This is at the heart of two matters that are at play. The mere notion that change will do anything definite is just a laughing matter. Yet, it is not laughter at the people trying to do this; it is about the next two cogs of grinding that will halt it all. The first issue is Greece. There had been little doubt on Alexis Tsipras winning this, I was holding my breath in favour of Antonis Samaras winning, but it was never overly realistic. The problem is what will happen now. The direct issue is that none have been able to deal with Greek corruption in any way, shape or form. The fact that Kostas Vaxevanis and not those dodging Greek taxation ended up in a courtroom in 2013 is still additional cause for concern. Can we agree that as Greece has not been able to do ANYTHING about the mounting debts from 2009 onwards, a massive change must be made! It goes hand in hand with the quote we see in the Guardian “Priti Patel, Conservative MP in Westminster, just told Sky News that Greece’s economic problems are “a stark reminder that we should never join the euro”“, I will take it one step further, if Alexis Tsipras is not massively careful on what he does next, the downward curve (curve, not spiral) of the Euro will only fuel both British UKIP and French Front Nationale even further, it could also force the German people to feel pressure to leave the Euro in a failing attempt to bolster their diminished fortunes. It is a failing notion because no matter what happens next, those under the Euro will take a hard hit over the next 2 weeks, whatever bolstering will happen, it will only aid the super wealthy and only short term as they recap their non-tied down wealth as I personally see it.
The biggest issue remains corruption and tax evasion in Greece, no matter who comes next, without dealing with those two elements is simply selling a fairy tail (pun intended) to the Greek voters. This is at the heart of Zoe Williams piece that I disagree with (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/25/syriza-uk-left-labour), the title is already a bit of an issue for me ‘Syriza stood up to the money men – the UK left must do the same‘, which money men are you referring to Zoe? The artful tax dodgers, who are partly to blame for the entire mess, yet no one has the cajones (or any jurisprudential power) to actually prosecute? Or are they the people holding the debts? Let’s not forget that governments got ‘assistance’ under the strict rule of austerity, a promise never kept, because none of these politicians will do anything about them Greek artful tax dodgers.
There is also another side, the fact that less than 2100 Greeks have this much money in unpaid tax debts seems simply ludicrous to me (the Kostas Vaxevanis list of 2100 naughty Greeks), so I wonder how much spending should have been cut for over half a decade, so again we get to Alexis Tsipras, who would need to cut massive spending, for the mere reason that there is no money coming into the coffers. Yet, within the article Zoe wrote, there is a gem, it is out there in the open and it has been there for a long time: “Ukip is often saying something similar to the Greens: business interests aren’t everything. That’s a reality that the majority feels, but that you never hear described; that’s how the Greens overtook the Liberal Democrats, while all eyes were on Ukip“, when we see ‘business interests aren’t everything‘ we need to realise that this is not just corporate greed, it is a majority of corporate greed signs that have been rampant on a global scale. The issue of a 15% board of director’s wealth growth in a 2% margin world; how was that ever a sustainable situation? It is also the deadly option Alexis Tsipras might opt for. As Greece becomes a possible tax shelter ‘for a fee’, to allow for closed bank account details under limited donation of revenue (all for the people approach) where we see the next waves. Global corporations will love the coming step (if it happens), a non-accountable 0.3% tax account, each coming with its own island. It will anger the American IRS (and State Department) to no extent, it will drive the IMF into entirely new problems and the rest of Europe will see a shift of fund flows. This is all assumption (read speculation) on my side, but it could work for Greece, for a very short time. I reckon that this step, if taken, might have one massive obstacle, that would be assuring that another Kostas Vaxevanis list never surfaces, so when you see any announcement on the new Apple iOlympian or the new Google Nexus ‘Theíos’, then you know that Greece will be embracing new tax free shores. The question now is not, what is the solution, but what options are actually open?
We can accept the statement from Professor Christopher Pissarides from the London School of Economics “Greece’s debt pile is simply too high for the country to return to growth and services its borrowing”, in addition, we can accept the words of Yanis Varoufakis MP “Grexit is not on the cards, we will not go to Brussels in a spirit of confrontation. There is plenty of room for mutual benefit”, this all sounds fine, but if no one is actually actively dealing with the list of 2100 of Kostas Vaxevanis you tend to not have that many options, which means you need a decently strict austerity regime, the one issue that got them elected by disposing of.
What is the option of change?
Well, with my law education, I do have another path for Greece, yet, it is an uneven path, but it could be a long term salvation if it works. Now, feel free to object to the notion and if you are a law professional, than those remarks will be met with my personal investigation. So here is the premise!
Issue: The levels of corruption within Greece are beyond several layers of acceptability. We all acknowledge, that any nation will have a level of corruption, however, what can be done to stem the tide in a novel way.
Solution: As the current legal system is in such disarray, the mess will evolve from bad to worse. We might state that it had gone from worse to unsustainable, so what if we change the premise altogether? What if the new Greece will implement a new legal system from a common law system? Instead of making their civil law more draconian, with of course the added danger of more loop holes, what if Greece evolved into a Common Law nation? It will still be based upon Greek constitution and Greek values, but will come with a few centuries of English jurisprudential evolution. The benefit is that it does not need to happen overnight, but can be structured to deal with the tax laws and criminal law (corruption, fraud and such) first. You see, if there is no faith in the Greek courts, would it not make sense to evolve the justice system (this is a choice of words; this does not indicate that a civil law system is less evolved than a common law system).
It seems that the evolving flexibility of common law is exactly what Greece needs, no matter how good the law is regarded now in Greece; it has failed a nation and its people. This is at the unspoken heart of several issues. There is ample concern on such changes too; the big issue is that no matter how the Greeks feel at present, there is enough concern that Alexis Tsipras is not the new hope, he will be their last hope, because if no solution grows now, Greece will be finished, that much is clear. The reported word from several nations, in many publications is all about reforms. Greek journalist Nick Malkoutzis from the Kathimerini English Edition stated today “Syriza’s top priority should be to reform the justice system, the civil service and the tax-collection operations, to show Eurozone allies he is serious”. He is one of many voices stating issues in this direction. Yet, reforming a justice system is also wrought with the dangers they get when new legislation is passed. It sounds good in theory, but such reforms tend to be time consuming ones and that is one element Greece no longer has. It has been sustaining on borrowed time too long and those holding the debt papers are out of patience (loss of profit will do that to these people). So will common law be good or bad for Greece? I personally do not know, but the current system is not working and so far, the failed system has not been overhauled or tested since the 2009 collapse, which makes the issue more pressing, so as Alexis Tsipras claims it is turning a page, will it be for better or for a lot worse for Greece and for the Greek people. Only time will tell.