Skip to main content

"You say that like it's a bad thing."

Yanis Varoufakis

Greek politics. The left-wing party Syriza, which took office as the result of a populist revolt against pressure from the northern European powers, and especially Germany, and as a rebellion against the perceived willingness of earlier Greek governments to bow before that pressure ... that party, in office, has bowed, in a big way, to just that pressure. That's a short history of recent Greek politics and a primer in why a civil war is now underway in Syriza.

Former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (pictured here) has now taken to criticizing his former boss, prime minister Alexis Tsipras.

But here's the reason I'm writing about the subject just now. On Monday of this week, YV said that AT had become "the new DeGaulle." Press reports say that this insult constitutes a new level of acrimony between the two men, indicative of the depth of the intra-Syria split.

Really? If I were called a new DeGaulle I'd probably feel flattered. Churchill and Roosevelt found him an annoying ally, but that was in essence because they would have preferred a more tame French lapdog as a figurehead for the French resistance. He wouldn't be their lapdog. And doesn't that fact undermine YV's point?

What aspect of DeGaulle's career gives point to the use of this as a gibe?


Popular posts from this blog

A Story About Coleridge

This is a quote from a memoir by Dorothy Wordsworth, reflecting on a trip she took with two famous poets, her brother, William Wordsworth, and their similarly gifted companion, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

We sat upon a bench, placed for the sake of one of these views, whence we looked down upon the waterfall, and over the open country ... A lady and gentleman, more expeditious tourists than ourselves, came to the spot; they left us at the seat, and we found them again at another station above the Falls. Coleridge, who is always good-natured enough to enter into conversation with anybody whom he meets in his way, began to talk with the gentleman, who observed that it was a majestic waterfall. Coleridge was delighted with the accuracy of the epithet, particularly as he had been settling in his own mind the precise meaning of the words grand, majestic, sublime, etc., and had discussed the subject with William at some length the day before. “Yes, sir,” says Coleridge, “it is a majestic wate…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

Hume's Cutlery

David Hume is renowned for two pieces of cutlery, the guillotine and the fork.

Hume's guillotine is the sharp cut he makes between "is" statements and "ought" statements, to make the point that the former never ground the latter.

His "fork" is the division between what later came to be called "analytic" and "synthetic" statements, with the ominous observation that any books containing statements that cannot be assigned to one or the other prong should be burnt.

Actually, I should acknowledge that there is some dispute as to how well or poorly the dichotomy Hume outlines really maps onto the analytic/synthetic dichotomy. Some writers maintain that Hume meant something quite different and has been hijacked. Personally, I've never seen the alleged difference however hard they've worked to point it out to me.

The guillotine makes for a more dramatic graphic than a mere fork, hence the bit of clip art above.

I'm curious whe…