I am pleased that Greece has stood up against the European bullies who have tried so many disgusting tactics to push the Greeks into accepting more austerity and propping up by the ECB and IMF - money they will never ever be able to repay, it is a wonderful tactic to control a nation but luckily they refused to lie down and accept the humiliation. Martin Shultz even had the nerve to say that the ELECTED government should be replaced by technocrats - unbelievable hubris. I do fear fo Greece and would gladly contribute to funds to help as long as this money did not go to the banks who after all caused the financial problems in the first place. You can bet your life that Osborne will be quoting Greece throughout his austere budget on Wednesday - this country is not and was never in the same situation as Greece. The banks caused the financial crisis in 2008 and our economy suffered as Brown and Darling poured money into them to prop them up and to make sure that people could actually access their money and their would not be a run on the banks. It is debatable whether some banks should have been allowed to fail, RBS for example. It was, at the time, felt to be the best course of action - would a Tory government have done the same - of course they would. Osborne should shut-up about financial mismanagement - he hasn't done much good. A structural deficit still exists, he is still borrowing millions, and he is now going to cut more , slow down any potential growth and impoverish more people. Cutting tax credits before there is any sign of higher wages - this man is a fool and incompetent. I, however, digress, but I feel so strongly about arrogant incompetent and bullying MP's!
Rich Greeks have never paid tax and their collection of taxes has always been very lose - I accept that the rich don't pay much tax here either, Prince Charles for example does not pay tax on all his wealth only a part of it , the same as the Queen. The normal person in the street in the UK does pay tax and we do have a taxing structure albeit with far too many loop holes. The UK was never in the same situation and is unlikely to be, ever. I hope Greece leaves the Euro and EU, they cannot be any worse off than at present? The EU and its bureaucrats, so many of which are not elected, need a real shake up - this whole debacle may show Germany that it's pet project is going to fail, after it was always set up to favour them and their industry.
It is not just the super rich Greeks that have not paid their taxes, a Greek friend of mine explained how the tax system in Greece has worked up till now, every year every Greek has to fill in voluntary tax returns, so predictably every Greek tax payer understates their tax liability, every fifth year the Greek tax services accuses every taxpayer of underpaying and threatens legal action to recover what the tax office assumes they should have paid, at this point Greek tax lawyers are used to negotiate a sum agreeable to both sides that does not tally with the original claims of either side.
An example of Greek tax evasion is in the building of new properties, if the final floor and roof are completed then a property tax becomes immediately payable, which explains why so many new properties are left unfinished with metal reinforcing rods visible extending from the concrete verticle support pillars even if residents have lived there for years.
I realise that it is not only the rich in Greece that have not paid their taxes - the super-rich have paid nothing at all whilst the others have paid something. The self employed, in this country, also self assess their taxes too, and I wonder who underpays. It was revealed recently how many rich celebrities have found ways of avoiding tax legally, no doubt the accountants take their cut too! The people on paye have no choice about paying tax and again it is the poor who never get a choice. They are always those that suffer at the hands of the rich and powerful. Maybe in Greece the poor have been given the opportunity to make a choice this time. I just hope they don't suffer more than they would have by agreeing to pay an unpayable debt! I hope they leave the Euro and the european dream of a federal and monetarily united europe falls apart. I have never understood why countries from Eastern europe could keep up with more sophisticated northern european countries, it has never made sense to me. The economies are so disparate, the early entries to the EU where similar, but the Eastern block was comparable to the third world. I suspect it was all about creating markets for German and the rich countries, rather than to help them. Instead what we have is mass immigration from the Eastern block and the increasing rise in nationalism or in the case of Greece, a left wing government [ which I would rather see than the Golden Dawn]. We can expect a mass exodus from Greece unless the government can sort the financial mess in a short time.
Do you, John, think the Greeks deserve to suffer or do you agree with Peter and I that at least the troika has learnt a lesson, they can't bully people as they presently do.
Whilst I was doing a stint at the Sorbonne, I learnt that the French did exactly the same, and, for all I know, probably still do! The trick was to underdeclare your income by two thirds to ensure that the subsequent inevitable fines would not leave you worse off!
The rich don't like paying their taxes here either. I don't particularly like paying my taxes either but I do want a functioning NHS, a social care, education and welfare system, so I pay up. I doubt that these services will be around much longer with this government, but I pay anyway - in fact I did so this very day.
I agree that it is about the EU bullies wanting to humiliate Greece, but they should take care - remember what happened after the first world war - Germany was humiliated and had raging inflation and then armed for war with a facist leader - history has much to tell us all!
The Greeks and to an extent the Greek Cypriots entered into EU membership not to improve the exports to other EU nations but simply to gain access to the Euro rather than stay with the low value Drachma and the Cypriot Pound, this higher value currency allowed the Greek Government( traditionally socialist) of the day to increase employment in public services( eventually reaching almost 40% of the Greek working age population, all with guaranteed state pensions payable from the age of 45.
No wonder the Greek economy has been up the creek without a paddle since 2007.
Believe it or not, the German economy is thriving thanks to the Greek crisis - a depressed Euro gives them a trade advantage over a strong dollar! Greece has now told Germany what it can do with its oppression. Of course, the Germans don't like the notion of Greece leaving the Euro. So if you see some strange trends happening in the next few weeks put it down to -get-rich-quick merchants shorting stuff left right and centre making an utter mockery of the market! It will all end in tears - mark my words!
I am utterly disgusted with the EU's response to the Greek crisis - not one word of concern about the people - just we want our money! So what have the suits done given them MORE!!! and to add insult to injury they have lost their sovereignty in the process - they will all those nasty Brussels bureaucrats breathing down their necks forever - this debt an never be repaid. I feel so disgusted with those b.....ds in Brussels - they have humiliated the Greeks and removed any chance of the young people in Greece getting work. They have not helped them humanely at all. This has decided me on how to vote in the referendum! I accept that Greece has not been honest or sensible on the past but Germany and its minions have now crushed these poor people - they will rue the day. We are now faced with a Greek diaspora - the young will leave and where will they go - to the UK and Northern Europe!
I do know whether Tsipras will survive - the pundits say he will but he doesn't deserve to, he has reneged on his promises - they should have left the Eurozone and put up with a few hard years - they will have a long long period of austerity now and possibly much worse than if they had exited the Euro. I was hoping that Tsipras had the guts to tell the EU to p... off and the Italy, Portugal and Spain may well have done what the Germans were so afraid of, threatened to leave or at least not to follow the ludicrous EU policies that are not working. They want fiscal union as it suits there industry!
I am so very disappointed - I was hoping that this crisis would change the face of Europe and rob them of so much power!
I too admire Tsipras but I cannot see how he has won. The new deal is harsher than the previous offer and they have lost their sovereignty. I would like Tsipras to have out maneuvered Brussels but he failed and now Greece is in for more austerity and more pain and for what? They will be in debt forever, or at least long after I am dead - I reckon I have about 20 to 30yrs left.
Alexis Tsipras has allowed the Fourth Reich to steal his country's last vestige's of National Sovereignty, he was elected to end austerity, he endorsed the NO vote in the recent referendum, he travelled to Brussels with a clear mandate from the Greek people, now it seems he has betrayed those same people by changing his anti austerity stance a full 180 degrees, what personal advantage did Brussels offer this inexperienced politician?
The matter is not however a done deal! Both the German and Finnish Parliaments will find great opposition to a third Greek bale out, also it will need the consent of all EU member states for the 80+ Billion Euro's to be handed over.
If Tsipras fails to swing the vote to accept the crushingly punitive bale out terms in the Greek parliament then Greece is out of the Euro and perhaps the EU, If he can get that support it may mean that the Greek people and possible the military as well, who have all been ground down under the weight of the authoritarian dictates of the Brussels elite in recent years, may finally rise up and take back control of their destiny by violent means, something that has happened before in this turbulent country, then the way will be open for Russia's Putin to become the Messiah of the Greek people.
I don't think you have been following developments closely enough Peter. He was faced finally with a choice of unbelievable hardship with zero funds coming in for health care, social services, care of the sick and elderly, bankrupting businesses already teetering on the edge, wholesale bank failures and the utterly disastrous price the Drachma, for which there were no plans to reintroduce, would exact on the Greek people. He is a true hero for Greece, in my mind having managed to exact far less Draconian terms from the ECB and Germany than were first put forward, thanks to the wholesale corruption of fat Greek merchants thinking nothing of their own people, and everything about their ill-gotten nest eggs in fat Swiss Bank accounts! So before you condemn him, ask yourself if he is really selling his people down the river like his predecessors. He is of a good family of principle, and I see him no different. Rather than the demon he is being portrayed by many who I would counsel to look at the real picture rather than the barbed variety, I regard this man as the saviour of that country, because he is not corrupt. One day, I predict he will be venerated, both in his country and elsewhere!
Apart from Greece the World too may come to recognise Tsipras as the man who saved the Dollar and prevented a World Depression of unimaginable deprivation and suffering. I'm not say that unless we can find an immediate way of severely checking man's selfishness, bigotry and greed, that this won't happen, but anyone with any true appreciation of how close we all are to the precipice, will reflect on Greece and come together to find a new World accord for trade and industry, starting with a single world currency coupled with the Hadrian solution!