Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Minister for Finance, speaking at a press conference in Berlin on 5 February 2015:
“As finance minister in a government facing from day one emergency circumstances caused by a savage debt deflationary crisis, I feel that the German nation is the one nation in Europe that can understand us better than anyone else.
No-one understands better than the people of this land how a severely depressed economy, combined with a ritual national humiliation and unending hopelessness can hatch the serpent’s egg within its society.
When I return home tonight, I will find myself in a parliament in which the third-largest party is not a neo-Nazi party, it is a Nazi party.”
West Germany received debt relief in 1953, yet now seeks to deny it to the rest of Europe. The policies of the German government of Mrs Merkel reminds me of the British Government’s hypocrisy in the Great Depression: insisting that Australian Federal and State Governments continue to pay all interest and loans owed to British lenders, while at the same time seeking debt relief for British loans from American creditors. Every Australian economist, including no doubt the former Sydney University academic Dr Varoufakis, knows the name of Sir Otto Niemeyer, bullying representative of colonial rapacity.
Niemeyer came first in the 1906 British Civil Service entrance examination in which John Maynard Keynes came second, according to Richard Davenport-Hines’ fine new biography of Keynes.