Notebook

Please come on holiday to poor, broken Greece. It needs you

Despite the sadness, it feels very safe here. Even the riot police are relaxed, cheerfully feeding the birds

18 July 2015

9:00 AM

18 July 2015

9:00 AM

At the weekend, I tried — and failed — to get some money out of an empty cashpoint near Omonia Square. The Eurobank cashpoint was covered in fresh anti-German graffiti: ‘No to the new German fascism,’ it read in Greek, ‘No to the “dosilogous”.’ That’s the Greek for Nazi collaborators in the war. For any cashpoint users who couldn’t speak Greek, the graffiti artist helpfully added, in English, GERMANY= . If the new, German-led EU austerity package goes ahead, the swastikas will keep spreading through Athens. I felt sorry for a German family eating ice cream in the deserted Estia café in Plaka. The couple, with four strapping children and granny in tow, looked the picture of six-foot-tall, blond, Teutonic health. The Greeks are too gentle to take things out on German tourists directly. Still, you can hardly blame Germans who don’t want to spend their holidays surrounded by Nazi symbols. Anyone who still thinks the euro is a magic weapon for ever closer European union should come here soon.

In Syntagma Square, opposite the Greek parliament, the Ethnike Trapeza bank cashpoint did have some cash. But the poor customers couldn’t move for cameramen filming the queue. Athens is a big city, but the journalists don’t stray far from Syntagma Square. On Sunday evening, I found a secluded spot, just below the Parthenon, to watch the sun cast its dying rays over Mount Lycabettus. Suddenly, the silence was broken by the clatter of steps from the narrow stone path winding up to the Acropolis. Who could it be? A lone Orthodox priest heading for the little chapel behind me? A stranded mountain goat? Nope — it was the BBC’s Robert Peston. He took a photo of the sunset and went on his way, in the eternal quest for a real Greek.

He might have found one at St Paul’s Anglican Church, where I went to the 10.15 a.m. service on Sunday. Several Greeks were at the church — the only Gothic building I know in Athens, built in 1843. It’s handy for Syntagma Square — I’m surprised there weren’t more journalists there. Together with Holy Trinity Church in Corfu, St Paul’s is one of the two hub churches for the 11 Anglican congregations in Greece; all part of the Diocese in Europe, the Church of England’s biggest diocese, covering a sixth of the Earth’s landmass. Christina, the church organist, is Greek Orthodox but has become expert at English hymns. She played ‘All People that on Earth Do Dwell’ and ‘Be Thou My Vision’ beautifully. Since the crisis hit six years ago, the congregation has more than halved, from 85 to 40. The church is solvent for now, but the treasurer is worried about future income. Despite this week’s deal in Brussels, my hunch is that the collection box — piled high with euros on Sunday — will be filled with drachmas within five years.


Athens feels like Britain in the 1970s. There were no working ticket machines in Larissa station, the main Athens railway station, when I went there. Long queues formed for the one-manned ticket booth. The ticket machines have been turned off on the metro, too. To take the edge off austerity measures, the metro is free, even for the long journey to the airport. A delight for rich, freeloading foreigners; crazy in a bankrupt country.

On the metro to Piraeus — also free — the beggars work in careful cooperation. Only one works a particular carriage at any time — and then, at each stop, they move in lockstep to the next carriage along. A blind man seamlessly gave way to a young junkie, who yielded to an old man selling Biros in an ironed blue shirt and immaculate cream slacks.

I learnt ancient Greek at school 25 years ago, and now cobble together my patchy memories of it to speak modern Greek. I worry whether I sound like an ancient fogey to Greeks. When I asked the way to the loo in a Piraeus café, did I sound Shakespearean: ‘Prithee, noble sire, where art thy privy?’ But then again, so many modern Greek words do still have such wonderful ancient connotations. I love asking for the way out of places — or the ‘exodus’.

For all the sadness here, I’ve felt completely safe, walking around with hundreds of euros in my pocket. Anyone who’s booked a holiday will be fine. Even the demonstrations in Syntagma Square are friendly. The street vendors rush there every time there’s a demo. The souvlaki and corn on the cob — cooked on portable grills — are said to be particularly good at the communist protests; not normally the case with communist food. The demonstrations have been peacefully absorbed into everyday life. The homemade posters, saying ‘Ochi’ (‘No’) to austerity, have been paraded so often that they now have big, triangular rips in them. Even the riot police are relaxed. I saw one cheerfully feeding the sparrows on Kolokotroni Street.

The only problem for tourists is lack of cash. Stock up at home — and not at any airport, British or Greek. Foreign exchange rates at airports are a scandal — soon to be killed off by the internet. Order euros online before leaving and save yourself a fortune. Please do come on holiday to poor, broken, lovely Greece — how they need you. Emulate the jolly, blonde, Greek yummy mummy I saw this week, shopping with her children in Ermou Street. ‘I am not a shopaholic,’ her black and gold T-shirt said, ‘I am helping the economy.’

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Harry Mount’s Odyssey: Ancient Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus is published this week (Bloomsbury).

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • bufo75

    Don’t worry Greece, we still love you, we’ll be back !

    • Sue Smith

      Speak for yourself.

      • davidshort10

        That’s what the contributor is doing.

        • Sue Smith

          “We”?

          • Malus Pudor

            God, you are a truly awful woman… Rosa Klebb springs to mind…

      • dolusbonus

        Waycist !

  • Oddsbods

    Get out of the Euro and the EU, return to a Greek floating currency and you will be overrun with tourists (if that is what you want).

    • Sue Smith

      Come to Australia instead; we have magnificent beaches, with high waves and clean water and white sand; great shopping, fabulous scenery, great food, friendly sport-loving people who are easy-going. True, it isn’t cheap in Sydney. (If you want “cheap” there’s always India and Asia. But I wouldn’t drink the water if I were you.)

      24 hours travelling time by air from London (including a stop); most direct route is via Dubai. A380 from Dubai to Sydney – only way to fly.

      We are not bankrupt and have a high standard of living.

      • Malus Pudor

        Not to mention plenty of Greeks… especially Melbourne…. and packed with chippy ex-convicts trying to bury their past !

      • dolusbonus

        Plenty of health & travel tips… thanks…. seems you are in the throes of some sort of cerebral ataxia… still, I’m sure you have plenty of skilled neurologists in Orrrsstayliah…

  • bufo75

    The strange idea that Synyagma Square is the “Real Greece” needs debunking.
    Those thugs with their molotov cocktails are permanently stationed there ready for action.
    I once asked a Greek policeman why they didn’t “snatch” the bottle throwers.
    His reply was that the guy would be on his mobile to his party boss and he, the policeman, would lose a month’s pay for “harassment” !

    • Sue Smith

      Oh, they can speak too? Certainly can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

      • alfredo

        Originality is not your greatest strength.

        • Sue Smith

          Very true; I have far greater strengths than originality. I’m sure Oscar Wilde would have helped me out with a suitable quip, but he’s decomposing at the moment.

          • Malus Pudor

            As you should be …

  • wudyermucuss

    Will I have to pay?

    • Dogsnob

      You question is incomplete: it should start with “How much”

      • Sue Smith

        LOL

  • rtj1211

    Aren’t the Germans rich enough already? Why should we contribute more to their burgeoning empire?? We go there if they leave the Euro, right now, tell the Germans to go there. They’ve caused this nonsense in the Eurozone, let them pay to sort it out.

    • Malcolm Stevas

      I’d rather visit Germany than Greece.

      • AtMyDeskToday

        Been to Germany lots…nice. Been to Greece thrice, a dump.

        • blandings

          Liked Greece – laid back – lotus eating – run out of lotus I guess.
          Germany – everything works, but very anal – wouldn’t want them in charge of me, thanks.

          • davidshort10

            That’s why we had to fight them twice last century and good to see the Greeks still fighting back.

          • Sue Smith

            Let it go. You know you’ll feel better when you do.

          • davidshort10

            Troll.

          • Sue Smith

            A stronger dose needed, obviously.

          • What do you mean by ‘anal’? A weird comment really. It’s like saying another country is very knuckly or hairy.

          • blandings

            Unnatural interest in rules and their enforcement.
            Wait at a pedestrian crossing – the lights are red, but there are no cars in sight for a thousand yards – I amble across – people mutter and call me anarchist under their breath.
            At a spa – (very, very serious at their spas, no sense of the absurdity of the human) Wife went into the wrong steam room at the wrong time and was chased round the pool by a fat naked german waving an oversized twig.Laughed till I cried as they say.

          • Sue Smith

            This is absurd and ignorant rubbish.

          • blandings

            It was a joke to a friend.
            You are not that friend.

          • davidshort10

            No, it is not. Just facts, which is the opposite of ignorance.

          • Sue Smith

            They actually do have a sense of humour; you obviously don’t. Well, you’d need one to get their jokes.

            A German passenger (a professional artist from Berlin) sitting next to me on the ICE in March, as we pass a cemetery, “you know it’s illegal in Germany to be dead more than 10 years?”.

          • Malus Pudor

            And when are the squareheads going to repay Greece for all the Greek gold reserves which they stole during the last war… with 75 years worth of interest ?

          • Malus Pudor

            As is all of what you write…

          • eclair

            Try Berlin. It’s about as laid back as a capital city can get, given its flamboyant past and interesting present. Its a place with a 20 yr life style that seems to renew itself after that. Oh and bin your suit. Business is done in a slightly different way there.

          • Sue Smith

            Berliner Philharmoniker!!! Tells me all I need to know about Germany.

          • Malus Pudor

            They are certainly more harmonious and less strident than you …

          • Noa

            Really? You’re very comfortable with its national socialist antecedants then?

            https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2007/12/reic-d18.html

          • Sue Smith

            Very ‘anal’ aye? They’re a nation of interesting, warm and friendly people with a magnificent cultural legacy!! You never got to know them and that’s your problem.

          • blandings

            My wife’s Polish and her family got to know them quite well, unfortunately.
            Actually, my comment wasn’t intended to be taken as seriously as you took it.

          • Sue Smith

            I don’t laugh about genocide particularly when the modern generation isn’t responsible for it. Come to think of it, they’ve paid all the war reparations of those previous generations.

            I take anti-German racism seriously, I’m afraid.

          • blandings

            I suggest that you ignore me then

          • alfredo

            Paying war reparations (and repaying enforced loans) is precisely what they have NOT done, in the case of Greece. You seem very badly informed.

          • Sue Smith

            It is a long time between 1945 and 2015; much has been repaid in that time, and to Greece. That it wasn’t enough was not in the least concerning to the Greeks UNTIL NOW. I wonder why? I wonder if I wonder?

          • alfredo

            Wrong again. The issue of the enforced ‘loan’ in particular has been repeatedly raised by Greece over the last 20 years.

          • Sue Smith

            That’s how long they’ve been in financial trouble!! You just don’t get it.

          • alfredo

            You said UNTIL NOW (in capitals). Now is 2015. And don’t tell me I don’t get it, you impudent baggage.

          • Sue Smith

            A chauvenist too. Luxury.

          • dolusbonus

            Chauvinist, I believe…. or do you describe yourself as a femenest ?

          • Malus Pudor

            Quickly corrected !!!!!!

          • Malus Pudor

            How much, Dumpkof, and when…. ?

          • Malus Pudor

            They have NOT repaid Greece for the Greek gold reserves which they stole in WWII !!!!!!!!!

          • Malus Pudor

            What about the Australian genocide of the aboriginal population ?

          • dolusbonus

            What on earth are you gabbling about, you stupid woman?…The Germans have not refunded the Greek gold reserves which they stole in WWII>>>>>

          • Malus Pudor

            There are a lot of British, born before 1939 who got to know the Squareheads well… strange, isn’t it, that the Germans holiday anywhere but in their own homeland… Sieg Heil !

        • Sue Smith

          Been to Germany lots; love it!! What’s NOT to love?

          • davidshort10

            Each to their own.

          • Sue Smith

            Axiomatic, surely.

          • Malus Pudor

            Well, stay put in your Ozzie utopia.

            Every Aborigine in Tasmania exterminated by your forebears and the ones on the mainland turned into alcoholics and treated as third-rate citizens, at best…

            No wonder you are such a fanatical supporter of the Fourth Reich and its predecessors’ pursuit of racial purity.

            Please do not ever consider visiting what remains of the United Kingdom.

          • E.I.Cronin

            gee Malice… with copy-writing skills like that you should be composing tourist brochures for The Greens Party. ‘Come to Australia and spew your one-eyed bile all over our country’.

          • Malus Pudor

            I always keep both eyes wide open…

          • alfredo

            I think you succeeded in making that point. Is there much more of this?

          • Malus Pudor

            Nasty Teutonic mindset, awful food, beer-swilling culture, humour-free, arrogance etc etc etc ….

            Next…

        • Malus Pudor

          Are you deaf, dumb and blind by any chance ?

          • AtMyDeskToday

            Thankfully, none of those. Not stupid either which you, based on your record, regrettably, very clearly are.

          • Malus Pudor

            So you assess your own degree of stupidity, do you… not very objective…..

            ‘Germany nice’ what an appalling jejune description, probably apposite of the commentator ….

          • AtMyDeskToday

            “So you assess your own degree of stupidity”

            On that basis you clearly lack any judgement whatsoever.

          • Malus Pudor

            ‘You assess your own degree of stupidity’ is what I stated…

            I said nothing about my own stupidity, birdbrain !

          • AtMyDeskToday

            “I said nothing about my own stupidity”

            Oh, so you don’t lack self-awareness then? Now run along and read the dictionary I know it gives you confidence and makes you feel assertive.

          • Malus Pudor

            Have you thought of entering politics ?

      • davidshort10

        Depends what part of Germany you mean, and what part of Greece. Both countries have their attractions.

        • Sue Smith

          Germany is excellent – period!

          • Malus Pudor

            Didactic, emphatic, dictatorial command… you must be a Kraut!

      • Sue Smith

        Agree x 1,000 times!!!

        • dolusbonus

          Jahwohl, mein hausfrau….

        • dolusbonus

          Jahwohl, Rosa Klebb… you vill be obeyed…

  • tb_kol

    I think its quite a good idea !! people should go there. Apart from boosting the economy, it will also boost their spirits, which is what they dearly need. More than economic help, they need need to know the world empathizes with the common Greece people.

  • WTF

    This commentary below is doing the rounds right now and whether true or not Cameron better not give one penny to Juncker to pay for Greeces problem in the Eurozone. Its their problem, let them fix it.

    However,

    Experts mandated by the European Union to investigate the causes that led
    Greece to the current economic situation related the following facts:

    Greece falsified its accounts to enter the euro zone and has distorted the facts until it finally exploded. There was massive retirements at the age of 50 years. At Evangelismos hospital there were 50 drivers for officials’ cars, and on average there were 45 gardeners for a small lawn with 4 bushes.

    Greece has the highest population in the world of people reporting an age of 110 years. The deaths are often not registered and pensions continue to be received. The European Union had found that there are families receiving 4-5 monthly pensions which they are not supposed to get. There were still pensions paid to persons who died in 1953, 60+ years ago. 40,000 girls received monthly life
    pension of 1,000 euros for the simple fact that they were unmarried daughters of deceased civil servants. This, at a cost to the state coffers of €550 million euros per year. Now they will receive pensions only up to the age of 18.

    The pacemakers in Greek hospitals were acquired at a price 400 times higher than in British hospitals. In Greece, many workers have benefited from early retirement, set at 50 years for women and 55 for men who belong to one of the 600 job categories identified as particularly painful among which included;

    Hairdressers (because of dyes that may be considered harmful)

    The musicians of wind instruments (blowing into a flute is exhausting)

    TV presenters (the microphones are supposed to cause damage to health).

    ****
    This law was adopted by the Socialist government of 1978.

    There are thousands of ridiculous “tricks” departments and unnecessary
    institutions, which many Greeks live off. For example, The Institute for the Protection of Kopais Lake, a dry lake since 1930.

    In the last decade, Greece has created over 300 new public companies. Tax evasion is massive, over 25% of Greeks do not pay a penny on personal income tax. In addition, the weight of the public sector in the economy is overwhelming. There are about one million officials to 4,000,000 active people.

    Greek public railways: The average salary of employees exceeds €66.000.- per year. And this includes cleaners and other non-skilled workers. The (almost free) Athens Metro delivers about 90 million tickets a year, while the total cost of this public company exceeds the 500 million needed.

    The French retirees receive, on average, 51% of the last salary, the Germans 40%, North Americans and Japanese 34%.

    Meanwhile, Greek pensioners receive 96% of their salary —– Earlier.!

    Greece has four times more teachers than Finland, the best situated country in the last PISA report, while the student performance in Greece is the lowest among many European countries by comparison.

    AS AN APPARENT SHOW OF GOODWILL TO THE EU, THE GREEK GOVERNMENT ELIMINATED 10, OOO POSTAL OFFICIAL POSITIONS, OF
    WHICH 8,200 WERE DUMMY IDENTITIES !!

    • Malcolm Stevas

      It’s the culture, I’m told: they’re somewhat byzantine. Greece sharing a currency with industrious N.European nations was never going to work. This will be demonstrated again in a few months’ time if they receive yet more bailouts, more loans they can never repay.

    • bombaybadboy

      This sounds fairly urban myth – but agree totally that Greece is the Eurozone’s problem when it comes to stumping up money. I feel sorry for the Greeks but that doesn’t extend to using UK money for the bridging loan. Just read Junker is attempting to renage on the opt-out that Cameron thought he had secured in 2010, indicative of the duplicity of the Eurocrat leadership.

    • alfredo

      I wonder what sort of person you have to be to gleefully gather together and publish statistics (many of them long out of date) about another country, and what the purpose of it is? Is it a variety of autism?
      But I’ll tell you what, WTF: you would be much better occupied using your investigative talents in compiling a similar list of ludicrous scandals concerning the UK. Tax evasion on a grand scale? Bloated public sector with absurd salaries for doing nothing? The BBC? Quangos? Common Purpose? That should keep you busy for a year or two, and the results wouldn’t fit into the Spectator comments column either.

      • WTF

        If you’ve ever read some of my previous posts you’d know I’ve slammed tax evasion by corporations, bloated public services, banking pimps and especially the BBC it was just the turn of Greek profligacy of which I’ve also slammed within the UK.

        • alfredo

          Sorry to have missed your previous posts.

    • LimaTango

      Most of the ‘facts’ stated are disinformation. Read your history and you will discover that the 1st Socialist government of Greece was elected on 18-Oct-1981. From that date Greek government economics went seriously downhill starting with Andreas Papandreou (PM) proclaiming at a public gathering ‘Tsovolos, dostou ollo’. [Give them everything, Tsovolas (Finance Minister)]. BTW, Lake Kopais was drained between 1867–87 by Scots and French engineers.

      • Sue Smith

        Yes, and they’ve had military dictatorships into that mix as well.

      • WTF

        I´m just the messenger here as I never said these were all true facts although I suspect there always elements of truth in these sorts of things unlike government announcements. However, we know their economics went seriously downhill and your’e just repeating the obvious but perhaps it would be more constructive if you postulated some reasons for why it all went t~~~ up !

    • Malus Pudor

      In the 70s I visited Corfu and was met at the airport by a taxi driver in an ancient and battered Ford. He was shabbily dressed, but charming, and offered to guide us around the island for a very reasonable fee.

      Last year we revisited Corfu and I bumped into the same taxi driver friend holding court in the main bar of his local town. He was now impeccably dressed and shod and exuded opulence as he pointed out his brand new Mercedes, parked outside the bar.

      “What’s happened, Costas,” I asked.

      “Oh, it was my turn to be Mayor of the town when we joined the EU and we applied to Brussels for funds to repair a crack in the harbour wall… there was no crack… but the EU sent us two million Euros… I split it with the other guys on the town council…..”

      Apocryphal, no doubt, but an example of the mindset.

      • WTF

        I can believe it and if you’re offered money for nothing like the EU does to enlarge its sphere of influence, its unsurprising fraud on this scale happens.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    Sounds a little premature: that first para isn’t exactly inviting. Always meant to visit Greece, specifically the islands, never got round to it. If and when they have their own currency so that prices are realistic rather than at inflated North European Euro levels, I might go there.

  • justlookin

    Did the Greek Parliament not sanction all EU demands last night?
    Well, there we have it – what is this fascism business if not pure theatre.

  • Freddythreepwood

    You were right the second time. It was a stranded mountain goat.

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  • WarriorPrincess111111

    Suppose that on the same street we have two retail stores (A and B) of the same size, some turnover and same number of employees. Store A can borrow money with great difficulty with an interest of 4% to 6% and always with collateral only. Store B can borrow money with no collateral and an interest rate of about 0% to 1%. After some time, which of the two stores with go bankrupt? Theofanis Giotis 08/19/2013

  • davidshort10

    It’s good that the Greeks have finally shown up to the whole world what many have known for a long time but get poohed-poohed, that the euro project is for the benefit of the Germans and the French polity as its junior partner. WWII carries on!

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    • bombaybadboy

      You backed by the ECB, easy? Loans from Germany is it?
      APR 127%. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments. Especially that old one with the columns and the pointy roof, I’ve got my eye on that.

  • Sue Smith

    I won’t be going because loads of illegals are arriving by boat in Kos/z from Turkey (whose coastline is easily visible in the background). These people are hanging around scrounging and begging for money and as long as the Greeks don’t send them back I feel no need whatever to visit Greece any time soon.

    • davidshort10

      Such a charitable person. You are only where you are by an accident of birth.

      • Sue Smith

        Now that IS a piece of rocket science. And thanks for the compliment.

      • E.I.Cronin

        This is an interesting point. Isn’t the conservative response to the culture erasing, globalist perspective that having been born into a culture, you have the opportunity to repay it with gratitude and loyalty?. A duty to nurture the ethnic heritage that gave you your bodily existence; language; society etc. Montesquieu pondered this point. I’m just a menial labourer but have to disagree with the great Frenchman. Yes the time and place of our birth is an accident, but almost everything you experience afterwards is the result of previous generation’s labour, accumulated experience, feeling and thought.

        • Malus Pudor

          And to quote Montaigne; However high a man sits, he still sits on his own arse….

    • davidshort10

      Are you sure you are on the correct website? I think there’s one called ‘doubledigitIQ.com’ for people like you. We are all accidents of birth and if you’d been born in a shithole and you had the guts and the means you’d get on a boat to a better life too and you might have to beg a little, too. Also , how can you call people who understandably do not want Germany to dominate the continent as they have long tried to do, and know that Germans have proved themselves the most racist people on the continent, to the extent of wanting to exterminate a whole people, if not the non-African world, ‘racist’, then say the Greeks have no morals and a low IQ.You seem like the worst kind of person in the world, and are probably single and childless, and no doubt ugly. unless you are just trolling for reactions. In either case, I will not be responding to any remarks of yours, ever.

      • Sue Smith

        Careful, your paranoia is showing.

        And those people escaping a ‘shithole’ have the ability to turn yours into precisely the same type. Think about somebody else for a change; other people mightn’t want their country turning into a shithole, as you so eloquently put it.

        And if you are going to point the finger of blame at countries because of their past behaviours in war you might like to look at just about every other European nation going back 2,000 years. The French and what they did to England!! OMG.

        Try and look forward; you know you want to.

        • Malus Pudor

          And you had the nerve and lack of perspicacity to call me a racist not long ago ….

    • alfredo

      You’re welcome. So what’s your problem?

    • Malus Pudor

      You forget that the Germans jackbooted uninvited into Greece in 1941; looted, plundered, raped and massacred many Greeks and stole all the Greek gold reserves which they never repaid.

      Your support for the Germans is odious and misplaced…

      • Sue Smith

        How sad that you’re ideas are so last-century. The current generation of Germans are not responsible for the sins of their fathers any more than I’m responsible for my forebears.

        I expect some military coup will come along and ‘fix’ Greece soon. They do that sort of thing, being fascists at heart themselves.

        • Malus Pudor

          You silly woman… the Kraut mindset has always been domination, supported by lack of humour, stodgy food, swilling mind-blowing quantities of inferior lager, having lavatories in which they can inspect their daily stools, flat industrial heartlands and zero joie de vivre…. you can have them….

          • Sue Smith

            Terrible, racist rant. Go away you vile racist.

          • dolusbonus

            Have you any response to Australia’s genocide of the aboriginal population ?

          • Sue Smith

            Only your use of the language. As usual, typical over-the-top left-wing emotion, sans reason.

          • Malus Pudor

            You seem to swing from Fascist to Commie at the drop of a hat… opportunistic, or what… probably just thick…

          • E.I.Cronin

            Sue, just ignore ol’ Malice. A very bitter stew.
            Am sorry to hear about Munich. I’m meeting more and more British and European refugees fleeing the ravages of Multiculturalism. I think the only silver lining to be found in the current disaster is OZ and NZ could be refuges for our parent cultures. Given the right leadership that is.

    • William_Brown

      Just as well. Vichy.

    • Malus Pudor

      Greece was the cradle of civilisation with men like Socrates, Homer, Plato, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides … just for starters…

      Germany’s origins by contrast were a bunch of bloodthirsty Huns and Goths who spawned the modern German nation and bequeathed a legacy of Hitler, the Nazis and the most boring citizens of modern Europe …

      • Sue Smith

        You are right about Greece; everybody knows that. The fall of civilizations is also a historical fact. We are currently witnessing the demise of Europe in toto.

        You poor ignormamus, saying things like that about Germany; the cradle of western classical music (along with Italy). The Germans are wonderful people, especially the fun-loving Rheinlanders. I’ve spent time with them.

        You need to get out more.

        • Malus Pudor

          Happy hols in Hamburg for you, then…. dummkopf !

          • Sue Smith

            Of course, I meant “decline” of Europe. And you still need to get out of the house.

          • Malus Pudor

            Stop overreacting, you insecure banshee… crawl away and listen to some Wagner while you contemplate the decline and fall of Europe….

  • xsnake

    Vagrant state.

  • Johnny Foreigner

    Hey Harry, why not go to Tunisia, it’s a dead cert you’ll get a free sunbed, the buffet never runs out and you’ll never have to queue for the beach toilets. Better than Greece?

  • Brogan75

    We should go to Greece anyway. It’s a beautiful country, with great hospitality services and great people. As an Italian I know Greeks well (‘one face, one race’) and I chose an island in the Aegean sea over any Red sea or Caribbean. You have choice for everybody: if you are young and want party and booze (disgraceful as it may seem) or if you are a couple needing a romantic spot or just searching relax. Greece has it all.

  • Max Bork

    UNDERSTANDING GREECE

    Looking at various left wing blogs and you see Greece portrayed as the underdog standing up to the money-changers infesting the temple.

    I was interested to read this alternative view …..

    THE NEXT TIME YOU FEEL SORRY FOR GREECE – READ THIS !

    Experts mandated by the European Union to investigate the causes that led Greece to the current economic situation relate the following facts:

    Greece falsified its accounts to enter the euro zone and has distorted the facts until it finally exploded. There was massive retirements at the age of 50 years. At Evangelismos hospital there were 50 drivers for officials’ cars, and on average there were 45 gardeners for a small lawn with 4 bushes.

    Greece has the highest population in the world of people reporting an age of 110 years. The deaths are often not registered and pensions continue to be received. The European Union had found that there are families receiving 4-5 monthly pensions which they are not supposed to get. There were still pensions paid to persons who died in 1953, 60+ years ago. 40,000 girls received monthly life pension of 1,000 euros for the simple fact that they were unmarried daughters of deceased civil servants. This, at a cost to the state coffers of €550 million euros per year. Now they will receive pensions only up to the age of 18.

    The pacemakers in Greek hospitals were acquired at a price 400 times higher than in British hospitals. In Greece, many workers have benefited from early retirement, set at 50 years for women and 55 for men who belong to one of the 600 job categories identified as particularly painful among which included;

    – Hairdressers (because of dyes that may be considered harmful)
    – The musicians of wind instruments (blowing into a flute is exhausting)
    – TV presenters (the microphones are supposed to cause damage to health).
    **** This law was adopted by the Socialist government of 1978.

    There are thousands of ridiculous “tricks” departments and unnecessary institutions, which many Greeks live off. For example, The Institute for the Protection of Kopais Lake, a dry lake since 1930.

    In the last decade, Greece has created over 300 new public companies. Tax evasion is massive, over 25% of Greeks do not pay a penny on personal income tax. In addition, the weight of the public sector in the economy is overwhelming. There are about one million officials to 4,000,000 active people.

    Greek public railways: The average salary of employees exceeds €66.000. per year. And this includes cleaners and other non-skilled workers. The (almost free) Athens Metro delivers about 90 million tickets a year, while the total cost of this public company exceeds the 500 million needed.

    The French retirees receive, on average, 51% of the last salary, the Germans 40%, North Americans and 41% Japanese 34%. Meanwhile, Greek pensioners receive 96% of their salary earlier.

    Greece has four times more teachers than Finland, the best situated country in the last PISA report, while the student performance in Greece is the lowest among many European countries by comparison.

    As an apparent show of goodwill to the EU, the Greek government eliminated 10, 000 postal official positions, of which 8,200 were dummy identities..!!

    http://nominister.blogspot.ca/2015/07/understanding-greece.html

    • William_Brown

      “…Greece falsified its accounts to enter the euro zone and has distorted the facts until it finally exploded.”

      Merkel & Co. were more than happy to loan and loan again, despite their certain knowledge of these false representations. Their narcissism craved ‘the cradle of democracy’ in their murky midst, at whatever cost.

      When you talk of Greece, you are talking about the discredited, corrupt officials who, frankly, are no worse than those swilling around in Brussels and Strasbourg. Harrys article here describes the Greek people who have been multi-shafted by crooked, grasping authority for many decades. Some things never change.

      • Max Bork

        So are you saying, you would have preferred the EU and IMF not bail out Greece?

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