Thursday, 4 March 2010

Greece's problem in one sentence

I was reading this article in the Financial Times regarding the new measures announced by Greece's PM Giorgos Papandreou to deal with the economic crisis affecting the country, and came across this paragraph towards the end of the piece:

'Meanwhile, the stand-off with the unions escalates. Ominously, Mr Papandreou appeared yesterday to have lost the backing of Adedy, the main public sector trade union. Spyros Papaspyros, Adedy president, said that by cutting the bonuses, which grant two extra annual salaries to public sector workers, the Socialists crossed a red line. "We are not going to become sacrificial victims, regardless of the struggle to save the country," he said.'

Could Papaspyros really have said such a thing? Could he really have said and meant it? There's Greece's problem for you in one sentence. And, indeed, this is why Papandreou will fail and Greece has a long way down to go yet in this saga. It's easy to cut salaries and put up taxes; much harder to make those broad and deep changes in society that would ensure men like Papaspyros and their mentality become a thing of the past. And here's another thought: could you imagine a Turkish public figure ever making such a statement?


Anonymous said...

Greece, a 5000 year old masterpiece, no one can afford.

Hermes said...

John, you've hit the nail on the head. Perfect.

The unionists, farmers, politicians, bankers, civil servants, nightclub owners and other assorted parasites must realise the world does not revolve around them!

Hermes said...

There is a massive patriotic deficit in Greece (amazing to think this given our wonderful history). When I say "patriotic" I do not mean cheap flag waving or singings silly songs at football games but a genuine concern for the welfare of the nation over and above individual interests.

Of course, this also counts for the Diaspora, who are even more pathetic.

Hermes said...

If you are a fan of Petros Markaris's crime fiction you will like the following interview on the crisis:,1518,681705,00.html