Channel 4 News tonight shows unrest in Greece with one protester saying why should she pay? – It should be their leaders for the last 10, 20 years who should pay.
Whilst the scale of the “Greek problem” massively exceeds the wealth of all their leaders for decades, the theory in a democracy is that “the people” elect their leaders and they should, therefore, be responsible for their choice. Whilst it is possible that the Greeks have had a (geographically) mistaken belief in “La Dolce Vita”, they have also been in an ostrich like conspiracy with their leaders to ignore the flaws in their economic system.
Now their leaders are having to impose policies that were definitely not in any previous manifesto and the pain is severe; arguing about how the pain is distributed (“tax the rich”) will not change the fact that everyone is going to see a very significant drop in their living standards. Is this the price for ignoring the economic facts of life and “voting with your wallet”?
So, if we have similar levels of debt (although thankfully more long-dated), and none of the parties are telling us the full facts about future taxes and upcoming cuts, how do we take responsibility?
Whatever our result and whatever the permutation of parties that make up the “government side”, it is unlikely that they will have a mandate for what so many experts say they will have to do. Can we protest with the ferocity of the Greeks? The Poll Tax riots, The Miners’ Strike, The G8 Riots, all say we can – but it will probably be just as futile, and the pain will hit all of us.
Tomorrow I will get a Conservative MP – no matter what happens, we have had one since 1924. But I have to accept the result, “take responsibility for my choice”, and take the pain. I am already feeling sick.