    Hope that helps. 🙂

  8. hektorsmum says:

    It certainly does, will now inform Hubby. Not immediately on the market for one but knew you would know if anyone did. Do not like being to quick off the mark with anything, things improved on the IQ over the years and we have the Multi drive now, No not a Cygnet, I would not take that out of the garage, Looked at the electric one, but not sure it would be a good thing right now for us, though much of our driving is town we still do too many longer runs to trust to electric.
    Thanks for that GB, oh and can I add about your actual article, isn’t it good to see normal folk in Government, my reason for being in the SNP as well. Greece should be on the road to some sort of recovery, not pleased with Germany, too many with short memories I think.

  9. Grouse Beater says:

    Isn’t it good to see normal folk in Government?
    Aye, it is.
    But with grim determination to banish the crooks and thieves who demand ‘protection money.’ 🙂

  10. I always thought that kind of idea is a bit lazy- especially as a Cypriot. Then again, you look at Iceland telling everyone to get stuffed and no one blinking an eyelid, and you see Cyprus get bailed IN and you start to wonder.

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