20 July 2013
Members and supporters of Golden Dawn Photo: AFP/Getty
I am about to leave for karate camp in Thun, Switzerland, four days of double sessions lasting one hour and 45 minutes each, with 300 black belts from all over Europe and North America attending. I’ll give you all the details next week once I’m safely back home and on my way to the Greek islands. I know, I know, it’s a tough life but I deserve it. After all, given that I’m a self-made man it is right and proper for me to enjoy my golden years in comfort. (And if you believe that, you probably deem rap an art.)
Unlike the British foreign minister, I am not about to apologise for calling some Greek woman writing out of London for the world’s most boring newspaper stupid — mind you, it’s a bit unfair, the International Herald Tribune is a better read than Double Glazing News, but life is, after all, unfair — but please, oh Lord, protect me from female Greek lefties seething with revolutionary fervour and banging on about inequities in the home of feta cheese and olive oil. The stupid one raged against the closing of the state broadcaster ERT, as leftie as the BBC but ten times as bloated and patronage-ridden.
ERT embodied where Greece went wrong. Lifetime jobs for people who hadn’t bothered to show up for years, pensions ditto, and other such outrages handed out by successive governments in return for votes. The two parties now in power were the ones that nurtured the rotten system, but Greeks forget easily and then tend to go to the beach. When I speak with my countrymen and women, they all complain about the EU’s harsh terms for bailing out the country. But when I tell them Greece should never have got into the macabre business in the first place, and should have left the euro the moment the gun was pointed at our temple, they say no, we belong in Europe and the euro is our only hope. It is a typical Greek reaction. We want both our cake and so on.
Well, I haven’t lived in Greece in some 70-odd years except for long visits, so I tend to see things differently. What Greece needed back in the Forties was less communism and more electrolysis. What she needs now is less EU and more private enterprise. The public sector is what sank the Greek economy. That and corruption by the two main parties, the very same two parties now putting the squeeze on poor people in order to satisfy the EU crooks. But the voices one hears whining about the loss of jobs are the voices of those who played a big part in sinking the country, those of civil servants crying over the loss of their sinecures. (Like that stupid woman writing in the IHT and warning against a fascist takeover of Greece; no such luck, I’m afraid.)
If I hear one more warning against the impending takeover by Golden Dawn I will go up to the Acropolis and do a Morosini, the Venetian general who fired a canon into the Turkish ammunition dump and blew up the world’s greatest temple. (Leave it to the Turks to turn the Parthenon into an ammo dump.) Golden Dawn came into being because of PC, poor Greeks at times getting fewer benefits than African illegal immigrants. Then GD became very popular with certain poor Greeks while it defended them from being mugged by Albanian criminals and drug dealers, and for safeguarding older folk after bank withdrawals. No, Golden Dawn is not house-trained, and many of its members tend to use rough language and get physical. None of them went to Eton, and none of their parents was my playmate when I was a child. But if they were lefties and railed against capitalism they would be treated like heroes, the way Bono, Bianca Jagger and other such untalented rappers and phonies are. Golden Dawn members might need some lessons in social etiquette, but what the bien pensant need much more is to get off the pot and their double standards. Golden Dawn members are mostly labourers, martial artists, cops, security personnel and good old-fashioned patriotic Greeks.
About four or five years ago I was cheered at a meeting when I walked in accompanied by two young women, and I thought it was because of something I had written. Not at all, as it turned out. They cheered because I’m old and the two companions were young. Very politically incorrect, but very Greek, I’m afraid. Polly Toynbee, Maureen Dowd and other old hags would have been appalled. Too bad, young women enjoy older men with boats, especially during the hot summer months. And I did mange to see some of my old karate students at the convention. They are all still in security, but very, very poor. So the next time you read some leftie old hag banging on about the fascist evils ready to take over in Greece, use their newspaper writings in the smallest room in your house. You know what I mean. If only my buddy Jeremy Clarke had had some of those columns with him while suffering from dysentery in the Serengeti, they would have finally been of some use.
But to more serious matters. Until the shutdown of ERT, not a single government employee had been fired by the present government: 128,000 had been retired, with their benefits intact, which is not the same thing. The government lies, the austerity terms get harsher, and the loans have failed to turn the economy around. See you on Paxos.
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 20 July 2013