austerity

Now that parties supporting cuts are losing elections across Europe, I wonder if the British Labour Party will consider a policy of opposing cuts.

At the moment, they sort of oppose them, so if the government announces 200 libraries are closing next Wednesday morning, Labour says: "This is typical of this callous administration. They ought to wait until the afternoon."

The victory of Socialist Party (PS) candidate Francois Hollande in the French presidential election on May 6 set off a wave of hope across Europe. On May 9, the Spanish government announced that it was nationalising the country’s fourth biggest bank, Bankia, to keep it from collapsing.

What do these seemingly unrelated events have to do with each other?

Enormous expectations are being loaded onto the shoulders of the former French PS national secretary. In recession-stricken Spain, Portugal and Greece, people hope he will put Europe’s economies on a path to growth and job-creation.

The results of the May 6 elections in Greece sent a message that has been heard around the world: Working people want an end to the austerity agenda that has plunged Greece's economy into depression and slashed living standards everywhere.

The highlight of the vote was the result for the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), a broad left party. SYRIZA came second with 17%, ahead of the social democratic PASOK (13%) and just behind the conservative New Democracy (ND ― 19%).

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“Right Greece, up against that wall over there. Here, put that blindfold on... what’s that? No you can’t have a last fucking cigarette, you are too broke. You flogged your last pack off to Goldman Sachs.”

If the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was honest, this is how its press releases would read when describing the brutal austerity the “troika” of the IMF, European Union and European Central Bank demands from Greece in return for funds to stop the country going bankrupt.

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