Despite the fact that the newly elected government is still a product of the old political class there are a few signs of hope in Greece. For a start, a government is better than none (at least in the current situation) and this one might be a little more careful not to try to profiteer too much from their position with so many Greek people watching them suspiciously.
On the whole the air is still pretty stale in the corridors of power but a fresher breeze is blowing outside.
This could have to do with the fact that the tourist season is now approaching its peak and some money is coming in. Predictions have been dire but at least from what I could see so far (in Crete) things have been pretty normal. There might have been a small drop in numbers but nothing like what some pessimists were predicting. And it seems that things are bouncing back now that the elections have taken place (I’d take the statistics in this article with a pinch of salt though) and the situation in Greece looks a little more settled.
People are easily scared by bad news and of course what you read and see in the news is generally focused on bad news. A number of people feared to get to a country on the verge of civil war, with no currency. The reality of course is that Greece is still functional, a little cheaper than last year and that Greeks have become even more appreciative of people coming to holiday here and support their economy. Fortunately there seems to have been a bit of “good press” recently, for example in The Independent and the Daily Mail to name a few.
Another current I have noticed in the news reporting is that with the rising awareness that the Greek crisis is not a Greek made problem but the product of a much wider occurrence with Greece being only the forerunner, the tip of the iceberg. It seems that this realization is also dampening the black and white view of ‘Greeks = thieves, liars, lazy gluttons’ (there is definitely some parallel with Titus 1:12) and turning it into something with more shades of grey: ‘Greeks = made many mistakes but also victims of circumstances beyond their control’.
Refreshingly, Albrecht Ritschl, a German professor of economic history at the London School of Economics and a member of the advisory board to the German ministry of economics has slammed Germany (and Germans) for their arrogant attitude to Greece, reminding them that ‘Germany Was Biggest Debt Transgressor of 20th Century‘. It certainly makes a nice change from the reporting of the Bild Zeitung!
Luckily for Greece the current problems of Spain and Italy and the realization that the Euro is not working in its present form mean that the heat has shifted for now. Let’s just hope that the unions can refrain from staging any strikes and attracting more bad press….Greece really doesn’t need it at the moment.