Athens is the home of democracy, a word derived from the Greek word for the people, demos and power, kratos. Athenian democracy was a direct democracy where the people voted themselves on the legislation and executive bills. Representatives i.e. corrupt politicians MPs and Peers were not elected or nominated. People spoke and voted themselves. Only adult male citizens who had done their military service and were not in debt to the state could vote, roughly 30000 people but they participated on a huge scale. The public opinion of voters was remarkably influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theatres, the mass media of the time. The Swiss system of referendums, military service and adult franchise comes closest of modern democracies to the original Athenian model.
I always feel humbled when I study other systems of government like Athens, the US and Switzerland how prescient their founding fathers who set up their constitutions were. The UK may have the mother of parliaments but cannot claim to have founded or carried the torch of real democracy. We have been, and still are, ruled by a political class of Old Etonians and other public schoolboys etc and Lords hereditary and nominated by the government. It is not my idea of democracy. I prefer the old Athenian model of Pericles and Solon.
There are still voices of common sense such as Herr Friedrich of the Bavarian CSU urging Greece to be ejected from the Euro. Its the best thing for the Greek people just as leaving the EMS in 1992 when the Germans refused to support us was the best thing for the UK and led us into prosperity until Gordon arrived.
The rabidly Europhile Financial Times writes in the Saturday leader of the Greek PM 'bravely putting an end to an excruciating sequence of face saving pretences"? And what was this brave act? To ask for a draw down on a loan to prop up the Euro system for a few more miserable months to save the faces of the faceless bureaucrats of Brussels and their delusions of worldwide grandeur. The system is bust and violent protest will erupt on the streets of Athens this summer.
So now in 2010 AD, 2500 years after Pericles, we see the same old conflict in Athens between the democratic will of Greek people and the non-democratic Sparta now reincarnated in the EU. Let us hope we get the same result as happened in 500 BC.