Greece: Disconnect Between Government and People not Questioned

BBC Radio 4 (The Today Show) - 8 February 2012
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Mark Lowen reports from Greece on the Greek government's commitment to 'reforms' which include cutting the minimum wage by 20%. Further austerity in Greece is accepted (and forced) by EU governments, but not by the Greek people. Lowen's suggests that the politics of a country are separate from the people (which, it could be argued, is the case in Greece, after the replacing of the Prime Minister by a technocrat in late 2011): 'It [further austerity] could stick politically but whether it sticks among an austerity-weary Greek nation is altogether another matter...' The disconnect between this EU-appointed Greek government and the 'austerity-weary' nation is simply accepted and not questioned.

Lowen also poses a question that generally ignores the protests and desires of the Greek people: 'The big question is whether this entire strategy is flawed.' That the idea of cutting minimum wage by 20% is flawed is even a question demonstrates the angle from which this reporter approaches the issues of Greece.

There is a hint of the general prejudice towards Greek people (and the idea that they are lazy) in the report also: 'The holiday bonus, that is so cherished here, looks safe for now'.

The trouble, in Lowen's point of view, is for Greek politicians. The alternative to austerity 'strikes fear in the hearts of' these politicians. And they have a 'difficult argument to sell' to 'ordinary Greeks'.

Listen to the audio clip from 8 February 2012:

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Comments (1)

1. Anthony14 February 2012 17:39

Good analysis. I'd like to add that the reporter also talks about minimum wage and pensions in the same vein as holiday bonuses. As we have seen during this "recession" it is generally the small minority who enjoy bonuses, but this makes it seem as if the Greek people are still eligible for them. I don't know Greece very well but that doesn't sound right to me. Furthermore, this rubric of "striking fear in the hearts" of politicians makes it seem as if, on their higher plane, they are scared of things that us underlings could not possibly understand, so governments distanced from their people indeed.

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