I remember years ago watching a comedy show in which one guy asked: ‘What’s the opposite of “inert”?’ and the other answered ‘Um, ert?’ .
Though I completely forget which show it was, the joke stuck in my head because over here, ERT is the acronym for ‘Greek Radio and Television’.
Which you may have heard the Greek government suddenly decided to shut down (firing all 2650 employees) and rebuild from scratch sometime in the undetermined future.
So it may seem like a freak move to you. And it probably is, at the very least communication-wise. Shutting down the public broadcaster overnight? In a European, democratic country? I can’t even begin to describe how wrong this is.
But it’s not as clear-cut as that. There is another side. For ERT may not be the opposite of inert, but it is the perfect synonym for ‘Public Sector Full of Financial Scandal and Overcrowded with Surplus Crony Employees whose Sinecure Positions are Eating into the Private Sector’s Real Produce and Which is One of the Main Reasons this Country is Going to The Dogs’.
In short, ERT ran a shady, crony-ist business for years-nay,decades, and is a prime example of the Public Sector’s corruption and mismanagement.
And here’ s the thing: In order for everybody (including civil servants) to survive, the Public Sector needs to be cleaned up and downsized. But nobody in the Public Sector wants to be evaluated or fired. And the law and general political will are such that protect even convicted criminals from being fired (yes, I kid you not). But there is a clause in the Constitution that allows (unless someone proves otherwise-which they probably will) for civil servants to be removed if the employer institution is shut down. See?
Yes, of course, in this manner the baby (efficient employees) is thrown out with the bathwater. But if bathwater stubbornly refuses to budge, the baby will have to go with it at some point anyway.
Because the dwindling Private Sector (already 1,3 mil registered and at least another 700 000 estimated unemployed) will very soon stop being able to feed the Public Sector’s employees, the bathtub will capsize, sending all babies and water in it to 3rd world damnation.
And here’s another thing: civil servants in Greece enjoy security and scandalous (financial and other) privileges which private sector workers–well, don’t, to put things mildly. I will not bother you with the details now, suffice it to say that Greece has its own Great Divide: class A citizens work in/for the Public Sector, class B Plebeians toil in the private sector’s muddy trenches.
And as a Pleb, I’m very sorry to say that I find it very hard to feel sorry for the firing of Patricians. Because that’s what society has been reduced to. That’s what I’ve been reduced to. I’m a Pleb, and Plebs are brought to view the other side with suspicion, contempt or indifference. After all, gazillions of Plebs are being fired as we speak, and nobody gives a damn, or a middle-of-the-night impromptu concert.
Of course I do feel a passing sympathy for the tiny baby in ERT’s bathtub, but as I recall the nine workers seen by a friend appointed to clean the little lawn in front of ERT’s Headquarters, I’m brought back to apathy.
Because one way or another, the cataclysmic bathwater has to go.