Grexit polls

On Sunday there is a referendum in Greece on whether to accept the deal that was put to the Greek government before negotiations broke down (or at least, there was as I write, who knows what the position will be by the time you read this). What can the polling tell is about the likely result? There have not been any polls since the referendum announcement yet – though I don’t think there is anything preventing any (Greece previously had a ban on polls in the last fortnight of election campaigns, but this was repealed before the election earlier this year. I don’t know about referendums or any subsequent legal changes.)

There were, however, two Greek polls conducted in the three days before the referendum announcement that have been widely reported. A Kapa Research poll conducted between Wednesday and Friday actually asked how people would vote in a then hypothetical referendum, with 47% saying they would vote yes, 33% that they would vote no. Of course the poll was conducted prior to the referendum announcement so may not reflect current Greek opinion at all – people taking it as a sign Greece is about to vote yes should probably hold on a sec. Respondents may have been imagining a referendum on a deal that had the support of the Greek government, rather than a referendum where the government are opposed and backing a No vote.

The rest of the Kapa poll found 72% of Greeks wanted the country to remain within the EU and 68% wanted them to keep the Euro. There was a pretty even split over the government’s strategy – 49% had a positive opinion, 50% a negative opinion.

A second poll by Alco found negative opinions about the proposals on the table, but continuing goodwill towards Syriza. People didn’t think the proposals met their pre-election promises, but by 53% to 34% thought this was because Syriza hadn’t realised how difficult it would be rather than an attempt to mislead the people. By 61% to 33% respondents rejected the idea that the last Greek government would have done any better. Syriza continue to hold a robust lead in voting intention. Again, this is sometimes being reported as showing Greeks will vote Yes, but I’d be wary. It found people would, in principle, prefer a deal to default… but that’s not the same as saying they will vote YES in a referendum on a specific offer that the Greek government doesn’t support.

Turning to the attitude in other countries in Europe, YouGov polled the countries it has panels in a week ago and in most countries the public expected Greece to leave the Euro, and would prefer it if they did. In Britain people would prefer Greece to leave by 35% to 26%, Denmark by 44% to 24%, Sweden 35% to 26%, Finland 47% to 26%. France was the only country polled where people would prefer Greece to stay within the Euro, though only by 36% to 33%. In Germany 53% of the public thought Greece should leave the Eurozone, only 29% would prefer Greece to remain. Note, of course, that the countries YouGov operate in are largely Northern Europe… the public in Southern and Eastern European countries may have different views.

UPDATE: We finally have a poll on the referendum conducted after it was announced. Prorata for Efsyn found 51% of Greeks intending to vote no in the referendum. The fieldwork appears to have straddled the announcement to close the banks – before the announcement NO led by 57% to 30%, after the announcement NO led by only 46% to 37%. On the face of it that looks like No leading, but in a very fluid situation, but I don’t know what the sample size was before and after the bank closure (and indeed, whether the early and late respondents to the poll were comparable) so cannot tell if that apparently shrinking lead is meaningful.


152 Responses to “Grexit polls”

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  1. First?

    The power of twitter.

  2. It’s doubtful the referendum will go ahead. I can see the Prague Bratislava scenario coming when Prague got fed up with Bratislava and gave them their independence, in this case the EU may boot Greece out of the Euro.

    Feel sorry for Greece but in the long term they would probably be better off out of the Euro. France, Italy, Span and Portugal are all wobbling.

  3. Very difficult to base anything upon previous polls because they asked a question which is specifically not on the ballot paper! What is missing from most coverage of the referendum outside of Greece is the degree to which the electorate is grasping that it is specifically NOT about leaving the euro. It is very easy for armchair theorists on national newspapers trying (and usually failing) to think on their feet to pontificate about No = leaving the euro.

    But because the Greek government is aware of a reality that the EU is determined to keep the country within monetary union at almost all costs, its real gamble is to persuade the people that it is worth voting No just to create a better negotiating position. And that the risk of tumbling out of the euro is negligible.

    Any polling has to reflect this reality, and not reflect the lazy position of most journalists, fed propaganda by the EU pressing the fear buttons in Greece, that voting No = ejection from the euro. It simply does not.

  4. Damian

    I’d accept voting does not equal Greek exit, however failing to agree terms with the ECB et al does mean leaving the Euro. The German opinion poll is important, if the German government will not accept the best terms on offer from Greeks(and visa versa) then between them they will have failed to agree and Greek exit will happen.

  5. Jamie

    Greece cannot be ejected from the euro as a result of German opinion, nor as a result of what increasingly looks like it will be a No vote. It is constitutionally impossible right now for almost any kind of exit, never mind one ordered in a fit of pique. Greece cannot leave.

    What is more important in this context is that opinion in Greece has focussed on the clear logic that a No vote is part of the negotiation process. The German foreign ministry is effectively admitting this, through gritted teeth. And this is why two latest opinion polls show No to be ahead and at the same time most Greeks wanting to stay in the euro. As little of this appears in media coverage, one wonders whether any of the journalists covering the issue have been to Greece in recent weeks.

    Greek voters have grasped that the EU is determined at all costs that the country will remain in the euro. It is too much of a risk to the project if Greece were indeed to leave, default, and revive (as opposed to bumping along the bottom for a decade under its failed austerity regime) – the fear is that other countries will stampede to the exits as well.

  6. So its Heathrow -cue all mighty government bust up.Osborne versus johnson again.Osborne versus IDS on welfare,osborne versus most tory mps on the EU ,osborne has his budgie next week will he cut the top rate ?

    Meanwhile the libdem ballot papers are out (yawn),the labour contest meanders on with burnham now saying he will pull charitable status from private schools and give councils borrowing powers to build ,young liz says we need to increase tu membership in the private sector (its only 14per cent).

  7. Damian

    The German government will take account of their own public opinion, however. It is perfectly within Germany’s financial ability to pay every pensioner in Greece. They won’t do this because of German public opinion and as ultimately expressed in the ballot box. German public opinion is important. I don’t believe they want to keep greece in at all costs, not at all. This would be unacceptable to their electorates.

    Personally I think the Greek government is over playing its hand. The concept that Euro membership is irrevocable has already been breach by the fact that everyone is addressing it as one of the possible outcomes. This is to my mind their most important card….that if Geece exits who next?

    Greece has to leave, in practical terms, if it does not come to terms with is creditors. Its banks would be bust and it could not recapitalise them, the government could not pay for basic services – like the police – there would be economic breakdown without a new currency.

  8. We now have the first poll since the referendum was called, by Prorata polling institute for Efimerida ton Synatkton newspaper, with responses before bank closure showing:

    Yes 30%, No 57%, DK 13%

    while responses after bank closure were:

    Yes 37%, No 46%, DK 17%.

    Fieldwork was 28-30 Jun and I can’t see anything on sample size for either part, what weightings were made or whether the two parts of the poll were weighted separately.

    So Anthony’s point that you shouldn’t assume Yes would automatically win from the hypothetical polls was correct. It may be moving in that direction, but equally there may be a later reaction back.

    There’s a useful Wiki page for the referendum including a section on opinion polls:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_bailout_referendum,_2015

    which on previous form will be updated fairly speedily.

  9. I maintain that the best outcome would be for the Greek debt to be repayable over, say, 20 or 25 years, at nil interest. And repayable as circumstances allow.

    Colin has made the very correct point that interest charges are already low, and that much of the debt is long term, but the interest repayments are significant, and my point is that the debt would be repaid when the Greek economy has sufficient strength. In other words, vital flexibility is introduced.

    Obviously, this means a haircut for lenders, but the debt still has to be repaid, so an important principle is maintained.

    And the lenders will still have the sanction of ‘foreclosure’ if Greece does not make a serious effort to repay what is owed.

    The euro is maintained intact, albeit shaken, Greece is immediately relieved of repayment demands, the lenders will eventually get their money, stock markets will rise, and I will become an overnight economic guru and celebrity. A kind of Banksie of the financial world.

    I just hope Angela Merkel is reading my posts…

  10. “I just hope Angela Merkel is reading my posts…”

    ——–

    Dunno about Merks, but failing that, you can take succour from the idea that Salmond might be reading them, ‘cos he said this is his favourite site. If that helps* any…

    * if it really doesn’t help, you can take refuge in the idea that maybe Salmond only reads Anthony’s blog entries, and doesn’t read below the line. Or if he does, maybe he only reads Couper’s posts or summat…

    (Clearly he doesn’t read mine, on account of the very pointed failure of his to address the Thorium issue. He doesn’t even mention the storage problem…)

  11. MILLIE

    I’m not at all sure that capital repayment schedules is an issue for Greece.
    Average maturity is over 30 years-the final payment being in 2054.

    On haircuts, the private holders who were forced to take losses when Greek Debt was rolled into EZ/IMF Bailouts have already gifted Greece over 100bn euros ( Wiki)

    And remember that what Greece requires is more loans-they asked for 29 bn euros yesterday.

    With regard to Debt servicing, interest rates have been reduced & only last year they were running a primary surplus ( before debt interest).

    You could argue that the former private sector creditors have already done what you ask-face reality, and that it is the Institutional Lenders who have taken their place who are playing hardball.

    Seems to me that IMF are just sticking to their rule book, and Merkel & others know that their electors won’t look kindly on further concessions.

    At the heart though, there seems a huge gulf in mutual respect , trust & confidence between Greece’s current administration , and the Troika.

    This is the Northern EZ Core vs the Mediterranean Fringe which so many have written about.

    If Tsipras gets a NO , I can’t see how the Troika can resist further concessions if they really want to keep Greece in the EZ-and not wave goodbye to over 300 bn Euros-4% to 5% of the lenders’ GDP-including tiny countries like Malta & Slovenia-not to mention heavily indebted Italy !

    I presume this is what Tsipras has gambled-A NO gets him what he promised his voters-a YES & he just walks away from it.

  12. MILLIE

    I meant to add to :
    “This is the Northern EZ Core vs the Mediterranean Fringe which so many have written about-and politically Far Left vs The Centre .

    It also encompasses Fiscal Sovereignty vs Fiscal Union , with, bizarrely , Merkel preaching the former & Tsipras the latter :-)

    The very central tenets of the EZ are being tested.

  13. In the wonderful, utopian world of the neoliberal planet, just as one can let the market roam free, because companies would be neither able nor willing to stitch up a market, similarly investors are all wondrously principled and couldn’t possibly use a loan to stitch summat up.

    Thus, all those making a loan to someine else would want, is a perfectly reasonable return on their investment. They wouldn’t for example, try and invest, pulling the plug later now they are in a position to snaffle assets or IP (this has always been an issue, look what happened to the guy who invented the printing press).

    Similarly, governments or international organisations would not use loans to try and force other agendas, to the detriment of the loanee.

    On this planet, however, things are a bit different, and if you are forced to take out a loan, and they think they have you in a weak position, you are probably going to have to battle quite hard with the money men. Like Greece now, we were over a barrel a bit after the war, desperate for the loan, and had to cede stuff to get it. Keynes devoted the last six months of his life, in worsening health, battling the American negotiators. He died not long after.

  14. “You could argue that the former private sector creditors have already done what you ask-face reality, and that it is the Institutional Lenders who have taken their place who are playing hardball.

    Seems to me that IMF are just sticking to their rule book.”

    ———–

    Yes, this is what peeps keep saying. There is potentially a problem with the rule book.

  15. New runway -who needs it ,take zaks advice -dump the plane take a hot air balloon instead-geddit arf arf !!

  16. Well, I quite fancy that Spaceport. Which Scots may be best placed to host – almost worth keeping the Union just for that.

  17. If capital controls remain in place for long they are economically equivalent to leaving the Euro. After a while someone will pay 1.1 euros in a greek bank account for 1.0 euros in a non-greek bank account and you have an FX rate between the currency in Greece and RoE

    Similiar thing happened in Argentina, they had a peg to the dollar, real market transactions started occurring at rates outside the peg as demand supply was away from the peg. Eventually the official peg burst and Argentina revalued their currency.

  18. We’re I able to morph into one side or the other in this negotiation, I would invoke the old aphorism regarding tactical advantage in the borrower, lender, relationship. ” If I owe the lender, €1,000,000, and can’t pay, I’m in trouble, if I owe the lender, € 327,000,000,000, and can’t pay, the lender is in trouble. All I need, is a benignly concerned, trying hard not to be smug, countenance. :-)

  19. “All I need, is a benignly concerned, trying hard not to be smug, countenance. :-)”

    ——

    Well you know, if you can fake that you got it made, to borrow from Groucho…

  20. “We’re I able to morph into one side or the other in this negotiation, I would invoke the old aphorism regarding tactical advantage in the borrower, lender, relationship. ” If I owe the lender, €1,000,000, and can’t pay, I’m in trouble, if I owe the lender, € 327,000,000,000, and can’t pay, the lender is in trouble.”

    ———–

    Ah, but it’s not all about the money. The arguments are over things like forcing austerity agendas, or sometimes privatisation agendas, and over potentially exiting the Euro.

    I mean, the banks didn’t owe us a whole lot but we gave them tens of billions, took a stake, and then printed hundreds of billions more. Because didn’t want to risk the collapse of the banking system. The banking freeze-up took out 7% of the economy real quick despite rapid intervention.

    Which is what makes the discussion interesting – trying g to account for all the factors and second guess how the parties to the matter will deal with it.

  21. Colin: “If Tsipras gets a NO , I can’t see how the Troika can resist further concessions if they really want to keep Greece in the EZ.”

    Whether ‘they really want to keep Greece in the EZ’ is surely the key.

    It looks as if Greek negotiations have been based on game theory (Varoufakis’s speciality), which is fine between deadly opponents but not between colleagues seeking the most mutually advantageous outcome in a trust- and co-operation-based process.

    If Greece’s negotiating partners have reached the stage of exasperation with what they have come to perceive as Greek duplicity, then that overwhelming desire to keep Greece in the eurozone may have finally gone. I think that is indeed what’s happened; Tsipras obviously doesn’t.

  22. @Anthony

    Thank you very, very much indeed for this thread. These are truly awful times for Greece. That much is clear. What is less clear is how awful it is for the EZ.

    My broad sympathies lie with Syriza, because they’ve had the gumption to challenge the austerity fetish following the banking crisis and recession. They are also the only Greek government remotely placed to deal with the plutocrats and vested interests who crashed the country in the first place. The EZ’s open attempts to bring it down are (apologies for the direct language here, and for ignoring the comments policy) an outrage to democracy.

    The slow burn is going to be the fallout for the EU. The markets haven’t crashed this week. Russian warships have not docked in Piraeus. The Eurogroup thinks it has isolated the problem. It hasn’t. The democratic deficit is plain to see – ‘elections change nothing’ – and since the EU no longer stands for stability and prosperity, the threads holding it together will fray. It is clear now that the ECB is not a central bank in any meaningful sense, and that it is willing cause a banking collapse within its own system. I cannot think of any central bank that has ever done that as a matter of policy. That alone is a copper-bottomed reason for doubting the longevity and efficacy of the euro. The way Greece has been treated since Syriza’s election has caused an unexpected and painful U-turn for my own thoughts about the EU, not least our own referendum in 2017.

    If the Greek referendum goes ahead – and goodness only knows at this point – I’d forecast a narrow No. A large tranche of the Greek population is immune from scaremongering about how awful things will be outside the EZ. They are already awful within it. My thoughts and hopes are with the ordinary people of Greece who are being crushed by economic forces even their own government has no tools to confront, and there is no obvious end to this.

  23. The classic IMF routine has been to offer loans to countries in mess, like loans sharks that pursue the poorest in society.

    As the country struggles, the weight of the IMF forces countries to open markets to global forces, the sale of national assets to global corporations and so on.

    As several posters have mentioned, this is done over the heads of the democratic system.

    Greece are up against the wall and they have nothing to lose. I am pleased someone is actually standing up for people and against these international forces, which bully and coerce nations who can’t fight back to accept ‘reforms’ that suit global capitalism – a one size fits all solution.

  24. Syriza cave in coming -reckon Tspiras as decided the greeks will vote yes.

  25. SUNREADA

    If that is true Tsipras loses all credibility.

    What a farce-you get the impression that this “game theory” based strategy was just flying by the seat of their pants ?

  26. SOMERJOHN

    I get the impression that Varoufakis’s “speciality” is posing & preening .

    Is it ever a good idea to put academics in charge of managing anything which matters ?

  27. It is a long time ago that I pointed to evidence that Germany wanted to make a terrible example of Greece. If Germany was willing to go to any lengths to keep Greece on board then there would be sympatheic signs from other strugglers who might expect the same treatment but you will look in vain for this, I suggest.
    Just now Mr Renzi has said that Italy didn’t end early retirements so that Greece could keep their’s. Germany will have no hesitation to meet the demands of the tiddlers if they keep on message. Anyone who votes, though, in the referendum based on theories of bluffing or negotiating ploys will be horribly found out.
    I suspect Mr Shauble isn’t a big game theory enthusiast.

  28. CARFREW……I don’t possess the intellectual rigour, ( or depth ) to examine every angle and move, in the game, and I suspect neither do the players on the Greek side, to me they are a bunch of hustler’s on the make. They lied and cheated to gain access in the first place, now they are playing the game as the oppressed and exploited party, all their protestations don’t add up to a crock of s**t in my view, they are not victims, they are reaping what they have sown. They knew exactly what they were getting into, and exploited the gullibility of their neighbours to indulge in an unsustainable spending spree, presumably they will get away with it.

  29. @COLIN

    “If that is true Tsipras loses all credibility.
    What a farce-you get the impression that this “game theory” based strategy was just flying by the seat of their pants ?”

    ———–

    Game theory as practiced in the BBC article, is along the lines of the Prisoner’s dilemma. Thus it calculates the outcomes for Greece and the Eurozone under different scenarios.

    But in this instance, there’s the extra complicating factor of the Greek electorate, who, if they don’t really wanna leave, limit the Greek finance minister’s options in practice.

    Hence a referendum, to either get a mandate or to cover his arse. The EU negotiators don’t have quite the same democratic pressure. I doubt you or I will be out on the streets protesting if Greece leaves the Euro…

  30. @Ken

    It seems to me that neither side is necessarily 100% squeaky clean. Attempts to wholly defend one side or another are liable to struggle when tested against reality.

    In taking a look at such things, one can take as a reference point how each party might ideally behave, compare with reality, and use that difference to understand what’s really going on, and to predict.

  31. “I want to start the speech by quoting the Chairman of the EuroGroup Jeroen Dijssebloem who only two days ago said “you are mistaken if you think democracy is where one election result can change the way we work in the eurozone.”
    Indeed, Mr. Junker, you’re on record saying that “there can be no democratic choice against the European Union’s treaties.”
    Well that tells us all we really need to know, doesn’t it, about what the euro-fanatics think of democracy.
    And isn’t it ironic that you are destroying democracy in its very cradle – Greece?
    You have allowed Greece to enter a currency that it should never have been in.
    You have removed a democratically elected Prime Minister when he offered his country a way out through a referendum.
    You have imposed austerity that has taken the people of Greece to the brink. Yet you still shackle this great country with economic chains.
    To you I say: sovereignty and democracy in Greece are not yours to take. The Greeks have suffered enough.
    The battle lines are clear: It is the forces of democracy in Greece against the undemocratic forces of the European Union.
    To the Greek Parliament, I ask will the 300 stand firm?
    And to the people of Greece, I say be courageous and protect your birth right.
    You are the creators of democracy and now you must save it.
    Invoke the courage and spirit of your forefathers.
    Do not buckle, do not falter, do not give in.
    You are the defenders of democracy now, you are the nation of Homer, Plato and Aristotle, and if you stand your ground you will prevail and you will be a beacon of hope to us all.”

    So says Paul Nuttall, UKIP MEP, speaking in the European Parliament yesterday where he pledged his support for the Syriza Government and the Greek people. Delivered with an oratorical flourish too, and very difficult to argue with much of the content I don’t agree with a UK withdrawal from the EU, but our friend Mr Nuttall may prove to be a very interesting and powerful advocate for the No campaign in the forthcoming referendum. No man in suit, technocrat he and it’s good to see a politician who refuses to join the herd of ghouls pontificating about a nation and its people as if it was some Harvard Business School case study on banking theory.

  32. Lol, Crossbat’s fondness of the emotive in evidence again. I have experimented with emotive posts elsewhere in the past, and it was an easy way to get a lot of likes and recommends. Hundreds, thousands would spill one’s way. People responding to the emotions and passion in evidence, not the actual content.

    In reality of course, Nutall’s non-ghoulish evocations to flee the burning cauldron of the Eurozone will have real consequences however actuarial the calculations involved.

    Still, you can always imagine our posts as being suitably charged. “Friends, Lurkers, Crossbats!! Lend me your ears!! Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel? Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous metaphor, ask not for whom the bell tolls, it was the best of times, the worst of times, but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

  33. CB11

    Its a nice speech-but “Democracy” is the entitlement of Creditors , as well as Debtors.

    It is as valid-and just as fatuous- for some latter day Cleisthenes.to say ” I claim my democratic right not to lend you any more money” as to say ” I claim my democratic right not to repay what I owe you”.

    And anyway-Democracy in Ancient Greece isn’t a helpful model if you are a historian rather than a mere political rhetorician **

    I’m afraid this needs compromise & understanding by both Creditors & Debtor, rather than that troublesome child of Athenian Democracy-Demagoguery

    **”in Athens in the middle of the 4th century there were about 100,000 citizens (Athenian citizenship was limited to men and women whose parents had also been Athenian citizens), about 10,000 metoikoi, or “resident foreigners” and 150,000 slaves. Out of all those people, only male citizens who were older than 18 were a part of the demos, meaning only about 40,000 people could participate in the democratic process.”

    History.com

  34. One further complication in assessing Greek polls is that there may be considerable house effects between the different pollsters. If you look at the parliamentary polling since January’s election:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_Greek_legislative_election#Opinion_polls

    there is quite a difference between those pollsters that tend to show high SYRIZA-low ND (such as Public Issue) and low SYRIZA-high ND (such as Metrisi). Presumably this might also influence reaction to a referendum. Traditionally the Greek press is very polarised politically and it might be that papers tend to pick the pollsters who they hope will best reflect their views.

    I suspect we’ll see a lot of polling in the next few days – there are certainly enough polling companies around to do them – there are 13 in the list above who have produced polls in the five months since the election.

  35. @Colin

    “””
    I get the impression that Varoufakis’s “speciality” is posing & preening .
    “””

    Fair enough though, he is a good looking chap — if I was that pretty I’d want to show it off too!

    @Carfrew

    The esteemed ‘bat has rhetoric, that doesn’t mean that they do not have a point, of course.

    It’s curious that the lessons of previous local vs. supra-local political conflicts have not been learned — by my reading of the Scottish Independence referendum, the biggest problem was arrogance on both sides. There was the insufferable obliviousness of Nationalists claiming that independence could solve all problems, and the equally odious smugness of “UK knows best” from the other side. The result was the Independence movement doing much better than anyone might have expected.

    I see this mirrored in the Greek crisis; by playing to the home crowd the Syriza government have over-stated their case to the rest of the world and come across as detached from external realities. Likewise their creditors seem unwilling to acknowledge that the Greek people have overwhelmingly rejected the hard-line austerity approach to the problem. Foreign powers lining up to say “of course you should vote Yes, the alternative is unthinkable” (Juncker’s disastrous speech a prime example) does not help those making a case within the country.

    Aside from its historical importance, the result of this referendum will be a fascinating data point, especially if there are more polls to go beforehand.

  36. And on cue we have the next two (both linked via the referendum Wiki link above).

    Focus (who aren’t even one of the 13 mentioned in my previous post) give:

    Yes 37%, No 40%, DK 23%

    sample of 1084. They also report that 79% want to stay in the Eurozone.

    Palmos Analysis (who seem in the past to have produced rather SYRIZA-heavy figures):

    Yes 37%, NO 52%, DK 11%

    Rather bizarrely while all three pollsters who have produced post-bank closure figures have a different balance between No and DK, they all claim a figure of 37.0% for Yes.

  37. @Alisdair

    “The esteemed ‘bat has rhetoric, that doesn’t mean that they do not have a point, of course.”

    ——————–

    Well, I wouldn’t dispute that there’s an issue concerning the democracy thing. It’s just that in recognising the importance of that aspect, easy to then bypassing all the actuarial stuff by deciding the democracy thing is the only thing that matters, and all the economics and banking is just ghoulish and stuff.

    In reality though, the banking thing has real visceral impacts on people’s lives, as Greek limited to withdrawing a few Euros at a time at the mo’ are finding out. Which may in turn have some impact on how they poll over the referendum.

    Still… “Neither a wise nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him; whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons. I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor food; I offer only hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death. We shall never surrender… Damn the torpedoes, once more unto the breach, no good decision was ever made in a swivel chair.”

  38. Merkel she say No -EU clearly trying to get rid of Syriza.

    Bookies go 4/11 yes,9/4 No so that would be resignation for me laddo.Then a techno crat imposed by Brussels to do their dirty work and a new election which will probably re-elect me laddo mark 2.

    Game theory more like heads up poker going all in.

  39. CROSSBAT11

    As Carfrew say’s good strong emotive stuff. I especially liked:-

    “Well that tells us all we really need to know, doesn’t it, about what the euro-fanatics think of democracy.”

    Seems to me, as a Europhobe that is a very good reason for the UK to leave the EU as quickly as possible.

  40. @Colin & Sunreada

    “What a farce-you get the impression that this “game theory” based strategy was just flying by the seat of their pants?”

    Actually this whole thing would have been predicted by game theory. The standard game is the Prisoner’s Dilemma, so named because the best outcome is where both people cooperate, and yet they end up defecting. It works like this:

    You and a friend are caught committing a crime. You’re put in separate cells, there’s enough to convict you of the crime on a lesser offence, but not for the maximum offence. The police then give you this choice – if you both keep silent and receive 3 years in prison, or confess and you go free, but your friend receives 7 years. If you both confess, however if you both confess than you both get 5 years in prison (and presumably lose the friendship).

    In this scenario, the best outcome for both of you is to stay silent (3 years), however the best outcome, individually is to defect (0 years), and the worst outcome is to stay silent and your friend confesses (7 years). The ‘rational’ strategy is then to confess (or defect) because you either go free, or get 5 years (which is worse than 3 years, but better than 7).

    In this Greek scenario you just change the terms to ‘cave in’ and ‘stand firm’ and bobs your uncle. The best option would be for both to ‘cave in’ and so get a workable compromise that suits both sides better, but if one ‘caves in’ and the other doesn’t then they end up with the worst deal for themselves individually, or,, on the other side, the best deal individually. The ‘rational’ strategy is then to stand firm in the hope that the other side ‘caves in’ (and get all you want), or protect yourself from getting the worst deal. The predictable result is the current mess, with neither side willing to give an inch, even though the plans are very similar (The Greek plan just places the burden on tax rises, whereas the Troika plan places it on budget cuts).

    You can, of course, debate how ‘rational’ all of this really is.

  41. ANARCHISTS UNITE

    “The Greek plan just places the burden on tax rises, whereas the Troika plan places it on budget cuts).”

    That’s exactly why the Greek plan was rejected. They are and always have been absolutely useless at raising taxes.

  42. In general I think it is worth remembering the phrase: ‘Economics is not a morality play’.

    Yes we may want to punish those lying, cheating, scheming Greeks for having the temerity to do what all the other countries were doing in spending like there was no tomorrow, and getting help from bank advisers and generous European accountants to fudge the numbers to get them into the euro zone, but that does not make it sound, or sensible, economics.

  43. @TOH

    “That’s exactly why the Greek plan was rejected. They are and always have been absolutely useless at raising taxes.”

    Yes but one of the planks Syriza was running on was precisely in improving the states tax collecting powers and getting rid of the corruption in the system. The Troika also want them to do that but, as Syriza have rather fairly pointed out, they cannot simultaneously improve their tax collection, whilst having to reduce the number of administrators and tax collectors. Hence why they were, and are, arguing for a reduction in the target surplus they have to achieve and a longer grace period – to give them the time and resources to reformulate the state operation and make it more efficient.

  44. ANARCHISTS UNITE

    They can increase the number of tax collectors by making cuts elsewhere.

  45. Greeks non payment of tax is where the uk is heading of course-as lord fink said” everybody does it”.Only one politician was trying to do something about that tho osborne and cameron are very alive to the politics of it all and ironically may do more than blair ,brown ,mandelson,darling and balls ever did.

    But the cynical drip drip drip promoting cynicism with politicians is working here and in the rest of europe too.Fortunately balls kept us out the euro so we have options.

  46. I hope I am not guilty of believing economics is a morality play. But I know politics is the art of the possible.
    Germany has ruthlessly used the link with weaker economies to maintain a low value currency allowing it to become the world’s biggest exporter. However it is Germany to which these poorer countries have to turn for loans if they need them. This gives Germany the advantage. In terms of game theory there is no doubt who are the prisoners! JM Keynes knew enough not to march around belittling Americans in the 1940s and H Wilson had to explain to his cabinet colleagues that he was not going to kick his American creditors in the balls.
    The truth seems to be that the Germans (and many others) are quite sanguine about the losses they will have to sustain but believe it is well worth it to set a horrifying example. In UK history it is a bit like the famous execution of an admiral. It did rather encourage the others. The latest news seems to be that the Greek government are giving the impression of caving in but we will see.

  47. The problem with tax collection in Greece is not the rich. That has never happened. It is the taxation of everyone.

  48. Shauble actually offered to send I think 100 000 tax collectors to Greece but I don’t think it went down well

  49. It was a much smaller number but 160 volunteered!

  50. Barney thats where we are heading and if anything its what voters aspire to.

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