“The people have spoken – the bastards!”

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Blog: Well, we were absolutely right – albeit for the wrong reasons! There is to be no referendum in Greece. Brussels would not allow it. So Papandreou had to do a volte-face. After receiving a dressing-down from Brussels over his decision to hold a referendum, which was unacceptable to the Euro-elite, the Greek conjurer suddenly produced a novel argument out of his political hat. He claimed that the referendum – consultation of the Greek people – was not an end in itself. It was a means to an end. That end was acceptance by the whole Greek political elite – the parliamentary opposition as well as the party in government – of whatever austerity package the EU and the IMF wanted to impose on Greece. Up till then, the opposition New Democracy Party had refused to accept the austerity measures. Faced with the threat that the people of Greece might be allowed to decide whether or not to obey the instructions from Brussels, the New Democracy Party of Antonis Samaras caved in and okayed the cuts. Consequently, having secured the backing of the Greek establishment, Papandreou felt able to do without the view of the actual Greek people. “Thank you very much,”he told them. “I don’t need you any more”. Never in the history of  modern democracy has a politician shown such contempt for his people.  Consultation of the people, according to Papandreou, is an optional extra, which can be wheeled out as and when it suits the political elite – and can be wheeled in again as the whim takes them. The implications are not limited to Greece. They go right to the undemocratic heart of the European Union. On this occasion, as on numerous occasions in the recent past when electorates have failed to obey the dictates of Brussels (referenda in  Ireland, Denmark, Holland and France), the EU has said “stuff you” and has either abolished the practice of holding referenda at all or has insisted that the people vote again until they got it right. Perhaps this latter procedure could be adopted in elections to national parliaments in Europe: the people must vote again and again till they elect the right candidates. As the man said when the Irish electorate rejected the Lisbon Treaty: “The people have spoken, the bastards!” Sums it all up, really.

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