Yanis varoufakis

No more echo chambers: the internet’s best left-wing thinkers

As culture and politics become ever more polarised, it’s tempting to retreat into the reassuring hum of our own echo chambers and positive feedback loops. But this reluctance to engage with ‘the other side’ can only corrode civil discourse. As regular readers of The Spectator will know, listening to opposing views in good faith allows us to test our convictions, or as Bertrand Russell put it, ‘those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.’  In these hyper-partisan times, it’s not surprising perhaps that there are so few platforms where opposing intellectual heavyweights can go head to head — who

The Spectator Podcast: Carry on Brexit

On this week’s episode we’re looking at the Brexit situation as 2017 draws to a close. We’ll also be marvelling at all the wondrous, and infuriating, jargon to come from our EU withdrawal, and asking whether British aristocrats are being seduced by the new ‘glamocracy’. First up: the days might be getting shorter, but the crises faced by Britain’s Brexit negotiations seem never-ending. Ireland has been the sticking point this week, compounding a torrid month for Theresa May. Her task is Herculean, writes James Forsyth in this week’s magazine cover story, not because she herself is Hercules, but because her tasks are getting more and more difficult. Will the EU ever

The strange death of left-wing Euroscepticism

Jeremy Corbyn’s eye-swivelling about-face on the EU – he once wanted to leave, now he wants to stay – has become a source of mirth for Eurosceptics and a sign of hope for Europhiles. To the anti-EU lobby, the fact that Corbyn voted against staying in the common market in the 1975 referendum and against EU treaties as an MP, yet now wants us all to vote to stay in, shows what a slippery character he is. For the Brussels-loving brigade it confirms that even the most heathen of EU haters can see the light. The ‘sinner who repents’ – actual words used in the Guardian‘s editorial on the newly

Yanis Varoufakis distances himself from Jeremy Corbyn

Oh dear. This week Jeremy Corbyn claimed that Yanis Varoufakis would advise Labour in ‘some capacity’. However, whatever capacity that will be, the message doesn’t appear to have got through to Varoufakis. After a week in which the former Syriza MP and Greek finance minister has been made fun of by senior Tories over the arrangement, Varoufakis seems to be at pains to play down any such role. In an interview with CNBC, Varoufakis states that he is not advising Corbyn — ‘I’m a full time active politician. As such, I could not be advising another politician’. Instead he says he is just talking to ‘anyone who wants to talk to me’. ‘So, I am talking to

Jeremy Corbyn hires Yanis Varoufakis to advise Labour

Given that one of the major findings of the Beckett report into Labour’s general election loss was that the party were not trusted with the economy, it’s safe to say that John McDonnell has his work cut out when it comes to winning back voters on this issue. So, the latest individual to be appointed as an advisor to the party makes for a rather curious choice. Step forward Yanis Varoufakis. Yes, the former Syriza MP and Greek finance minister — who resigned from his role during negotiations for an EU bailout for the debt-ridden country — has been selected to advise Labour in ‘some capacity’. Speaking to the Islington Tribune, Jeremy Corbyn explained

Revolutionaries? Podemos belong to the ivory tower, not to the masses

If you hear any of your friends refer to the rise of Podemos in Spain as a revolution, please buy them a dictionary for Christmas. For far from representing the sweeping aside of the political establishment by a new, angry class in society — which is what a revolution is — the success of Podemos speaks to the emergence of simply a different kind of political elite. Let’s call them politico-academics, former inhabitants of the ivory tower, who are armed with PhDs rather than cudgels, and who are more likely to install a Dictatorship of the Professors than a Dictatorship of the Proletariat. This isn’t to distract from the enormity of what has

Why Yanis Varoufakis is right about George Osborne’s fauxsterity

Not often that I’d be inclined to agree with Syriza, but Yanis Varoufakis had a point last night when he questioned the degree of austerity that has happened in Britain. The Conservatives talk a good game, he said, but George Osborne’s cuts pretty much stopped after year one. I’m going to give a compliment to George Osborne and the Tory government. It’s going to create some consternation in the Tory part. He hasn’t really practiced austerity, he has talked about austerity and it didn’t work. He killed of the nascent recovery after 2009 with the little bit of austerity he did, but he stopped it.” The below figures, drawn from

The problem with Corbyn’s hatred of the media

The new leader walks across a bridge, in the dark, while the journalist asks him questions. He’s not shouting, this journalist; not like Michael Crick would be, all smug of face while shrieking ‘Isn’t it true you’re a terrible dickhead?’ None of that. Even so, the leader says not a word. He stares ahead, face stony, furious and fixed. Clip-clop go his feet. For two minutes. There’s a video. For two actual minutes. WATCH: This is what happened when I tried to ask #Corbyn about shadow cabinet. He accuses me of “bothering” him. pic.twitter.com/uyqQdwXYu3 — Darren McCaffrey (@DMcCaffreySKY) September 14, 2015 This was Jeremy Corbyn, being trailed across Westminster Bridge

Do Nikkei and the FT really share the same journalistic values?

It’s nearly 30 years since I worked in Japan, but I still have a few words of the language and a certain idea of how the place worked. The role of the business press, for example, was to trumpet export successes of Japanese corporations, and not to report shenanigans in which securities firms boosted prices of selected shares by pushing them to housewife investors, to generate campaign funds for favoured politicians. So I’m curious how the Financial Times will fare under its new owner Nikkei, the very Japanese media group that has paid £844 million to acquire the world’s most prestigious business title. Has the culture changed since my day?

Degrees in disaster

So farewell, Yanis Varoufakis. You used to be Greece’s finance minister. Then you resigned, or were you sacked? You took control of the Greek economy six months ago when it was growing. Yes, honestly! Growth last year ran at 0.8 per cent, with forecasts of 3 per cent this year. The government had a primary budget surplus. Unemployment was falling. Until you came along. Varoufakis was a product of British universities. He read economics at Essex and mathematical statistics at Birmingham, returning to Essex to do a PhD in economics. With the benefit of his British university education he returned to Greece and, during his short time in office, obliterated the

A beginner’s guide to Euroscepticism

As a long-time Eurosceptic, I should be happy about the Johnny-Come-Latelys now swelling the sceptic ranks. Following Euro-institutions’ wicked treatment of Greece, many European liberals have finally realised that Brussels might not be the hotbed of liberalism, internationalism and bunny rabbits they thought it was. So, bit by bit, they’re becoming the thing they once looked down upon, the thing they once forcefielded their dinner parties against: Eurosceptics. But I’m not feeling very welcoming to these latter-day doubters, currently live-tweeting their Euro-existential angst and clogging their newspaper columns with tortured questions about whether the EU really is a ‘great achievement of enlightened internationalism’. (Answer: no, you donuts.) For two reasons.

High life | 9 July 2015

Wow, what a week. London may be bad for one’s health, but it sure makes it fun on the way to where we’re all going. I’m determined not to mention Greece — too much has been written about my poor country, most of it quite nice — so I will stick to London in general and The Spectator in particular. It began with a nostalgic party for about 28 chez George and Lita Livanos, childhood friends, in their treasure-filled house in Mayfair. A drunken lunch in a St James’s club followed, five old buddies reminiscing about the days when hangovers didn’t register. Then it was on to The Spectator’s summer

Charles Moore

Left-wing Eurosceptics are finally starting to reveal themselves

Even if everything goes wronger still, the Greek No vote is a great victory for the left. Until now, the left has not mounted a serious challenge to the claims of the EU. It is extraordinary how it has been cowed. The single currency, especially a single currency without a ‘social dimension’ and political union, is the classic ‘bankers’ ramp’ against which the left always used to inveigh. It is a huge collective device to put banks before workers, if necessary reducing the latter to poverty. Greece is an almost perfect example of this, with the rescue designed to save European banks, not Greek people. More than a quarter of

The Greeks haven’t exactly got negotiations off to a good start

Eurozone leaders are holding a summit later today to discuss the Greeks’ proposal for dealing with their debt that was to be put before the Eurogroup this afternoon. But that summit might be a tad short. The Greeks haven’t turned up with any new ideas. They have instead made an oral presentation, and may table a paper tomorrow. If this is true, then it hardly gets the new negotiations off to a good start. It had looked yesterday as though Syriza was keen to give it another shot by removing Yanis Varoufakis as finance minister at the behest of the Eurogroup, but on his first full day in the job,

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis resigns

If Greece had voted ‘Yes’ to the austerity package proposed by its creditors, then there would have been a round of resignations at the top of Syriza. But this morning, even though the party is celebrating a ‘No’ vote, its finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has resigned. Writing on his blog, he explains that in order for the country to get a good deal that it can accept, he needs to let someone else take over: ‘Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister

High life | 11 June 2015

There’s nothing to add to Martin Vander Weyer’s item about Hellas of two weeks ago in these here pages except a Yogi Berra pearl, ‘It ain’t over till it’s over.’ The Greek drama will go on and on until the brinkmanship is exhausted. The EU has blinked, as I thought it would. Although Greek accounting arabesques have been known to shame the Bolshoi — Goldman Sachs taught the modern Hellenes how to legally cook the books and screw Brussels, something we are now paying the price for — we Greeks have contributed a few things apart from cheating and not paying our taxes. As Michael Daley wrote in a letter

My nominee for politician of the year: the honourable member for Athens B

After the heat of battle: the accolades, the recriminations, the telling of history by the victors. It’s six months early for our Parliamentarian of the Year shortlist, but my nominee for this year’s top award is… the honourable member (or one of them) for the constituency of Athens B, Yanis Varoufakis. Last week, the grandstanding Greek finance minister was declared to have been ‘sidelined’ from his nation’s on-the-brink debt negotiations, following a more than usually stormy meeting with fellow European finance ministers in Riga. ‘They are unanimous in their hate for me; and I welcome their hatred,’ he tweeted, quoting Franklin Roosevelt. How we journalists sighed at the prospect of

Switch over to the Greek debt drama: the final episode must be coming shortly

Bored with the election? Switch over to the Greek debt drama. In this week’s cliffhanger, silver-tongued finance minister Yanis Varoufakis visited IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Sunday, promised to meet his country’s obligations ‘ad infinitum’, and was expected to meet a €450 million repayment to the IMF on Thursday. But more troublesome members of the ruling Syriza party denounced the IMF and Brussels for treating Greece as ‘a colony’, threatening a snap election ‘if creditors insist on an inflexible line’, and warning that public-sector salaries and social security payments must rank ahead of debt as cash runs out. Which it will before August. Greece’s tax collections are so feeble, its

Where Alcibiades once walked, amateur tax spies are trying to entrap poor pistachio-sellers

 Athens I am walking on a wide pedestrian road beneath the Acropolis within 200 meters of the remaining Themistoclean wall and the ancient cemetery to eminent Athenians. One side is lined with splendid neoclassical houses, none of them abandoned but most of them shuttered and locked up. This is the area where once upon a time Pericles, Themistocles and Alcibiades — to name three — trod, orated and debated non-stop. Back in those good old days we Athenians ruled supreme. Reason, logic and restraint placed us at the head of the queue, and genius also helped. I am climbing to the Pnyx, where Themistocles rallied his fellow citizens to defy

Once upon a time I was very proud to be Greek. But no more

Gstaad A naked, very good-looking young man skied down the mountain evoking shrieks of laughter and admiration from the hundred or so skiers lining the slopes. He turned out to be J.T., my son, and it was an act of protest against the mind-numbing conversation about titles among some at the Eagle club. A friend had skied ahead and was waiting for him at the bottom with a blanket. Needless to say, it became the subject du jour, and someone even filmed young women cheering the streaking skier as he shussed his way down at record speed. His naked run to glory succeeded in getting the subject changed up at