I’ve been offline for a while, having been rather busy, but also because there’s been nothing I particularly wanted to write about. I had planned to go and visit another part of the Documenta Art Fair, but a general strike put a stop to that. To top it all, the weather has been foul; a hot wind dumping packets of dust upon us straight from Africa and, since yesterday, rain. We’re usually glad of a bit of rain at this time of the year, since everything is drying up fast, but today it’s like a monsoon, pouring down from a grey sky. The dog is refusing to go out, and I’m dreading a pile of poop will materialize next to the kitchen door…
Catching up on the news is doing nothing to improve my mood. The endless political bickering is intolerable. I wish they’d buckle down and do some work, instead of spending their time blaming each other for the ills that are besetting us.
As the endless negotiations between the Greek Authorities and our European controllers are winding towards a resolution, things continue to look grim. The constant quest for more money is centred on two things – raising taxes again (they are already sky-high) and cutting pensions further. Of course, there doesn’t seem to be any intention of cost-cutting in the public sector.
Consider the following figures:
Against a population of 3.5 million people in full employment, there are 1.4 million unemployed and more than 2.5 million pensioners. Nearly half of those are getting a pension below the poverty level. An average net salary is around 815 euro while around half a million people work part time for less than half that amount. Many are getting paid with a delay of three to five months.
Meanwhile, over 400.000 people have emigrated in search of better opportunities, mostly those with high qualifications.
Even if my figures are a little off (it’s hard to know which articles are credible), they paint a bleak picture of the future. The professional classes have been decimated and there is a real danger that a large part of the population will slip into permanent poverty. The collapse of the productive and technological framework also seems impending.
It beggars belief how the powers-that-be can think that a country can be resurrected by selling off the national assets and impoverishing the population. They’re in a mad hunt for cash in total disregard of any other consideration. The cash will disappear into the usual black holes and then what? And who will benefit from all this? – because, surely, as always, someone will.
It was this bleak mood which tempted me into ‘borrowing’ today’s title from Kate Atkinson’s marvellous crime novel. For those of you who haven’t read it, I highly recommend it (it’s the third of a trilogy).
As I’m writing this, my chair has been jolted by an earthquake. A single tremor. Could it be an omen? But of what?
To vent my frustrations I will now go and slosh some paint around.