'Former' Trot Paul Mason was back in Greece for last night's Newsnight, talking again to the Greek Far Left.
We heard from all manner of leftist strikers, agitators and students, and Paul talked up the risk of severe unrest, even revolution. He was clearly in his element.
He then went on to very briefly interview George Alogoskoufis, finance minister of the previous conservative New Democracy government, adopting an accusatory tone and blaming his party alone for the crisis. (He'd absolved the 'social democrat' PASOK from blame earlier in the report, despite their long periods in office throughout the last thirty years.)
This was extraordinary stuff, complete with its incidental talk of 'posh people' and their 'Gucci' culture. Citizen Smith ('Power to the people!') would surely have compiled a report just like this one!
I was surprised to hear someone on PM last week (I can't remember who) stating that, contrary to the impresson Mason has been giving during the last couple of weeks, the Greek public is broadly understanding and largely supportive of strong austerity measures. A little research shows this to be true:
Greek Polls Register Public Support For Austerity Measures
A number of public opinion polls released over the weekend showed increased public support for the Greek government’s reform measures as it tries to shape the country’s struggling public finances.
As Dow Jones Newswires reports, four separate polls show public approval for tough measures at a rate that exceeds 60%, and in some cases, they even register support for harsher reforms, while also showing relatively little support for recent farmer protests or upcoming strikes by civil servants.
In a poll in Sunday’s To Vima newspaper, 64.1% of participants say the reforms are in the "right direction" while 64.3% note that the measures were necessary.
In a separate poll for Sunday newspaper Proto Thema, between 54.6% and 71.4% of respondants supported for different specific measures ranging from a freeze on public sector wages, to an increase in the retirement age and an increase in the fuel tax.
A poll conducted for the Saturday edition of financial daily Imerisia shows that 68.9% of the public think the measures are necessary for the country to emerge from the crisis.
A poll for Skai radio and television shows that 62% of the public opinion believes the government is capable of dealing with the crisis and 60% say that the three-year austerity plan will deliver.
You would have thought that Paul Mason might have mentioned this, if only in passing. I've been listening to him on this subject very carefully, and I can't recall him ever mentioning this. His far-Left 'past' probably makes him deaf to this sort of (for him) unwelcome news.
In fairness to Mr Mason, his blog covers the same story in much greater detail and does (briefly) mention those opinion polls that show support for austerity measures.