A month or so ago, anti-austerity party SYRIZA won the Greek general election. In the intervening time, the British media has seemed far more interested in the character of the country’s new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, than that of his boss, Prime Minister Alex Tsipras.
Partly, this is because Greece’s biggest problems are financial, and Varoufakis is the man leading attempts to deal with the country’s colossal, unrepayable amount of public debt.
But it’s also because while Tsipras is fairly boring, Varoufakis has style. Admittedly, there was something pettily thrilling about the way he casually strolled up Downing Street to meet automaton plutocrat George Osborne like he’d just got off a bus during a recent visit to London.
Unflashy irreverence is all very nice, but as far as the old reliable unbending ideologue bit of the Left is concerned, he’s a filthy sell-out.
Because there are really two political spectrums – the objective, ‘classical’ one with communism at one end and balls-to-the-wall capitalism on the other, and the corporate media-peddled, politically motivated, ‘relative’ one where ‘left’ means Ed Miliband and ‘sensible’ means Nigel Farage and Pinochet – papers and TV pundits can repeatedly call SYRIZA radically left-wing.
Subscribe to the latter view of the world, and they’re unconscionably extreme. Subscribe to the former, nicely capturing the staggering breadth and scale of the solutions the species can apply to the problems it faces, and you’ll see they’re far from it. Continue reading