After my positive experience of the Greek police on Friday, I wake up to “Athens in Flames” headlines throughout the world. Friends are calling to see if I am still alive. Where I sit over a cappuccino in a peaceful Athens suburb, it is business as usual. The honest, hard-working Greeks are doing their jobs and getting on with life. They don’t like what is happening, they don’t like the austerity measures; but they are taking the pragmatic view that the chaos of leaving the Eurozone would be worse than the current unpalatable medicine.
The riots seen in Athens last night are not the work of ordinary Greek citizens. As usual, they are perpetrated by anarchists and extreme left-wing agitators who would like nothing more than to see Greece exit the Euro and descend into the sort of chaos they always love. They are criminals, pure and simple, and it is time the Greek government had the cojones to order the police to get tough.
That said, deplorable as last night’s damage was, it was far less severe than we saw all over London and in other British cities last year. There is a time for perspective, and Greece deserves a bit of understanding from around the world.
The Greeks government and leaders have a lot to answer for, that’s for sure. But the real culprits in all this are the empire-building Eurocrats who had the idiotic idea of introducing a new one-size-fits-all currency without first achieving political union. It was never going to work from the start and some countries, notably Britain and Denmark, had the good sense to stay out of it.
Unfortunately for Greece, it is stuck in the Euro straight jacket and a disorderly exit at this time would be a disaster. The best thing that could happen would be an orderly dismantling of the Euro. In my view, Germany should exit the Euro and return to a strong Deutschemark. Then the German-less Euro could be devalued and the southern nations would become more competitive. But Germany wouldn’t like that because it is used to a captive market for its cheap goods. And that, in a nutshell, is the problem of the Euro.