The success of Syriza in Greece was forged in Essex, it seems. Syriza’s new Economics minister Yanis Varoufakis has a PhD from Essex University. Rena Doura, governor of Greater Athens, has an MA from Essex, and Corfu’s Syriza MP Fotini Vaki is also a graduate. Another of the influential Essex alumni is Sir Christopher Pissarides, a Cypriot economist critical of Greece’s debt repayments.
Greek students love the University of Essex, with some 4000 graduating in the last 50 years. Perhaps we shouldn’t be that surprised that Greek lefties travel to Essex rather than Ithaca, because the county has a surprising history of revolutionary activity. Colchester Castle stands on the site of the Roman Temple that was burnt down by Boudicca in AD60-61. She went on to give the Romans a kicking in London and St Albans before committing non-electoral suicide.
The Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 started in Brentwood, better known for Towie and Sugar Hut today. The men of Fobbing were summoned to Brentwood for non-payment of the Poll Tax, but then attacked the Commissioner John Bampton, giving him a right slap and chasing him out of town.
Today we have Russell Brand from Grays peddling a book called Revolution and telling us not to vote. Chelmsford’s most famous transvestite revolutionary is Grayson Perry, who has taken to guest-editing the New Statesman and writing about the Great White Male and his love of the business suit. Could it be he’s planning to wear one soon and stand for Parliament? While Douglas Carswell has inspired a Ukip revolution in Clacton with his plans to introduce ever more balding ex-Tories to the joys of real ale served by English Pub Landlords.
Perhaps Joey Essex wasn’t joking when he suggested on Towie that there was a Prime Minister of Essex. He’s already stared travelling the world on a fact-finding mission in Educating Joey Essex. A telegenic man unencumbered by complex economic theories who is definitely anti-austerity. We might just have found Britain’s revolutionary answer to Syriza.