Strictly speaking Carnival, that wild period before Lent, isn’t over for another ten days or so, but listening to the reports of Greece’s economic woes it would seem that the carnival of spending on absurdities should be winding down. But will it? Mr Papandreou talking on the BBC sounds very persuasive and many people who claim to know about these things say that he’s the man to lead the recovery. But …but… can he really turn around a country that doesn’t seem to care about national recovery if it impacts on the lifestyle and the enjoyment of the individual?
Pick up any guide book about Greece and at some point it will say something like, Greece is a country of contrasts which is like describing someone with a bi-polar disorder as being a bit moody. The contrasts are so wild that that for most of the time they veer to hysteria and these contrasts are replicated through national pride, politics and the economy. Whether Greeks are any more proud of their homeland than any other nationality is difficult to say but they certainly claim to be. According to many Greeks the whole problem with the budget deficit and the Euro is actually the fault of the British press and people from outside the Euro zone (and possibly the French too, but I’m not entirely sure about that).
On the one hand the Greeks are fervent in their support of their country and all that goes with it but there’s this, shall we say ‘hesitation’ in paying any taxes towards the upkeep. Papandreou claims that this he’s going to stop this but unless he’s going to stick a tax man in every medical centre, every shop, every garage and every tradesman’s van then I don’t know how he’s going to do it. He’s also claiming that he’s going to cut the graft that is rife in the civil service, hospitals and right across society. Here’s hoping that he can manage that before I finally get someone to come out and connect my telephone because I’ve been advised to have 20 Euros on hand for when that finally happens, in case of ‘problems’. It seems that 20 Euros is the going rate for problems here.
Did you really think that I was going to write a post without mentioning my lack of an internet and phone connection? It’s become part of the fabric of my daily life and Papandreou will probably have more success getting the Greeks to stop asking for bribes than me stopping yakking on about my lack of a phone line. In fact, the day I get a phone line means that I’m going to have to work pretty hard on upping my conversational skills to include topics beyond telephone lines.