Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Striking Conclusion


Tonight's accommodation

Their final day in Crete finds the Tylers sitting around waiting for news on flight rescheduling. Because Greek air traffic controllers have decided today is a good day for another strike.

It’s reckoned they’ll be back at work for 3pm, but who knows? And even if they are, there will be a backlog. One thing’s for sure, there’s no chance whatsoever of returning to Gatwick by the scheduled 17.30. Or maybe not even today.

Still, there is some good news: the petrol strike unexpectedly ended this morning, so at least Mrs T won’t now have to push the hire car back to the airport.

Why the strikes? It’s all a bit unclear, but the man from Hertz says tax is too high. “People are fed up,” he says. “They have to work harder and harder for less and less. That’s why so many leave to work abroad”.

Tyler immediately thought of the fearsome Greek lady dentist who scours his gums back home: she certainly charges an arm and a leg, way beyond anything she could get in downtown Heraklion.

But UK taxes ain’t exactly a breeze, and according to the 2003 OECD figures Tyler happens to have on his laptop, taxes as a percentage of GDP are virtually the same in Greece and the UK.

You have to guess the Greeks are caught in the same crunching inflation squeeze facing the rest of us, and they don’t like it.

At least Gordo and Darling have now done the right thing and jacked up the personal tax allowance (see previous blogs). Even if they are the first “government” ever to reverse a key budget measure within one month of its introduction (Wislon and Callaghan had countless Emergency Budgets, but they never had to execute a U-turn quite this spectacularly crass).

Quelle shambles.

PS According to CNN, Putin has announced one of his key policy priorities as Prime Minister will be to cut taxes. As we’ve asked before on BOM, why can’t we have him?

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