Yes they are nuts here. The government statistician is being pursued by the politicians through the Courts for reporting the truth about the government’s accounts to the EU, leading to the bail out and fiscal austerity measures that have sent so many of the 11 million Greeks to the poor house, currently 23% of them unemployed and their pensioners having had 6 pension cuts to date.
That’s the sort of economic stress that can break a democracy and for sure the Act that requires the Statistician to be independent looks to be an early casualty. Despite his initial Court victories that admonished the political venality that underlay the prosecution, the pursuit is relentless and at this 3rd trial he could get life.
We’re in downtown Athens, hotel is fine but the streets are littered with drug pushers and addled users, shooting up in the gutters amongst the garbage. It is very sad – this at best is an economy that being reduced to one of very small, near subsistence businesses and not much else. Tourism around the Acropolis is vibrant but there seems to be not much else happening.
The latest entertainment is protesting against the Greek government agreeing to Macedonia being called “Northern Macedonia”. Really with the dire straits of its economy and the choke that has on the futures of its young people, Greece has far more urgent issues to be dealing with. But when hope fades, crude and ugly nationalism becomes the unifying force for the population to lay the blame for their woes on external enemies. What Greece really needs is a 30% devaluation and its economy to be able to respond to that boost to competitiveness. But being in the Euro prohibits that. So misery continues.
Oh well, the Greek Islands remain wonderfully cute tourist stops at least.