John Ward – Greece : Not Much In The Way Of Christmas Fayre, And Even Less That’s Fair To The Greeks – 23 December 2013

samaras&wifetitleAntonis Samaras, the Greek Prime Minister, has a son at the best Athens school…the way you do. Being a chip off the paternal bloc, the son of Atonikis is not very bright, and was thus reduced to cheating in an exam at Athens  College for the Spawn of the Élite. He was caught doing this bad stuff (also a family trait) and so the teacher gave him a Fail Grade. She didn’t expel the little prick as I would’ve done, she merely failed him for the one test. This bad decision cost the lady her job. She was fired, and appealed, but the appeal was dismissed.

It seems not so much an open and shut case, as a blasted wide open case of the sort of privilege for which the Greek political MoUs are infamous. The Greek Central Council for Secondary Education (KYSDE) decided not to overturn the dismissal as in their opinion, there was “not enough evidence to prove” an abuse of power by Athens College when they terminated the teacher’s contract. The evidence was as damning as a highly polished pikestaff, but the teacher now has no job, and the Samaras family clearly thinks it’s been vindicated.

S’not fair, is it? I mean, be fair – it’s not fair.

The German leaders in Berlin wax sanctimonious about Greek tax evasion, but Der Spiegel reports that the Mediterranean country’s inspectors are investigating three major German carmakers for possible tax fraud.

Theodoros Floratos, the head of Greece’s Financial and Economic Crime Unit (SDOE) confirmed  BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Opel as the main culprits, because he has evidence that they’re delivering their vehicles to Greek distributors at extremely low factory prices purely to minimise the taxes due to Greece as the importing country. So, Mr Floratos alleges, the very drivers of Greek austerity are using their own exports to further damage the unrepayable Greek debt-hole by selling them driving vehicles for the privileged few.

I did at one point toy with the idea of buying a Greek-registered Merc this summer, because (for example) the imported factory price of a 5-series upper range car is only €22,135. Then I discovered that it has an undiscounted retail price of €124,450. So I lost interest. Somewhere along the line, there is another back-handing Greco-German fiddle going on here, in which the Germans get to look successful, and the retailers pocket a tax-free margin.

The new car tax laws for the Greeks themselves, meanwhile, mean that low demand for such things drops the outlay down well below the “retail” price. The rich then save three times on the discount what the gas-guzzler law will cost them.

So the wealthy Greek, the dealers, and the Germans gain….but the real people in the Kafenions lose bigtime, and are forced to garage their cars rather than pay the Troika-inspired taxes.

S’not fair, is it? I mean, be fair – it’s not fair.

What Greece needs to do, while waiting for the fantasy Samaras recovery, is to grow as much cheap food as it can to feed a near-destitute citizenry. But last Saturday, the ND/PASOK ‘coalition’ was forced by the Troikanauts to pass a controversial new law extending property taxes to, er, farmland.

As a result of this, another Coalition supporting Deputy Byron Polydoras refused to back the new tax law demanded by Greece’s lenders. “Lenders’ greed and poor judgement is leading us straight towards a humanitarian crisis,” he said.

S’not fair, is it? I mean, be fair – it’s not fair.

This makes the Coalition majority now three in the Athens Parliament. So although PASOK’s  Evangelo Venizelos is enjoying single-figure opinion poll support these days, he must be licked regularly. His Party executive, however, is more up for the spitting than the licking. Several PASOK MPs have raised questions about the party’s future and Benny Obesizelos’s leadership, but the man who needs a winch in order for his mobility to function insists to his crtics that the government’s popularity “is larger than is visible to the naked eye”. We must hope that the same isn’t true of Venalzealous himself, otherwise the country’s self-feeding programme will be in even greater jeopardy.

“The narrative is not working out, and PASOK is in danger of foundering on the rocks if we do not change course,” says critic Thanos Moraitis. Others, including former Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis and ex-party secretary Michalis Karchimakis, also called for Venizelos to rethink PASOK’s strategy.

So one way and another, a few more desertions and the Troika’s favourite people will be out of a job.

That’s fair, innit? I mean, be fair – it’s fair.

As usual, the West European media set are blissfully ignoring all this, and most of the eurozone press are censoring the discussion. Meanwhile, the BBC, with depressing predictability, reports about it – but in an essentially ignorant manner:

‘..there is a large proportion that quietly supports what has happened. I sat in a bustling bar last week with a lawyer who is among them. The crisis is changing Greece for the better, he told me. The bloated, clientelist public sector that employed unqualified people in return for political support, is being reformed. Greeks are learning to live within their means. Tax evasion is no longer accepted. A new culture of solidarity has emerged: a feeling of “we are all in it together”…The government talks of the worst being over, of an end to recession next year, of unemployment starting to fall. On paper, the figures do look better’.

Featherweight BBC foreign correspondent talks to New Democracy pillock in Athens Bar. New Greek bollocks baffles pissed old hack.

That’s fair, innit? I mean, be fair – it’s fair.

www.hat4uk.wordpress.com / link to original article

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