Greece, Football, the Euro and tomorrow’s Election

On the journey to the airport this a.m., there was much more political posters and graffiti; most of it from the KKE, I saw one PASOK graffito and two New Democracy posters in Corfu town.

We were still on a high from having seen England’s best football performance since 2001, and the first one I’ve watched since 2004. Our taxi driver, Dimitrios, gave us a detailed preview of the Greek team and management. He started with the phrase, “If I knew, I’d tell the manager”, He did say, that at least it remained in their hands and all that Greece had to do was win. He identified the problems of age, too old and too young, weakness in at the left back position, wrong goal keeper selection,  he’s not a fan of Georgios Samaras, and starting the game 10 minutes after the opposition and the kick off whistle. He characterised the Greek team as fighters not exponents of the beautiful game, “We are not Brazil”.

We spoke about the election, what he said suggested that he saw it as a referendum on the Euro, but that he had seen a Greek language article in Germany’s equivalent of the Financial Times translating an appeal from Angela Merkel for the Greek people to vote for the Euro and the bailout agreements. He suggested that appeals from foreign politicians were unlikely to succeed in changing anyone’s mind in favour of their views and you’d think she’d have learnt from her so-successful support of Sarkozy. (Interestingly, the English language, Greek Reporter attribute the article’s editorial to the FT De alone, and elsewhere Merkel is quoted as declining to give advice to the Greek people.)

On arrival at the airport, the taxi rank full of taxis waiting for arriving passengers acts as a potent symbol to Europe’s and the Euro-zone’s economic policy makers, that they’re all in this together! It’s full of Mercedes, and to a lesser extent Peugeots. A Deutsch Mark would be more valuable then the Euro, they’d find it harder to sell their cars, the Greeks won’t be able to afford their Mercedes if they are expelled from the Euro and the new Drachma devalues. (I wanted to take a picture, but we entered the hell that is the Easyjet checkin queue at Corfu airport, and all thoughts of tourism exited my mind. It’s not a good way to end such a relaxing holiday; I wonder if we can do better.)

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