Members of Parliament in Greece are continuing the farce they call austerity measures, aka cutbacks. At a time when Greeks are called upon to pay property tax for the third time (they already pay two on a bi-monthly basis) with a further three announced this year, when civil servant income has been lowered (often rightly so in some cases) and pensioners who receive €550 a month are subjected to a further decrease in a pension that will not enable them to pay rent, medication or fuel for central heating this winter, MPs seem to live in a world of their own.
Backed by fervent support from the media nationally and internationally which has given rise to the image of the Greek who refuses to fess up to tax evasion all these years and pay the price, Parliament has passed the new budget for 2012 which hardly touches MPs’ salaries. Although slight pay cuts – which were proportionately insignificant in relation to the cuts average citizens suffered – were effected in 2011, that is where things stayed for 2012. In fact, the precise state of affairs is shocking. While the world lauds the government for its efforts to restitute Greece’s image by cutting salaries, wages, pensions, subsidies and perks in a country that never had a welfare system that worked, Greeks are protesting because they know better.
Last year’s MP expense budget covered:
a) compensation: Yes, compensation as they call it, because what they are doing is a favor to all Greeks, that is why they need to be compensated rather than receive a salary like those lucky enough to hold Συνέχεια →
In a short BBC interview today, I argued that the media’s witch hunt against Greece perpetuates a false impression that the Greeks themselves are to blame.
With special thanks to Naveena Kottoor, I was able to appear on BBC World Have Your Say today, for a brief segment on the international media’s coverage of the Greek debt crisis.
Asked whether I agreed that the international media are engaged in a ‘witch hunt’ against the Greek people, I pointed out that all talk about the Greeks being profligate, lazy and spoilt is simply not true (video below, my contribution from 34m50s onwards — somehow the audio got messed up):
Unfortunately, however, I didn’t get the time to back up these assertions with hard facts — so I would like this to use the opportunity to do so here.