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.


Rositta said...

What is so scary is that so many people believe this stuff. I just had an interesting MSM chat with a young woman I know in Greece. She is blaming the Germans for all the problems, you know, "they stole the gold" etc. Until Greeks stop blaming others for their woes things won't change much. This year I'm actually going to be a little nervous on my annual trip to Greece, being German...ciao

Stephen Pol Haydon said...

In 1985 Greece had to be bailed out by an emergency loan from Brussels and this may be needed again with an IMF bail-out. At present 20% of Greeks live below the EU's poverty line. Greece has a long troubled history with finances and when it joined the euro in 2001 its public debt was more than 100% of GDP. In 2003 the inflation rate stayed above the euro average and the economy has relied on foreign borrowing, the current- account deficit widened to 14.6% of GDP in 2008.

Public opinon within Germany at the moment is strongly opposed to bailing Greece out and unfortunately for Greece Germany holds the key. This issue could still have bad repercussions for Greece and the mounting hostility within the public sector could prove to become very ugly. Even though its been up and down the past few monthsworsened as the euro dipped after it was reported Greece wanted to avoid involving the IMF in the potential bail out package. European financial markets have been hit by fears over the state of Greece's debt-ridden economy this is due to the Greek government's cost of borrowing rising.
Now investors are stricken with concerns that loans to Greece might not be paid back even with assurances that eurozone states will stand by Greece, investors sold the European currency and Greek bonds. Thus raising the price the Greek government needs to pay to attract buyers.

Anonymous said...

Even though I am half Greek, I must agree with Rositta. It certainly is not Germany's fault that Greece is a bad loan risk. I wouldn't lend Greece money, knowing it goes to keep civil servants who aren't needed, and don't work.
Greece has been sustaining its socialist propaganda and ideals by letting other nations foot the bill. With 40% of the working population under government employ, it makes sense that they need to borrow in order to sustain the unsustainable.

Anonymous said...

A good greek friend of mine, an Economics Professor, refers to Greeece as the "Nigeria of Europe". I think he is non to chuffed by the mindset!!!

baresytapas said...

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楊愛惟 said...

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Simon A.Rawicz said...

Hi, I've been in Greece for the last three years and have ben trying to highlight the corruption that is pandemic within the health sector which has been abusing the people and the state for far too long and would like your views and help if possible.

I've been writing about it for a while as no one including the media or the health sectors will do anything to fight corruption even when the facts are presented to them on a plate.

Simon A.Rawicz said...

A link to the story and the many articles covered can be found here as well as an insight into other Greek related matters that I've discovered along the last couple of years which showcase the good and the bad we all endure living our myth :

Kuzey Güney said...

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