Playing the maids of honour

first_img• As someone with some professional experience as an interpreter, I’d like to publicly express my sympathy towards the poor, unlucky soul who had to translate one of the most Greek expressions that came out of Alexis Tsipras’ mouth. • “We won’t be playing the maids of honour”. Anyone not familiar with Greece will struggle to understand this metaphor for ‘stop playing games’. We can only hope that president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, was spared the phrase, or maybe that he was treated a little cultural lesson, regarding small young girls playing with dolls and setting up tea. • In the Greek PM’s defence, it was Mr Tusk that had mouthed the ominous phrase “Game over”, during the now legendary negotiations, almost two years ago, that led to a spectacular failure and the complete about-face of the Greek government and Tsipras himself. • Who can forget that time, when Tsipras went to Brussels as a defiant leftist leader, fighting against austerity, only to return a moderate centre-left PM, surrendering to the will of the country’s lenders and applying the austerity measures he was once fighting against?• Tsipras himself might not. So maybe this phrase was a chance for him to return the insult, thus responding to the delaying tactic of the lenders, once again threatening to stop the bailout review talks and deprive Greece from the funds it desperately needs. • Maids of honour aside, it’s yet unclear which side is playing games. Tsipras called for an emergency EU summit meeting if the Eurogroup failed to reach an agreement on the bailout review, but later that night, he stepped back on his ‘threat’, apparently because he is simply not in a position to call an EU summit meeting. • According to some pundits and analysts, this is all an act. Alexis Tsipras once again plays the role of the roaring lion, taking a hard stance against the country’s creditors, while having already agreed to the bailout terms which, according to what we know so far, to slashing social security spending by one per cent of GDP in 2019 as well as further reforms in worker rights legislation. • This will allow him to save face as someone who stood up to the creditors, told them off for delaying and came back victorious, bearing funds, to the country. • But what if he’s not playing this game? What if he’s playing the other game, the game of chicken that seems to have been part of negotiations for the past couple of years? What if he wants to threaten Europe? What if he wants to threaten with elections (and political instability)? What if he actually wants elections and what if he secretly wants to lose elections? What if he simply just doesn’t want to be the centre-right Papandreou parody he is at the moment and goes back to being a carefree leftist, marching against globalisation and singing protest songs by the campfire?• Under this light, the motion of 38 Syriza MPs to call for the legalisation of free camping takes on another meaning. • Because this is the most Syriza thing the Syriza MPs have called for. • Nothing says ‘young eco-friendly leftist’ than setting up a tent on a remote place by the seaside and spending a week, a month, all summer there. It is in these campsites, around these campfires, singing Manu Chao songs (and that Che Guevarra anthem) that Tsipras and co emerged as leaders. • He may want to return to this. • With Greek summer approaching, who can blame him? Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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