OPINION

On working hours, Cyprus, MPs, politicians, radio, pensions

Re: Shopping hours

I look at the extended shopping hours in Athens and I laughed.

We had the same left-wing unions restrict opening hours in shops for 100 years in Melbourne.

I can remember spending all night at illegal Greek night clubs in Melbourne that would not shut at the lawful time of 11 p.m., arriving home with my girlfriend at 4 or 5 a.m. and after a lot of laughter, drinking and dancing, hitting the bed like a rock. Often waking up on Saturday at 11 a.m. or even later to rush to the fruit market and supermarket for food, otherwise we would be without food for a week. Many a time being in a supermarket past 12 noon on a Saturday, with the staff shouting at us to leave, as we rushed to grab anything edible off the shelves.

All this changed thanks to the Vietnamese refugees who settled in Melbourne by the tens of thousands. I still want to kiss a Vietnamese shopkeeper when I see one. The Vietnamese refused to close their shops as long as there was a customer around. The logic was that they paid rent 24/7.

The Vietnamese were young, like all migrants, and often worked late, and if the shops were closed they could not eat. As they extended their businesses whole shopping strips stayed open seven days a week, and at times it seemed they never closed. Prosecutions took place, they paid the fines and kept opening seven days a week. Dead areas of Melbourne that did not see life for one hundred years came to life. We all saw that no harm was done to anyone, and they stopped prosecuting.

We now have supermarkets open 24 hours a day. At Christmas many regional indoor shopping centers often have 24-hour trading, and extended hours at other times. In all of Melbourne after 10 p.m. there used to be only one cafe that stayed open 24 hours, and that was run by a Greek family, where people who worked after noon or night shifts could get something to eat. This has changed and there is still room for improvement. We need to have 24/7 trading and public transport.

Greece needs to deregulate all retail trading. People should not have to walk around begging for someone to take their money. It?s another thing holding Greece back. All those shops that are only used for eight hours a day, and stay empty for 16 hours is pure silliness. Anyone who feels like working and paying taxes should be free to do so. Despite what the left-wingers think, we do live in a democracy.

The Greek economy needs the productivity.

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos

When pigs fly

When pigs fly will any of these pathetic, corrupt parties dump lazy, corrupt civil servants who vote these same crooks into power over and over again. Why would any party want to fire their own voters? Doesn’t the troika get this? Greece?s political system has collapsed, failed and become so utterly corrupt and without any purpose or vision. The troika actually believes that it’s dealing with real politicians. Unfortunately, Smurfs are smarter.

Lionel Luthor

Pensions comparisons

Interesting article but it’s nonsense to compare changes to pensions in Greece to changes to public service pensions in the UK. The public service pensions are contributory schemes (average 6.5% of pay), in addition to taxes and national insurance paid, and we (public service workers in the uk) are being told to work well beyond 65 (67/68) when we believe we have have contracts for pension payment at 60.

John Monaghan

Re: Tax claims to be probed

Background: I married a Greek woman in Athens in 1968, to whom I am still married. She and I have visited Greece about every other year since. My wife has family in Athens and Kalamata.

Now to the point. Is this report some kind of joke?

I was aware of the rumor that the tax auditors reduced tax liability in exchange for a bribe back in 1968. It makes me laugh to think that no-one in authority knew of the practice. Every working man and woman knew. Now the government is shocked at the suggestion that tax auditors are corrupt!

Greece needs a strong military dictatorship to straighten out the mess.

Michael Rudella

Re: Another Radio Station in Thessaloniki

Has anyone in Thessaloniki realised it?s 2011 and almost 2012, and Greece is sinking in a sea of useless organizations and radio stations. Greece needs another one? Why? Does Greece need another organization that does nothing?

The joke from the second- and third-generation Greeks in Melbourne is that the mania with Greeks is to create as many organizations as possible so that every second person is a «President» of something.

Many years ago, when Dalaras visited Melbourne, three young Greek University students went into the three sides of the theater holding five thousand people, and at the same time shouted «Mr President» and waved their arms. Within seconds it seemed half the theater got up and waved back. The gentlemen in their suits were all surprised that there were so many presidents. The crowd broke into a loud laughter that went on for some minutes.

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos

Re: Wishful thinking

Stop blaming the troika for what ails Greece. You cannot blame others for 20 years of overspending, thieving and misrepresenting the truth. Someone here needs to accept responsibility and that is not the EU?s problem, but Greece’s. Stop blaming the world for what ails you, cut the melodrama and work together to overcome the hell that awaits you. This mentality makes my Greek blood boil and makes me want to weep for all the people who have to bear the eventual responsibility like my 92-year-old beloved theia.

Aristea Kampitsis

Montreal, Canada

Questions

If a group of people, a nation is threatened by danger it’s normal that the group gathers/sticks together to fight the problems. In Greece it seems that strikes etc. are the normal reaction. Why?

Being a nation with a big income from tourists it’s alarming that all over Greece the garbage problem is not solved. You find the garbage crews are middle-aged and the garbage, for instance on the islands, spread out in the mountains. Do you find places with Blue EU flags on the beaches in Greece and why not?

Treatment of dogs chained and other animals is a scandal.

When visiting a public office (tax office for instance) you get really upset. I handed in an application to the tax office in Thassos on May 21, 2010 for a simple calculation on a building matter. We are still chasing the responsible employee.

I suggest that Greece take a position for let’s say the next 25 years in line with Albania — receiving help from EU as a developing country and being excluded for the same time from the union.

The recovery must start from the inside and the individual must take responsibility for a developed Greece and not always point to the elected government, officials etc.

All in respect for a developed Greece.

Torben Knudsen

Re: President urges resolution on the name dispute

With regard to the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, its quite simple and straightforward — Vardar is FYROM’s true name, concealed from the world by the Vardarski.

What is perplexing is why the Greek Foreign Ministry doesn?t publicly come out and state the name — Vardar — clearly to the world, the United Nations and the Vardarski. Does the Greek Foreign Ministry want to Hellenize Vardar, with the name Upper Macedonia, which is an absolutely foolish and treacherous in foreign policy terms for Greece. Is the Greek Foreign Ministry run my Greeks or by agents of foreign powers?

Gerry Mavris

A matter of trust

Unfortunately, every election that passes, whichever party is elected, does absolutely squat to change anything. People in the street have had enough of paying taxes to a crooked, corrupt set of politicians promising the Earth. People paid, and received nothing in return. Trust does not exist between the ?Greek State’ (let’s call it that, even though it?s anything but) and the people.

Who trusts a Greek politician, really!? Except maybe an African or North Korean dictator?

Lionel Luthor

Re: Novel downtown projects revatilize City Center

I wish them all great success and prosperity. They all sound like hardworking, ambitious people. Let us hope more will follow their example and change the city center for the better.

Monica Lane

Florida

European Community funds and the 2013 deadline

This is extremely outrageous. Greece will loose 3.5 billion euros by March of 2013? Don?t those politicians of PASOK and New Democracy or LAOS or any other party do not know that the Greek Treasury is almost out of money? Don’t they know that the unemployment rate in Greece is 17.5% and more than one million Greeks are out of work?

Well it appears to me that all the Greek politicians care is their election dealings, so that they will preserve their own personal salary and perks and nothing else.

For the foregoing reason, they all deserve to be voted out of office in the next election day by the Greek voters, inasmuch they do not serve the well been of the average Greek citizen.

John J. Ress

Cyprus

Just get on with the partition!

This is so much artifice. Clearly, the island is already partitioned, and after the collapse of the Annan Plan, there is no real will to reunify along lines both sides can support. The Turkish minority has every right, based on history, to fear Greek majority rule unless guarantees, including the protection of the Turkish state, are in place. This the Greek side will never accept.

So let’s partition, mutually recognize, and move on.

This is getting tiresome.

John Spiridou

Can we sell our politicians? A new export suggestion for Greece and maybe all others

Who is for recycling? Everyone is, so it’s about time we offer our politicians this eternal life opportunity. Why should we waste good talent? This is an opportunity to grab for politicians all over, and we have the pressing — some say depressing — wealth of our 350 parliamentarians in Greece! The fact is that they are so efficient we do not need so many; and that strikes me as totally unfair. Think of Haiti! Or, why not, France or Italy? Is there one country that isn’t in serious trouble, while Greeks all have, thanks to probity and brilliant managers, tons of extra cash to throw out the window? Do we want to be seen as «nouveaux riches» with 200 extra parliamentarians when the world is eagerly searching for efficiency, practical measures and honesty? No my friends. We cannot ask the planet to envy us our commerce and balance of payment forever Let us remain low-key though a charity public auction to the highest bidder — of course — that could be conducted by Sotheby?s or Christies? I don’t know what we’ll do with all that new extra cash,but my friends, it is high time we all understand what «public service» is about.

Marc Sursock

Geneva

Re: Cameron and the others

I agree with Mr Iordanidis. Cameron did right by us here in the UK. And quite possibly he saved the EU from diving headlong into a disastrous agreement to allow Germany to control everyone else?s tax policy. Tax is sovereignty. It’s what enables a country’s government to maintain a military force to defend its integrity. It?s what enables a government in more responsible countries to serve its population. It enables sovereignty to happen.

Once this is compromised you may as well have let Germany win WW2 and keep Europe. Make no mistake, I like and respect Germans inside Germany. Theirs is a great country, one of the great nations of the world. But all greatness requires a force to temper its excesses. Germany is about to attempt to remove this temperance by removing tax-based sovereignty from the absolute purview of national governments. If Germany doesn’t like what any one country does in the EU, it will use Brussels to attempt to control that nation?s sovereignty through the taxation treaty.

We in the UK don’t want that. There are other and better ways of getting Europeans to work together than through a German-dominated EU. Europe cannot and would not want to be another USA. There should the USA federal model, the Russian Eurasian model, and the European free trade associative model. We don’t want totally free borders that let in the bad with the good. Free trade can be achieved with sovereignty intact, borders well regulated, and taxation national, not European.

It requires a different mindset to that post-WW2 trauma Weltanschauung that charachterizes the German EU. We need a different, looser more realistic vision for the 21C. I have a feeling that Mr Cameron’s action in Europe may just have given us the breathing space we needed to look for one.

Well done Mr Cameron!

Philip Andrews

Still bankrupt

We’re still bankrupt under the ‘rules’ that govern the global financial system. It doesn’t matter how we view it, our system is still broken, still corrupt, and will weigh down heavily the next 5-10 years on Greek citizens, wiping out wealth saved over decades, wiping out investment, driving young people out and setting Greece on a path that pretty much will remain what it is today.

No amount of commentary, articles etc. will change the fact that our political system is bankrupt and utterly corrupt. Nothing.

Lionel Luthor

Re: Public outcry over parliament bonuses

Who authorized these bonuses? 15th and 16th salaries and performance bonuses? Based on what performance? Who receives 16 salaries?

This is beyond shameful; it is irresponsible. We are broke and go to Europe for loans to pay the bills and the interest we compound on a daily basis and these people collect performance bonuses with no «ceiling”?

In the real world they would have to pay us rather than expect to collect.

Where in the Constitution is written that lawmakers can pass laws for themselves that do not apply to the rest of the citizens?

We have been taxed and threatened to go without electricity; we have been victims of the austerity plans this Parliament has passed.

How much longer will this last?

When are the lenders going to find out how we spend the money we receive? Not one law was passed to encourage investment, jump-start the economy or provide for the weak.

Homelessness is becoming almost acceptable and our streets have been unsafe for sometime now.

These incompetent, arrogant idiots continue to benefit from laws enacted long ago which should have been suspended at least 18 months ago.

Are they trying to drive us over the edge on purpose?

Monica Lane