This is our truth, tell us yours
By the time you read this, the political situation in Greece will almost certainly have changed.
Broadly speaking, we have been here before.
In the UK, in 1977, the Labour government capitulated to the IMF imposed austerity. The narrative fallacy of Thatcherism representing a break with the past in the imposition of monetarism deformed a whole generation of the British left, because they failed to recognise that there was a consensus between the right of the Labour Party and Thatcherism.
That in turn led to a narrative fallacy of betrayal around the emergence of the SDP.
In turn that gave way to a narrative fallacy about Blairism, that it was some kind of aberration.
If you put Blair, Jenkins and Callaghan in a room together, whilst Blair and Jenkins might be sniffy about Callaghan’s manners or social conservatism, the truth is that politically they would be in agreement. Whisper it quietly, but John Smith might not find too much to disagree with either, and Donald Dewar would fit right in so long as no-one enjoyed themselves too much.
What has this got to do with Greece?
Simply that Alex Tsipras and his team have played a brave and principled hand. Faced with the flint souled financiers of the IMF and the troika, they have reasserted their democratic mandate, and called a referendum. In the process they have sought to retain and reassure their support, even as they have been attacked from all sides.
I’m not persuaded Tsipras will win. I am persuaded that he would be out of place in that room full of Labour Prime Ministers, that he has made the case for leftist social democracy, even as we need to recognise that it’s too late to make the case for a left social democracy when it’s five to midnight and the IMF’s bailiffs are at the door.