11
pon, dec

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Prime Minister David Cameron has never been short of bare-faced cheek. And he brought it fully into play on Monday when he took it upon himself to deliver an ultimatum to the Greek people.

Living in a country decimated by the strictures of the European Union - EU and the International Monetary Fund, with its economy in tatters and its future severely in question, the Greek people will go to the polls next month.

With their fellow Greeks reduced to poverty in huge numbers, with unemployment standing at over 22 per cent and the trade unions and progressive political parties almost permanently protesting on the streets of their cities, the voters of Greece are due at the polling stations on June 17.

And, following an inconclusive election this month in which the anti-austerity Syriza Party made huge gains, their verdict will almost certainly be a broad condemnation of the beggar-my-neighbour monetary policies which have brought their country to the edge of disaster.

So our crass and arrogant PM has taken it on himself to try to put pressure on the Greek people to back these disastrous policies, announcing that the result of the polls will amount to a decision on whether or not the country will leave the eurozone.

Now, whether he's right or wrong - he's wrong - and whether the policies themself are right or wrong (they are also wrong) the fact is that Cameron has absolutely no right to attempt to intervene in the Greek election in this manner.

Mind you, it's about par for the course in the European Union. No-one can forget the Irish referendum of 2008 in which the Irish people rejected the EULisbon Treaty, only to be told in the most patronising and condescending manner that they'd got it wrong and they should go away and vote again until they got it right.

Which, of course, they did in 2009, collapsing under the pressure of an arrogant Brussels and a weak domestic government.

Mr Cameron doesn't even have the figleaf of respectability of worrying about the cost to Britain of any more bailout money - he's already made it abundantly clear that Britain won't be party to any further outlay.

And his credentials as a political economist are, by any measure, so flimsy as to make his advice to the Greek people totally worthless.

A background as special adviser to Norman Lamont and, later, Michael Howard doesn't convince.

His assessment of German Chancellor Angela Merkel as having shown signs of a willingness to compromise - which she most certainly hasn't - betrayed either his ignorance or his duplicity.

His oppo ex-chancellor Kenneth Clarke didn't carry much authority either, his grasp of economics appearing as flimsy as his boss's.

Mr Clarke's comment, that the consequences would be "serious" if the Greek people elected "cranky extremists" and defaulted on their debts as a result, was arrogant and aggressive in equal measure.

He continued that Greek voters had to "face up to reality.

"These are hardships inflicted on them by the irresponsibility of their former politicians."

But he clearly didn't realise what he was saying when he noted that "our banks are heavily exposed to some of these countries."

For heavily exposed means that "our" banks were happily screwing the Greek government for as much as they could manage on loan premiums and making a bad situation worse.

Incidentally, what do you mean by "our banks," Mr Clarke? They might be yours but they're certainly not ours.

From June 2007 Mr Clarke was on the Advisory Board of Centaurus Capital, a London-based hedge fund.

So the message to these Tory whingers must be "keep your nose out of Greek affairs."

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras has already noted that whenever Ms Merkel opens her mouth it's to tell the Greek people what to do.

The last thing the Greeks need is more Cassandras, especially Oxbridge posh boys from the British moneyed class.

EAPN - European Anti Poverty Network

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