Thursday, March 4, 2010

Greece vs the Civil service - Let there be blood

For the first time in its modern history the Greek people have won its first fight against the Greek civil service.

Civil servants will see their 13th and 14th monthly pay check cut by 30%. No new civil servants will be hired and their pay will be frozen. (no mention of those civil servants who get 16 monthly paychecks a year, have to investigate more)

While a lot - a whole lot - a gajillion more, needs to be done, the significance of this event shouldn't be underestimated.

The evil selfish forces of the civil service have been a raging behemoth, crushing any who dare oppose it. The dreams of the young in Greece along with the economy have been sacrificed to it to slate its greed and hunger.

The last time anyone tried to limit its greed was during the previous Socialist government under Prime Minister Simitis. Back then the opposition parties - the Conservative party (think Republican Party) and their affiliated Unions (the unions that they directly control - or are controlled by) joined with their traditional allies the Communists (and their unions), used their connections in the media (or simply the media they owned or bribed) and brought over 100 000 people onto the streets to oppose those measures.

If the government back then had the guts to carry on, Greece wouldn't be in such a bad state - still bad, but nowhere near as bad. Sure it would have been a civil war but we wouldn't be where we are now.

Now, the Conservative party have once again joined with Communists - the only difference is that they are now in the midst of this crisis and are morally bankrupt (and more importantly are seen to be) and through force, lies and deception were only able to get a mere 15 000 people onto the streets. Many of those were immigrants - tricked into coming out by the Communist party by telling them that they were protesting in favour of making them Greek citizens. Others from the private sector were just told to come out and protest if they wanted to keep their jobs.

The poor show is a sign that their political power has weakened. So in a way Greece had its El Alamein against the civil service.

The battle of El Alamein did not change the course of the war, but it was the first battle the Allies won against the Germans.

The pay cuts against the civil servants is the first time the civil servants have been asked to do anything for Greece - and Greece won. In the great scheme of things it's a drop of water in what needs to be done. For a start, Civil servants need to begin to work 8 hour days 5 days a week to the public, maybe even get fired for taking a bribe (oh to dream). But a utopia like that cannot happen overnight. I have to be realistic.

The Communists have taken to the streets with their traditional allies the Conservatives and have promised that blood will be spilled by the end of the month. Together these two power bases have a strangle hold on the Education system in Greece as well as the Media. As a result many here in Greece do not truly understand what is going on and only repeat the catchy slogans they are taught in the classroom (university or high school) or the slogans the reporters for rent repeat.

That's where foreign media and pressure is important. Europe has to look over our shoulder - because while the fear of blood being spilled on the streets the temptation is always there to try and avert it. Europe has to ensure that the changes are taking place, and foreign media has to report on it. Greek media is too corrupt to act as any sort of watchdog - It never has and it itself is part of the problem. That's why Foreign media has to do the job that the Greek media is not doing. Already there is a sense by a handful of journalists that things are not as the slogans say they are, that Greece is in the midst of a crisis - a serious one and not like any it has faced before.
This is only because they can see how the foreign media is reporting it.

Foreign media can also help by offering constructive analysis instead of punching out their own jingo-istic analysis. For example when the EU's Barroso comes out and congratulates the leader of the Opposition for what he is doing (opposing the current changes on the table for example), the media can ask him 'Why are you against these changes and a solution to the crisis in Greece' or 'Do you regret the joint public statement you made with your fellow conservative, the PM of Greece, where you came out in favour of Greece using dodgy book keeping - a decision Eurostat and many in Greece were against.'

But i cant ask for a utopia overnight.

I can at least hope that Greece will get through this without bloodshed, unless the blood is that of the civil service.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Greece - the addict of Europe

For those of you who missed it, here is a post from my other blog

Greece - the addict of Europe

Greek statistics. Those two words are now synonymous with false bookkeeping, and in a way epitomises the state of affairs in the Balkans. The past year has seen the Greek economy and its reputation hit rock bottom.

But how did Greece in particular reach this state. In February of 2009 the then Karamanlis government and Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou, announced that the budget deficit in 2010 would be 'reduced' to 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from a targeted 3.7 percent in 2009. One change of government later the deficit was revealed to be the largest in the euro-zone and projections predict that the deficit will reach 13.7% in 2010.

Read on.

Greek economy - WTF - Its not my fault

Wow. i haven't written in over a year and i still got over 200 hits a month.
How bizzare. I guess its because the Greek economy is making global headlines at the moment.

Economics aside, this crisis is really taking its toll on Greek nationals abroad. The crisis has given rise - once again - to racial stereotypes. Unfortunately not the good ones. The Greeks in Germany have responded to this by writing a letter to the German press.

To be a Greek abroad it seems as though we always have to apologise for the behaviour of Greeks in Greece. Be it the state of the Parthenon, how we burn down our remaining forests to build illegal villas, to the corruption that seeps out of every pore of this country.

Its not our fault!

And as i have written previously - nor is it the average citizens fault.

But it doesn't make it hurt less.

For more on the crisis, and the schizoid economy, click here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Panic - who us?

Having just arrived back from a trip to Australia, i was surprised to see the difference the media is reporting Greece's financial crisis.

Everybody in Australia - Hello everyone back home - is looking at Greece as the next Argentina, or Mexico, with people running wild in the streets, revolution and eating rats. While here its, sure there is another crisis, but i'm ok, stuff the rest.


Hello to all those old bloggers and followers. Its been sometime since we spoke last and boy has a lot changed. Have i returned to blogging. I don't know, but one thing is for sure, my title is more apt now than ever.

A new blog has started over here.

Lets see how 2010 pans out.