Saturday 29 December 2012

Here we go again...

I thought I had become immune to the incompetence, lack of accountability and most of all, corruption of the Greek state. I thought nothing could surprise me anymore. I thought I knew all about the depth of depravity that the political elite could sink to. This week's events have surprised all of us however.

The recent developments on the issue of the so-called Lagarde list have brought to the fore the whole question of what a state is for, and in particular, the Greek politicians' belief that 'I have been elected and I can consequenly do anything I want, without being accountable to anyone or anything'.

The list was passed to the Greek Finance Ministry by Ms Lagarde in 2010, when Mr Papakonstantinou was Finance Minister. The PASOK government took no action and later claimed to have lost the list.  In October  of this year when journalist Kostas Vaxevanis published the list he was arrrested and prosecuted. Public anger over this issue has forced the authorities to start examining the details of 2,000 companies and individuals who had accounts in Switzerland and who may not have paid tax on their income.

The names of two of Mr Papakonstantinou's cousins and their husbands were on the original list (a copy of which was supplied by France last week), but not on the list that the officials had been working with.

Mr Papakonstantinou denies any wrongdoing despite the fact that the only names that were deleted from the list were those of his cousins and despite the fact that the list was handed to him by the French. He also asserts that it must have been Mr Venizelos, the head of PASOK who took the names off the list.

And what I ask myself again, for the thousanth time, is this: 'do they think we are that stupid? Do they really think that we will go on accepting their lies, their corruption, their total disregard for those who have elected them?'

As I have mentioned before in this blog, austerity is hitting hard at all levels of Greek society. Furthermore, tax evasion is rife and the state does nothing about it. Mr Papakonstantinou was not the only finance minister to be given the Lagarde list: his colleagues in France, Spain, Germany, Holland and Italy also received the list, acted on it swiftly and managed to collect taxes amounting to 10 billion euros in record time. Greece was the only country to hide the list in a drawer and not to act on it. In the meantime, the people of Greece are suffering horrendous hardship and are told that they have to repay the debt to the IMF and the EU, while their politicians continue to steal, pilfer and destroy.

'Greece's second major politician acted like the smallest of crooks, selling out his country for his own little self-interest', comments Socrates Tsichlias in Kathimerini today, a sentiment that is hard to argue with.

From one of the numerous demonstrations of the Greek people against austerity in the last few months. The placard reads: 'Dear God, hunger scares me'.

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