Sunday, November 08, 2009

New Democracy's scorched earth economic policy

Burning shop - Thessaloniki

Greece does not produce cars not does it manufacture computers. It relies instead upon tourism, shipping, agriculture and construction. So, when you read that the contractors who built the Greek stand at the world's most important trade fair in London have been forced to go to court due to to the country's government's unwillingness to pay them on time then you have to wonder what the hell is going on. It seems that the previous conservative New Democracy administration carried out a scorched earth policy as far the country's economy is concerned.

It wasn't enough to borrow huge amounts of money "off the books" so putting futures generation in hock for decades to come. That would have been too simple. In addition they left a legacy of debt and mistrust in virtually every area of public life, including Greece's vital tourist industry which now owes millions to advertisers such as CNN, Google, MTV and even 67,000 euros to London taxi drivers. It was only the last minute intervention of recently appointed junior minister for the economy Kostas Papakostas that averted the mortifying spectacle of the English bailiffs seizing Greece's national Tourism Organisation (EOT) assets as a result of a court order due to outstanding debts stemming from a trade fair in 2008.

Not that any of this worries the future leadership of New Democracy. You'd think that running the country's economy into the ground and being on the business end of the worst electoral defeat in a generation would give people pause for thought. Nothing of the kind. The four, sorry now three candidates for the leadership of New Democracy have done little else since their election debacle of October 4th than fight amongst each other over how the next party leader will be elected. There has been little or no discussion over why their party have seen its worst defeat since 1981 or why despite winning power three times since its inception in 1974 New Democracy has not once been able to serve a full four year term.

Looking at the three remaining candidates Dora Bakoyianni, Antonis Samara and Panayiotis Psomiadis you cannot but be reminded of the Titanic. The current backroom deals over who is going to become leader of New Democracy on have as much relevance as arguments over who is going to share the captain's table on that unfortunate vessel.

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