As all you Blog followers will have noticed, it’s all been very quiet for a few weeks. The apparent inactivity does not however reflect the reality of our lives here as you will shortly learn, should the rumours regarding Sheila putting her virtual pen to paper, prove to be true!
Things have in fact been fairly frantic and with preparations also in hand for the arrival of the family for Christmas, we really have not had much time. I realise that this may seem strange, given that the whole point of coming here was to slow down the pace of our lives but on this occasion the truth really is stranger than fiction!
However, I leave all that to Sheila because what I really want to do, is to comment on various matters which have interested me over the last few weeks and to wish everyone the compliments of the season.
We live in interesting political times here in Greece with the left-wing Syriza Party, led by the young and rather dashing, Alexis Tsipras,
ahead in the polls and should Parliament fail to elect a new President by December 29, there will have to be fresh Parliamentary elections. This could well lead to Greece electing a left-wing Government and potentially leaving the Euro zone. Anyone interested in finding out more on the ramifications for Greece and Europe generally, should follow this link:
Apparently, according to our sources back in Scotland, the newly formed Scottish Left Project, has already forged links with Syriza so who knows, Scotland could soon be following the lead of Greece and electing a truly socialist government. Wishful thinking on the part of the Trots? I think so!
So we wait to see what will happen in Greece (as well as Scotland of course!), while we try to assess what effect, if any, these shenanigans might have on our lives here.
Meanwhile, back in Scotland, a rather more sobering political event took place over the past few weeks – the election of a new leader and deputy leader for Scottish Labour. We were both impressed with the young left-winger, Neil Findlay, not only because of his socialist views and policies but also because he is not cut from the usual mould that UK politicians seem to emerge from these days.
However, despite us both going to some trouble to cast our votes he lost and we are now saddled with the arch-Blairite, Jim Murphy. The electoral college system was still in force for this election and so, while I can understand the elected members voting for the ‘establishment’ candidate – their choices are made public in a rather undemocratic spirit of openness (whatever happened to the secret ballot?), it does of course mean that none of them who are looking for preferment, are going to vote the ‘wrong’ way! The Unions went for Neil but surprisingly, the ordinary members decided to plump for Murphy, somewhat to my surprise, in a big way.
Now I have a decision to make. I have been in the Party for forty years but am now clearly out of touch with the mainstream, which has really never been the case before. The leadership may have usually reneged on difficult policy options when in power but we could always rely on the membership to stand firm.
Perhaps all my old comrades have left or is it that Jim Murphy is seen as the big electoral hope, in much the same way as Blair was viewed in the mid-’90’s? If the latter, then I fear the comrades (can I really call them that any more?) will be seriously disappointed because in my view, Murphy and his ilk are the problem for the electorate in Scotland and not the solution. We shall see! Anyway, I hope Neil sticks with it and good luck to him.
All this talk of elections has led me to think that it is time that we found out if we can vote here in Greece. A foray on Google, seems to suggest that as Greek residents, we should be able to vote in local mayoral and prefectural elections, as well as Euro-elections but not for Greek national elections. So, after Christmas, it’s off to the KEP (the local equivalent of the Citizens Advice Bureau), to find out how we register.
Sheila has just reminded me that she has in fact voted here in Greece! It was the Tennis Club AGM in Ierapetra last night and she went along to vote in the new committee. No she is not the new Secretary but from what she says, they could do with her! There will no doubt be more from her on this at a later date.
We have also been invited to a party here in the village on Hogmanay, which sounds a distinct improvement over last year when things were mighty quiet! I thought I might just get the kilt out of mothballs for the occasion which tortuously led me back to further investigate the provenance of the Burts Highlanders Tartan!
When I had the kilt made back in 2008, I found the pattern on the Scottish Tartans Authority website. It has now disappeared and enquiries with that august body indicate that according to them not only was it never there but they have no knowledge of it! Now, I may be going mad, the memory may be befuddled by cheap Greek wine or there may be a sinister plot afoot! Some might say (unkindly in my view) that perhaps the STA were just embarrassed by the colours! Whatever, I am left with a mystery to solve in the New Year.
So now all that remains of the old year is to welcome the family and have a really good time with them over the festive season.
I also need to nudge Sheila into action, with her take on the last few weeks. I suspect that for most readers, it will be a somewhat more interesting Post than this, including especially for you Bonnie fans out there, the planting of the commemorative tree!
Finally, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a peaceful, healthy and happy New Year!