NEWS

On Keratea, the economy, corruption, Exarchia

Karetea landfill

The solution to the cost of policing this is simple. The Ministry should send the bill to the mayor of Karatea. This town is causing the cost so they can pay for the services. If they don’t want to pay, have the government take it out of the money they get from the state. Maybe when there is a huge hole in their budget, their lawlessness will stop and they will take responsibility for their actions.

MICHAEL HAYES

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL USA

Tell the truth about the economy

I think that journalists in Athens will know that there is a plan for recovery and stability but that plan is so challenging that the politicians dare not announce it in public. The plan has to take account of the fact that Greece is bankrupt. Over the last ten years, at least, it has been spending more than it received. The problems are made worse because the population has been doing the same. The government and the people are bankrupt. The government and the people are beggars!

So the first part of any plan is to stop spending, stop borrowing. This means that government departments cut their costs, cut their spending, cut their borrowing. Civil servants will have to work longer, for less. Longer days, more years. Instead of claiming retirement at 50, they will have to work until they are 70. Not only that, it will be necessary to pay 10% of wages for insurance and pensions.

The Health Services will have to make a clear distinction between public and private. For those who want preferential treatment and no waiting, they will have to go ‘private’ to pay for their treatment. For those who want treatment, they will use the public health service. Having come to Greece as a pensioner, I have found the Health Service here much better than in the UK.

Of course, another plan could be to carry on as before, and wait for the Eurozone bankers and fund managers to finally refuse all credit to Greece, to stop lending money. In this case all services would collapse, and all banks would go bankrupt. All people with deposits in the banks would lose their monies. You might ask, why does the government have to borrow so much? Simply because the day to day spending on services is greater than the day to day revenue. To return to balance, the day to day spending will have to be less than the day to day revenue. The government will have to tell the people that things are going to get much worse. And the people are going to have accept it and shut up and stop demonstrating. The special privileges of all the various syndicates in Greece, from lorry drivers to pharmacists to taxi drivers to farmers and so on will have to stop now.

Whether it is done by the present government or the central banks or the EU or the IMF, Greece has to stop spending, stop borrowing, and pay back its debts. It does not make matters any better to know that this is true of Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, UK, USA as well as Greece. Where has all the cash gone? China! OPEC. Germany.

If Greece was willing to become a part of the Peoples Republic, then it will be bankrolled by China. But then the EU and USA would have something to say about that. So Greece has to start re-emphasising its strategic value to NATO, and demanding to be funded to fulfil that role. But even that funding will be borrowed/loans/gifts. The people of Greece have to realise that they cannot afford to live as a first world country on a third world income!

J. KELVYN RICHARDS

TRIKALA

These taxes will be the final blow to the economy

These taxes will be the final blow to the economy. More taxes is only a short term solution and a long term catastrophe. Greeks pay more taxes than the richest north European citizens yet they get half the salary. Even better, the salaries are going down to poverty level. The generation of 700 euros became the generation of 500 euros. 500 euros is one week?s work in north Europe. In fact you get more than that in welfare.

HUBE DUKE

Bravo, Exarchia ‘Vigilantes’

‘Bravo’ to those citizens of Exarchia who have given up on government and police incompetence in dealing with drug addicts and pushers fouling their neighborhoods. Vigilantes were needed in areas of the American West as well, for the same reason. And it works when people stop shrugging and take things into their own hands. The police should be thoroughly embarrassed but I am sure they are not. If their hands are full dealing with punks who style themselves as ‘anarchists’ in the same area of Athens, there has been no indication of progress of getting that situation under control either. Talk about ‘Keystone Kops’!

JAMES SMEADER

NAFPLION

Corruption and debt

It is frankly embarassing for philhellenes abroad to read about corruption in Greece and it’s about time the government used its mandate to make those guilty pay. The latest story about Mr Liapis’s millions makes Idi Amin look like a saint. Greece’s huge debt is down to greedy voters demanding favours and weak and greedy politicians lacking the backbone to say no. But for Greece to have the Turks laughing and calling this nation, which has received EU subsidies worth trillions over 30 years, ‘beggars,’ is the last straw.

Mr Papandreou should form a national coalition government of the good Greeks, appoint tribunals to examine and confiscate corrupt funds, and sort out the debt by reducing unfairly high remunerations while ensuring that the poor don’t starve, at the same time offering investors incentives to create jobs.

A democratically-elected government can clean up Greece. We don’t need a ‘junta,’ as a small minority of older people in Greece say. But we need politicians with backbone to take the lead, reorganise the state, make the changes that are long overdue, and get Greece back on its feet.

For Greeks to rely on handouts from poor, small countries such as Slovakia and Malta is a disgrace. For Greece to blame foreigners for its woes is also a song we’ve been hearing for the last 600 years.

So come on Modern Greeks — forget about your ancient ancestors, they’ve done their bit. It’s time for the Modern Greeks to show what they can do. i sincerely believe, as a philhellene, that cleaning up politics, donating all funds confiscated from corrupt politicians into a pot to alleviate the debt, reducing over generous salaries and pensions, and attracting investors to create jobs can get Greece on its feet and indeed give it the fastest growth rate in the European Union.

The Greek people want their elected representatives to clean up the mess and get their country moving, but the Greek government cannot do this on its own, it needs to establish a coalition of national unity. I realise that many Greek politicians are mummy’s boys and always want to get their own way, refusing to compromise, so my suggestion is that we get more Greek women involved.

After all, a Greek woman has experience in putting up with the spoiled ways of her menfolk; she also has experience in the practicalities of balancing the household budget and living within your means while maintaining ambitions for the family.

So Modern Greeks, there you have a solution — get together and fill your Cabinet with independent women and you’ll soon see action for the better.

FRANCIS WILSON