On the left, prostitutes, elections, political parties and the memorandum
Of course the reports are one-sided since the Left is where the news is. However, where is the sensible Greeks who understand that without the austerity measures there is no money. Pensions will dry up, and ultimately the country will shut down. No other outcome. Grant it, the measures may be painful, but the country itself lead the way to where assistance is needed, and subsequently offered. It is not surprising that if a drug addict needs drugs and the pusher gives it to them, then they become slaves to the pusher. This is the case of a people who are in pain and caved in to the Left. They heard what they wanted. However, that short-term view completely wipes out the longer-term perspective: No Europe, no money, no Greece. I believe those that voted for the left have been duped. Can you say Chavez in Greek?
As the cultural epicenter of world history, one would think the population is more educated and sees the writing on the wall. The Greek drama unfolding is a tragedy unlike any written. Greeks get to your intellectual side and honor your agreement. Otherwise face oblivion, economically, and start getting the horse ready to serve as your mass transit. Perhaps a focus on economic opportunities for Greek is better spent than exiting the life net that is the Euro.
Left should join the right. No 37-year-old should be where he is in this most dire time.
Hundreds of Greek men fear contracting AIDS?
What world do they live in?
One has to be a real uncaring bastard to have sex with any women for the first time without a condom. To have sex without a condom is one part showing total disregard for the welfare of the sex worker, and the second part for oneself.
It would be difficult to understand a sex worker wanting to avoid the use of a condom, she has nothing to gain from the experience but pain and death. Even when she already has AIDS.
A religious person I know says AIDS is punishment for sin.
I am of the opinion that sex education in Greece has failed.
It's cheaper to spend money educating people than the Government looking after people for the rest of their lives.
When Greece gets a Government this may be an area of where savings can be made.
Meanwhile all good Christians instead of going to Church should visit the red-light districts handing out free condoms and reminding people of the dangers of unprotected sex.
A Christian would be doing good to the sex workers, to the customers, to the country and themselves with a free ticket to heaven.
I would not be brave enough to do it, that is why I do not deserve to call myself a "Christian"; but a former nun I know does this regularly; she has no fear of life and no fear of death, she is free.
Greece is not like Cyprus
Your analysis on the blind egos of the Greek political elite which have so badly let your country down vis a vis the de facto recognition of the Macedonian Republic is correct.
However, I just don't agree with you on Cyprus, which is nothing like Greece, never was and never will be. Cyprus is just too efficient, its citizens too conscientious and industrious to be labelled in the same way as the 'feckless lazy Greeks,' which is the general perception of the citizens of Greece throughout Europe.
In fact sir, had Greece had been a little more like Cyprus, then your economy too would have been heralded as an economic miracle (just like Cyprus) albeit until your incompetent and inefficient Greek banks had their way and now risk bringing down the Cypriot Republic into the abyss that your Greek political elite and incompetent banks have created.
Remember sir, that the Cypriot economy relies solely on privately created wealth, that the Cypriot people have had to create their own considerable wealth and that they cannot rely on an inflated and inefficient public sector to feed them. Remember also that the Cypriots have created a modern and beautifully clean society with state-of-the-art facilities and communications and, above all, a safe environment for their citizens and all those other Europeans who choose Cyprus as their home from home. By all accounts, Greece could do with more of the same!
So then, where does the difference between the assiduous charming Cypriots and the feckless Greeks, (always looking for a little more from their European masters) come from? The answer is simple. It is due to the extremely close links that Cyprus has traditionally had with the United Kingdom and its Northern European partners. Contrary to your poorly informed perception the Cypriot has the same work ethic and attitude as the Northern European whereas the average Greek has adopted a distinctly cavalier attitude to life.
Banning the far right
As I understand it the EU has already passed a law enabling national governments to ban any political parties they deem too right wing. Germany may be able to ban Nazi parties because of their history but that doesn't stop young Germans flocking to neo-Nazi organisations.
Banning political parties removes the democratic right to voice one's political opinion, it narrows the margins of democracy and by cutting off the democratic avenue of political representation leads to terrorism.
Banning political organisations because you don't like them is not democracy; it is a charade. Why not ban the communists as well or any group that doesn't share your views. How ridiculous to ban a fascist organisation by becoming a fascist yourself albeit in different robes.
It is with a sense of wonder that I read the comments from around the world on the Greek elections and the aftermath. Have we forgotten the principles of Democracy? Do we all know better than the people who democratically elected those who best represent their beliefs and aspirations? Twenty-five years ago I visited the city I was born in, Thessaloniki, in the province of Macedonia, northern Greece. The people all wanted to know about Canada, where I presently reside. I told them not to aspire to predatory capitalism, that all Canadians were in debt and were living in a vicious loop -- working to pay their debts, and never succeeding. Today that is truer than ever. Now the Greeks know what it means to be indebted to the Germans and other EU countries that will pull their leash for years to come.
Greece was not the origin point of the eurozone problem. All or almost all the EU countries are over the limits imposed on GDP to debt. It's easy to insult a country of 11 million with three hundred billion in debt -- maybe less now with the bailout -- but the USA has 13 trillion and counting, and their education and health industries are crumbling. Student debt is one trillion and is higher than all credit-card debt combined -- where is the future for them?
Greece will be fine. All those who practice the politics of fear should know that Greece is not afraid. Personally I would like to see Greece leave the EU and unite with other southern zone countries to form their own zone. They were fine before the EU came along. Now we have lost our utilities and our islands are for sale. The anger and humility, and the draconian austerity conditions are a preclude that may have perilous consequences -- remember post-war Germany of the 1920s and 1930s? Those elected politicians had better listen to their people and convey the hopes of a generation of Greeks who will pay their debts but won't except asking permission to use the bathroom in their own house.
Response to Peter O'Hara
Peter there is no perfect place on this planet and most of us agree Greece needs to change for the better. As a recent visitor to the good old USA I think you should also give some of your advice to your government. The minimum hourly rate is about $5-$8 an hour and in Australia its $16 with an unemployment rate of 5.3%. The USA has an unemployment rate of around 20% even though you dress it up to 10% officially. You have American jobs going to China and India. You have a gun-crazy society and daily murders in most big American cities, which make Athens look like a kindergarten. Your dollar has plummeted against other currencies such as the Euro/AUS/CAN. Does the whole world have to hear about the American primaries for two years before an actual election takes place where voting is not compulsory?
I have nothing against the American people and many Americans I spoke to told me that the US is not the place it once used to be. Again let me reiterate that there is no perfect country on this planet.
Greek retail struggle
As a Canadian retailer, the only plan of attack the retailers can take is to control their inventories and realign collections with more moderate-priced ones... Also, they should consider renegotiating their vendor merchant agreements: consider consignment, consider shared costs on markdowns, GM objectives with the vendor paying a portion of any shortfall and sharing end of season inventory exit strategies. Just a thought to pass on to the retailers: it's a more North American approach, but it saved a number of companies here.
Greek has an easy solution to its finance problems.
1. Make drachmas the official currency, electronically at first.
2. Repay all debts in drachmas -- simply send the electronic payments and pay off all debt
3. Provide price supports in drachmas for coupons for Greek services and products, such as tourism services, long-term care services, food services, and products for export that require more labor and less imported raw materials. This can provide 100 percent employment in an instant.
4. Adjust the price supports so that services are at a good price, with the understanding that most Greek debt that was in euros will be paid in full, in drachmas, over the next few years.
5. Make sure that all of the cities and tourist locations are spotless and free from riots.
You will find that this answer solves all employment problems and all financial problems in an instant.
Indian professor suspicious or just a foreigner?
Regarding the Indian professor stopped and detained by Greek Police. I could not help but wonder why the Indian professor was really stopped in the first place. Lately, over the past six months or so I get the impression that Greeks equate "suspicious" with just being a foreigner.
RE: Lack of trust, and patience...
Does the Greek people really believe that the outcome of recent elections is a forebode to "Weimar situations" (i.e., a state of ungovernability) in other, larger European countries, and that this dire prospect will induce Europeans to give Greeks more money?
If this is what Greeks think, such a stunning detachment from reality could make other Europeans wonder if you are still in your right mind -- sorry.
Greece is not the centre of the world.
Are you not aware what sums of money have already flown into Greece, not only as rescue packages, but quite normally, from Brussels's structural aid funds? Europe's patience has already been strained to extremes, and the still relatively silent majority outside of Greece welcomes the prospect of a Greek exit from the eurozone with a huge sigh of relief.
If you read readers' comments to newspapers not only in Germany, but Austria, Belgium and France, the picture is overwhelmingly clear. Voters in these countries will not tolerate more of their money flowing to Athens. Any government trying to do this would be crushed, and governments know this. An online poll by French paper Le Soir showed that among more than 1,400 respondents, a vast majority think that Greece should leave the eurozone.
During the last weeks and months, Brussels and the ECB have intensified their work on contingency plans in case of a Greek exit (see 'Handelsblatt', May 10, among others).
Thus, a Greek exit from the eurozone is no longer an unmanageable threat to European stability.
How can Greek voters believe that Europe wants to rely on politicians in Athens in whom the Greek people themselves have no trust? Or in politicians like Mr. Tsipras whose ideas oscillate between madness and insolence?
Still, mainstream politicians pay lip-service to the idea that Greece should remain inside the eurozone, but in reality, they hope Syriza wins the next elections, so that the case of Greece could be closed.
Consensus should be simple: Do not spend more than you earn!
CNBC financial news TV, just announcing the worse-than-expected unemployment figures in Greece, asked its representative in Athens what was the bottom line of current events: “50 percent cancellations in hotels right after the announcement of the elections' fragmented results due to the possible ensuing civil unrest," came the answer, "and of course a new election in the holiday season."
The morning guest of CNBC Today, an American Republican senator (Gregg) commented that there is a lot for us to learn from the European elections if we do not want to see the same here. Politicians get elected by promising their citizens higher living standards -- all based on a huge welfare state and debts that no country can afford -- and all end in a less prosperous nation for their children,
A more irresponsible grouping of individuals harping on about 1970/80s style economic platforms, ideals etc. to bring Greece 'back' is just plain suicide. These lefties have never owned, opened, run a business, have never paid wages, have never had the responsibility of looking after staff. All they have on their lazy, warped minds is the destruction of any private enterprise, the flattening of personal wealth creation, all the while creating more wealth and power for themselves and their close circles, as it usually happens in leftists governments.
When will Greece's Left finally grow up?!
Re: 'Looking for answers to Greece's impossible multiple choice'
Well done, Nick Malkoutzis, for appraising the current challenges for us so objectively.
While some of Syriza's "five key points" are ground-breaking, even splendidly "revolutionary", I agree with you that it isn't in Syriza's favour that it hasn't declared intentions to continue structural reforms and an overhaul of the public administration.
Last night's hour-long programme on BBC2 hosted by British ex-MP Michael Portillo made it fairly clear that the average person in Greece wants to keep hold of the euro despite current and continuing difficulties. So Syriza is going to have to build the euro securely into its manifesto if it really wants to be swept to victory in a second election. For the good of Greece, I hope Tsipras sees this and acts upon it quickly.
South Shropshire, UK.
Elections again, and after...?
Finally we reach fever pitch in the country and in the letters page as everyone 'holds their breath' while at the same time going into fits of apoplexy. Physically impossible (?) but 'the impossible' it seems is back in vogue.
Anyone with half a brain could have anticipated the present impasse. It is 'chaos on hold'.
According to an article in the Greek edition, the Germans are and have been preparing secretly for a Greek eurozone exit possibly by the end of the year.
There must be new elections held if no government is formed by May 17. These elections are likely to be held some time in June. Will these elections represent the epitome of midsummer madness? It seems unlikely that a new election will produce a result very different or much more workable than the present result. Greeks are angry, fed up, and emotionally charged up. They are disillusioned and feeling betrayed. With whom and by whom is something of a moot point.
If the elections in June produce a similar or even more splintered result, it is more than likely that Greece will choose/be obliged to leave the eurozone.
Leaving the eurozone will result in changing currency and adjusting economically everywhere. Even in the least worst scenario it would be messy. In Greece the scenario would be more like chaos unbound.
What kind of coalition of incompetents would come together for at least five seconds to oversee this process is anyone's guess. Aside from (arguably) ND and PASOK, none of the others has the qualifications or experience to run a corner shop, let alone a country.
Politics is about more than rhetoric. Someone actually has to take decisions for millions of people. I really don't think any Greek party is up to this at present or for the foreseeable future.
I suggest therefore that there will be just one outcome. The president will call in the military to restore and maintain order and stability (so no 'coup' as such, but a politically legitimate/constitutionally legal intervention ordered by the president), followed by or as a consequence of the exit of Greece from the euro. Then Greeks either get together with Germans, and anyone else who can help to sort themselves out with the new drachma, or they go it alone like a N. Korea.
It will very much depend on how effective the military is at maintaining order and creating stability, and on how much of the Greek population acquiesces to this and works with it, and how much openly resists. It is likely that those of a more leftist persuasion will openly resist, while the others will more or less willingly acquiesce.
Then Greece will be divided in two again, which may be an improvement on seven (parties). What may happen after that is anyone's guess, especially as Europe will be going through its own crisis (including Germany). As will Turkey and the ME, especially if there is an attack against Iran.
As they say, it never rains but it pours.
400bn-euro trump card
There is a psychological phenomenon called denial which the author and many others are in. Do they seriously expect Greece to pay that sort of money back? If they do, then by all means let them be stupid enough to give more money to the Greeks. Some so-called experts have no idea what they are talking about.
John Glover, A 400-billion trump card
So, Greece has a trump card because it has already borrowed so much and doesn't want to pay it back. (Anyway, everybody knows that Greece will be either unable or unwilling to ever pay back debt, the election result has shown this clearly.)
This is why this "trump card" in Athens' hands could make the European lenders lend even more to Greece? Would you lend more to a debtor under such circumstances?
I haven't heard such an intelligent argument for years. Mr. Glover should apply for economic advisor to Mr. Tsipras! Or he should be awarded the economic Nobel Prize.
Rejecting the memorandum
So, if I got this right, your government -- if you liked or not, you voted it in power - -has signed an agreement to get European money in return for structural reforms and for reducing deficits.
Now, you have had a democratic election. And most of the parties that were democratically elected plead for not adhering to your pledges to reform and cut deficits.
Some Mr. John Glover in one of your articles muses that you have some bargaining power to force Europeans to give you more money ("a 400-b trump card").
So that means, you don't feel obliged to honor your pledges, but, nevertheless, you expect more money from your creditors.
Can you explain to us normal Europeans how can any people be so out of their minds?