The once mighty PASOK has been reduced to the smallest Party in the new Greek Parliament. In 2009, it won 44% of the popular vote and formed the Government; earlier this year, it won a under 5%. Its decision to join the New Democrat led coalition in 2010 had led to a split, with much of the left of PASOK leaving to support its eventual replacement, Syrizia. PASOK has been killed by its own austerity policies and walking away from the hopes and causes of their political base.
Tag Archives: greece
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.)
We return to London tomorrow. The Greek’s vote for the second time in a month on Sunday. It’s very quiet here, I have been in Greece during elections before, in the islands and on the mainland. I had expected flags and bunting and mug sales and graffiti, but apart from a few KKE posters in Corfu town, I have seen nothing. I have spoken to two Greek citizens and one non-voting resident. The seem determined to retain some control over their destiny, unsure what way out there is, they blame the political elite, interestingly not the Germans, although I suggest that the pan european right wing “Coalition of the Austere”, of which Angela Merkel is the most outspoken should shoulder much of the blame. While some of the jokes being told, and some of the more serious comments, are based on the view that the Greeks don’t work hard enough; it’s not what I saw. I wish the Greeks well.
(Amended on the 17th June, to include the comment about hard work)
After a flight and a taxi journey, we arrive at the Delfin Blu, a hotel we discover at the top of trip advisor’s hotel list in NW Corfu. After a check in, we explore Aghios Stephanos, discover the Super Market, and four bars all showing the football. I hadn’t thought to realise that it’s the first week of Euro 2012. Mrs. L is a big football fan, and has honed her supporter skills and stamina by following Portsmouth and Tottenham. More recently, we have tried to follow England but like most who do, it’s been a painful process. I am reminded that on our honeymoon, we watched several games of the ’86 World Cup including England vs. Argentina, the famous “Hand of God” game. We sit down at a bar, order two beers and begin to watch Holland vs Denmark. Denmark are in their white away strip; Red and Orange it would seem are too similar. Just as Denmark score, Mrs. L. says, “This takes me back”, “What seeing someone in a white shirt score a goal?” I reply. It seems I should have been more romantic.
God, it’s early. That would have been the advantage of taking a charter flight, but I only want two seats. I and Mrs. L. are travelling to Corfu this morning; our first trip to the Greek Island’s by ourselves since our honeymoon in 1986. There’s only one direct flight, and it leaves at stupid o’clock.
Off on holiday early tomorrow morning, sailing in the Ionian Sea. I have my phone and ipodtouch with me so I am not totally out of touch. I shall be reading my tweets, at least those of you who I subscribe to on the SMS; Vodafone have a great service in Greece, maybe even better than where I live. I am taking my cameras with me so lots of pictures, maybe even some video.
I went on a flotilla sailing holiday in the Ionian Sea, and recorded some of what happened on my sun/oracle blog. This version of the article which is an aggregation of the originals was posted on this blog in July 2016.This holiday had been a long time ambition of mine in order to see Ithaca, the legendary home of Odysseus from the sea. Actually I wanted to land there and explore, but for various reasons, this didn’t happen, and at least I have an excuse to return.
Originally posted as three articles on my sun/oracle blog, I went to Greece on holiday, and had an exciting journey through Gatwick on my way out as BAA responded to the heightened security threats, I shared my reading, Benkler’s “Wealth of Networks and Younge’s “Stranger in a strange land” and got home safely.
I’ve been away to Greece over the last week, I got back over the weekend but I’ve been too busy to write a blog article. We visited Stoupa in the Southern Peloponnese and travelled with Greek Options, who we’ve used three times now and have always looked after us. Sadly we were only there for a week and therefore didn’t leave Stoupa to visit any of the fantastically old sites in travelling distance. We’ll have to go back.