The purpose of this article is to bring to light the reasons why some in power might disagree with policies being discussed and voted in Parliament these days regarding our future and the austerity measures that we are to endure under the conditions that we face in this economic crisis. Way in the past when a minister disagreed with party policy or even political or economic policy in a government they simply resigned. The past 30 years we saw politicians ‘on the vote wagon’ justifying their presence in support of the people and the land but served different purposes through the EU it seems. Today’s politicians are expected to be different. However we see that all points of agreements on the 3rd memorandum that are to be passed as ‘law of the land’ are done in a different manner never before experienced.
Though this seems Democratic and would have been welcomed in the past (when the EU packages came ‘flying in’ and the public service was uncomfortably larger) because it would have allowed for other parliamentary minister (If they have the knowledge) to have a word in crucial decisions that were detrimental in managing Greece as a Nation. However nowadays, are there another reasons that might escape our attention to the reason why we see an elected government not entirely supporting policies and for the Prime Minister gaining unanimous support passing bills with the support of the opposition? There must be thousands of reasons, I would imagine –neither of which include the people that voted nor the nation. If they had the voters and the nation in mind, they would have been the first to ‘set themselves as a n example to people’ by implementing cut backs that would sharply reduce government expenditure and saving $$money$$. Austerity would have been unilateral if we had leaders keen on cutting back on their earnings rather than just having austerity ‘loaded on the tax payer.’
A Parliamentary Minister would say: “It is my duty to support the policies that brought me in power. The people put their trust in me to support the policies I stand by and value. These policies are part of the doctrine my political party supports which assured it popular support and brought it into power. I was appointed by the people at an election. The people would be able to ‘sack’ me at an election. I refuse to resign…” Of course they might have thousands of reasons why they did not resign.
Facts are that with the memorandums since 2010 came to light with the EU recalling the money that was so lavishly provided to the Greek Governments in the past. This money in the form of “Packages” used to come into the country under the Governments of ‘Pasok’ and ‘New Democracy’ for the purpose of investment and development. If this was done meticulously as to assure the public that every cent was spent sensibly on each and every project and event that had been commissioned in Greece then we would not be in the mess we are today. It should not be neglected to say that the banks played a major role by mega multinational companies that came in droves to ‘court, dance and dine our politicians’ into signing contracts for mega projects to proceed in the ‘name of development’. Considering that the EU is recalling its money and austerity is imposed then the people should be consistent in requesting investigation into all of the economic activities of governments in the past. Austerity is ‘no fun’ considering so many cut backs have been felt in the private sector and now in the public sector.
People have 16 reasons why politicians should experience cut backs too:
- A politician’s salary is 6.100 euros.
- After 4 years of serving in parliament they get 4.880euros as a monthly pension.
- Participation in committees 250euros is paid an hour. (This can tally up to about 2.875 million euros per month collectively. Another 150 euros is received by politicians if they participate in summer sittings in parliament, collectively 1.250 euros per month.
- Provincial Parliamentary members get 1.000 euors a month or rent, with most of them staying in lavish hotels in Athens, after an agreement is made with Parliament.
- All ministers receive 1.500 euros for setting up their office and 1.000 euors during holiday periods to be closer to their voters. Christmas and Easter holidays are a separate package.
- All politicians are entitled to 104 flights a year, free and unlimited travel with the public transport system and about 11.500 euros a year or 950 euros a month for travel expenses.
- Luxury cars, free fuel allowance of 600 euors per month; police protection, 4 mobile phones of the latest technology-one at home , the office, the yard or even at the stable- all free! They also receive 11.800 euros annually for fixed land lines ( or about 983 euros a month) and another 200 euros per month for their mobile phones.
- They are safeguarded from any offense committed during their term using ‘immunity’ as politicians.
- They do not pay tax on part of their salary or pension.
- hey are entitled to a secretary and 4 employees and a paid associate. To run an office each MP gets 2.263 euros per month which includes postage entitlement that is about 1.000 euros. This adds up to 8.1009 euros a year.
- Politicians are entitled to interest free loans as well as professionals which is generous of the banks indeed.
- Free gym, sauna, and Day Care for their children.
- Up-dating their phones and gadgets.
- Free visits to Archeological and artistic sites.
- Free Toll ( compliments fron the company that brought it in )
- Free tickets, hotels, meals, while traveling abroad as members of committees and what not!
Such is life. The funny thing is that I felt an earth quake in Athens as I was writing this article. The Earth and societies of people throughout Greece and the EU are ‘rumbling for a change’.