Today I saw on Facebook a campaign for “European Revolution” on 29th May 2011 seemingly started by some Greeks, I saw this and thought how stupid this is. Thus here is my response, I thought about posting it on their wall but realised they would probably just divert some of their negative energies at me causing me grief, but I trust it is safer to put it on a website that almost no one reads (mine):
Clearly a group of people with too much time on your hands. The power for real change isn’t in protesting, it is in acting in a positive way: it is about producing, it is about helping your country to recover. You are the government, the people have the power already. You blame the economic and political forces? What have you been doing that lets these forces control your lives? The answer is: Nothing. Politics is of the people, you and your families vote for the politicians. If there is corruption then you let it happen by not paying enough attention to your representatives. If the economic forces have controlled your life then you have forgotten that by earning money you, as the people, are in control. The way you spend your money determines the fate of the economy and the nation. You might think that your money is less important than the money of big business but then you are underselling your own importance. If you campaign for a positive change in spending, and if you are in the right, then you *can* make a difference.
Of course some will attack me for saying this, but I have seen what these protests achieve: Nothing. Because they are nothing but a forum for violence by anarchists who want to feel ‘something’ in their lives through this violence.
The Greek people in particular need to take responsibility for their national situation. You are not victims, you are complicit in the situation.
So, let me get this straight:
- Google sent cars driving around the world to gather data about the areas they pass through.
- Amongst things they captured:
- 3D topographical data
- Panoramic photographs
- Wireless signals
- They sniffed for any wifi signals that were being broadcast in the proximity and captured the raw signal.
- Some people don’t have security enabled on their wireless networks
Thus, because Google sniffed whatever was about and because some people don’t use security on their networks their information was gathered. It was gathered in much the same way that anyone could and frankly these people who were snooped were broadcasting their details to anyone who could hear.
Last time I checked it wasn’t illegal to receive/record broadcasts, let alone those that are unencrypted! The entire process of prosecution of Google for this is a preposterous farce which the press can enjoy and which can give civil servants something to keep them occupied.
Despite not being Greek myself I have very personal connections and commitments there and I was recently asked what I would do to ease the situation further (because Germany is not happy with the proposals so far). Of course I have no real influence on Greek politics but were I to be able to dictate here are my views. Warning, this is the brutal truth as I see it, it doesn’t mean I don’t like Greece but this is what I see as stopping Greece from being great again.
Personally I feel that the Greek people have let themselves get into trouble because of the way they conduct their politics. I am told that in the main the politicians are corrupt on a grand scale but as long as they do nothing that overtly and obviously affects the daily lives of the population the people won’t do anything. The people of Greece value individual liberties even if that is at the sacrifice of the common good and for all their protestations as to having been the originators of democracy they have forgotten that the cost of democracy is collective responsibility.
The unions and the people will strike because they are getting affected by the obviously unpopular cutbacks. The most notable issue is the fact that the public sector is massively bloated with probably 20-30% of people who are completely superfluous. In addition they spend huge amounts on academic research but believe that co-operating with business to commercialise efforts would taint academia. It seems that half the café workers in Greece seem to have a post-graduate degree and most of the workers seem to be regularly practising some form of tax evasion.
I love Greece but it just needs to wake up to a little self-sacrifice and the people need to take some responsibility (not just the politicians). My interim measures would be:
- Tell every government department to cut at least 1 in 4 jobs over the next two to four years. At the same time offer amnesty to non-permanent staff and let departments decide who they actually need (many good staff are on short-term contracts many lazy people have permanent contracts).
- Cap redundancy payments to limit the expense and begin a separate “back to work” scheme for those who are made redundant by the cuts.
- Don’t pay those who go on strike and let them face the responsibility of not going to work (hold firm).
- Ask politicians (local and national) to take half-pay for the next year and/or audit all expenses for the past two years.
- Force all academic institutions to fund part of their budget each year from external (non-academic) activities or cut their budgets proportionally. Starting at 5% and adding 5% each year until 20-25%.
- Modernise the power generation system to avoid dependency on ancient dirty/inefficient power stations.
- Reduce bureaucracy and paperwork by 30%.
- Cancel all non-maintenance spending on national defence (Reduce defence spending to <=3% GDP?). (Turkey isn’t really going to invade any more and they don’t need new submarines).
Just my observations over the past five years of being involved with Greece. Perhaps I am too harsh, but it is tough love. Greece lords itself for being one of the greatest countries in the history of the world, but that is history. The Greeks must look forward with a unified vision to what they want to be and have the ambition to execute that without sacrificing the things that already make Greece great (family, social life, community spirit).
Just my two Euro-cents.
Anyone who is claiming that the Royal family isn’t a draw for tourists has clearly not spent enough time out of the UK nor actually spoken to many tourists. Perhaps the 2.9 million people who, in 2008, visited the sites managed by HRP were just there for the architecture alone? I spend more time with international people than with British because of my work (unrelated to tourism or royalty) and I can testify that the royals are significant figures internationally.
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