So the Greeks are going to vote Yes on Sunday. Fear. Humiliation. Patriotism (pro-European or pro-euro, we shall see). Or pragmatism, that great industrial powerhouse of European politics. And so the EU, the IMF, the ECB, the lot – they will have won. Greece – nil. Delete the Second World War.
The problem – and let’s forget for a moment how many millions the profligate Greeks owe us – is that the No voters will vote for the same reason. They are patriotic and they want hope. And they are also doomed by our version of their history. The 18th-century Greeks believed in nationalism born of civilization, an idea that Byron enjoyed but which left out the Ottoman Empire, the wonderful dinar (forget the euro) and a history that has no place in our present narrative.
The 1940s lies like a shadow over Greece today. Those who will vote Yes on 5 July are called traitors – Jermanotsolias (German shirt-soldiers is perhaps the best translation) – while the No voters will be children or grandchildren of the socialist patriots who fought on against the bourgeois-British rulers who took over Athens after Churchill and Stalin agreed that Greece would stay on our side of the Iron Curtain. The puppets and their masters are irrelevant.
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