But no one important wants Greece to leave the euro

Greeks go to the polls this weekend to choose a new parliament. And it seems like the entire world media are calling it a choice between staying in the euro zone and leaving. But I don’t see how the pundits are arriving at that conclusion.

True, the leftist party Syriza wants to renegotiate the terms of Greece’s deal with the EU, calling for more stimulus and less austerity. But that’s the same message being heard more and more everywhere, except from Angela Merkel (who is on track to lose the next German elections).

No one in Greece is calling to leave the euro, they want to stay in the single currency.

In fact, no one in the EU wants Greece to leave the euro, except for a handful of backbench British Conservative MPs and a handful of conservative British newspaper pundits. I listened to one of the latter, from the Daily Telegraph, on the BBC World Service this morning. His message was that while “everyone else” is warning about how awful it would be for Greece to leave the euro, he thinks it would be great. And he has a whole checklist of other countries he thinks should leave the single currency too.

It really seems like there is a lunatic conservative fringe in Britain who, since they aren’t in the euro, don’t want anyone else to be either.

But no matter who wins the Greek parliamentary elections, there really doesn’t seem to be a plausible scenario which ends with Greece going back to the drachma. Just wishful thinking from people with what the Swedes call “skadeglädje”, taking pleasure in someone else’s suffering.

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