Our plans to seek exile in Cornwall have been muddied by Brexit, and Yanis Varoufakis is keeping me informed about it.
The six Brexit traps that will defeat Theresa May
Two years ago Yanis Varoufakis led Greece’s failed attempt to negotiate with the EU. He explains how the Brussels establishment will do everything to frustrate and outmanoeuvre the British prime minister, using tactics ranging from truth reversal to ‘the Penelope ruse’
On the same topic, a reminder:
Superlative current events panel discussion: "Brexit: An unorthodox view," with Yanis Varoufakis, Srećko Horvat and Elif Shafak.
I consider this absolutely essential viewing for anyone interested in learning numerous themes (generally) specific to the UK and the EU, but at the same time applicable to current events in America. Yes, it's 90 minutes. I'd say it's worth an hour and a half for context alone, and recommend especially to local Democrats.
This brings us to Varoufakis's new book.
Adults in the Room by Yanis Varoufakis review – one of the greatest political memoirs ever? by Paul Mason (The Guardian)
The leftwing Greek economist and former minister of finance tells a startling story about his encounter with Europe’s ‘deep establishment’
Yanis Varoufakis once bought me a gin and tonic. His wife once gave me a cup of tea. While dodging my questions, as finance ministers are obliged to, he never once told me an outright lie. And I’ve hosted him at two all-ticketed events. I list these transactions because of what I am about to say: that Varoufakis has written one of the greatest political memoirs of all time. It stands alongside Alan Clark’s for frankness, Denis Healey’s for attacks on former allies, and – as a manual for exploring the perils of statecraft – will probably gain the same stature as Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon B Johnson.
Yet Varoufakis’s account of the crisis that has scarred Greece between 2010 and today also stands in a category of its own: it is the inside story of high politics told by an outsider. Varoufakis began on the outside – both of elite politics and the Greek far left – swerved to the inside, and then abruptly abandoned it, after he was sacked by his former ally, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras, in July 2015. He dramatises his intent throughout the crisis with a telling anecdote. He’s in Washington for a meeting with Larry Summers, the former US treasury secretary and Obama confidant. Summers asks him point blank: do you want to be on the inside or the outside? “Outsiders prioritise their freedom to speak their version of the truth. The price is that they are ignored by the insiders, who make the important decisions,” Summers warns.
Elected politicians have little power; Wall Street and a network of hedge funds, billionaires and media owners have the real power, and the art of being in politics is to recognise this as a fact of life and achieve what you can without disrupting the system. That was the offer. Varoufakis not only rejected it – by describing it in frank detail now, he is arming us against the stupidity of the left’s occasional fantasies that the system built by neoliberalism can somehow bend or compromise to our desire for social justice.
In this book, then, Varoufakis gives one of the most accurate and detailed descriptions of modern power ever written – an achievement that outweighs his desire for self-justification during the Greek crisis ...