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"The problem is that austerity is being used as a narrative to conduct class war," said Yanis Varoufakis on Question Time. (Photo: BBC)

"The problem is that austerity is being used as a narrative to conduct class war," said Yanis Varoufakis on Question Time. (Photo: BBC)

Austerity is Smokescreen for Class War Against Poor, Says Yanis Varoufakis

Appearing on BBC panel, former Greek finance minister expressed hope that Jeremy Corbyn will be Margaret Thatcher of the left

Sarah Lazare

Austerity and deficit reduction are smokescreens for class war against the poor, economics professor, former Greek finance minister, and fiery commentator Yanis Varoufakis declared Thursday on BBC's Question Time.

Varoufakis made the statements during a panel debate with United Kingdom politicians and pundits and took direct aim at the economic policies of the British government.

"The problem is that austerity is being used as a narrative to conduct class war," he said, lambasting the government for cutting taxes on the wealthy while slashing spending on public services.

"To be talking about reducing the state further when effectively what you are doing is reducing taxes like inheritance tax and at the same time you are cutting benefits—that is class war," Varoufakis continued.

Varoufakis called for Britain's public institutions, from the National Health Service to higher education, to be protected from free market economics.

Ultimately, Varoufakis expressed hope that Jeremy Corbyn—the anti-war, anti-austerity candidate who was elected leader of the British Labour Party earlier this month—will turn out to be the inverse of Margaret Thatcher, who he said "reinvigorated right-wing politics."

"It would be wonderful if Jeremy could do this for the left-wing and put on a show for us outsiders," Varoufakis said.

Question Time noted that Varoufakis's statements on their program spread widely:


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