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SitRep Greece 2011 (Rose Walshaw) PDF Printable Version E-mail

A Situation Report on Greece

From our own correspondent: Rose Walshaw in Greece
November 2011

Rose and Alf Walshaw are retired school teachers who now live in the centre of a village in the south-western corner of the Greek Peloponnese. Rose speaks and reads Greek fluently, reads Kathimerini (= 'Every Day' or 'Daily'), an Athens Greek language newspaper, has many Greek friends and plays the trombone in the marching band of a nearby port town. In other words, she is in-touch and in-formed and not at all a typical expatriate.

Here Rose writes about the current situation in a debt-torn Greece, seen from the viewpoint of the ordinary Greek. She has written other articles for this website (see Fellow Travellers), including an account of a recent Tour of Turkey in a Lada 4wd with roof-tent.

Rose writes:

"The situation here is safe and calm regarding campsites. Some are still open, such as the lovely one at Tsapi which seems to be staying so for the winter. So I suspect you will actually have a better choice than some winters. People need the money. Maybe you will find the campsites more expensive this year. All prices go up and up.

You will find the Greek people that you speak to rather despondent. They don't like being the laughing stock of Europe, they don't like being the beggars of Europe and they don't like having to pay higher and higher taxes for less services when it wasn't them that squandered/stole the money in the first place.

The rich Greeks still continue to buy their 2million houses in London and none of them have been done for tax avoidance. The pensions go down and down; no-one has had any family allowance since April; the schools don't have enough teachers since they cut the public servant numbers; the post, banks, hospitals and courts are always on strike; etc etc. Now the property tax bills are starting to arrive - whether anyone will pay them is another matter.

Maybe things will improve tomorrow when we have the interim government, just as long as they keep the narrow-minded, stupid, power-hungry Samaras out of it.

It's good to live through interesting times. I read 4 newspapers every day to get a balanced view: the Independent, Telegraph, Guardian and Kathemerini. But still, I was jolted when I realised there was a true chance of a military coup: that sort of thing doesn't occur to someone of my age who has lived in the safety of UK since the war. That's why they changed all the top servicemen last week."

Note: Samaras is the head of the main opposition party, the right wing 'New Democracy'. He is willing to form a coalition but not with George Papandreou in post as Prime Minister. Socialist George has had the tormenting experience of trying to implement massive German-imposed cut-backs.

By 16 November, George had resigned and unelected former banker Lucas Papademos was nominated as head of a coalition government and the struggle continues.

Don Madge writes to recommend: http://livingingreece.gr/. This website is operated by an American woman who has lived and worked in Greece for 13 years. In addition to current news, Kat describes Greece as it really is; you may never be the same again after reading the page: http://livingingreece.gr/2008/02/10/move-to-greece/. Many thanks to Kat for all her work and an amazing achievement.