Pay up

2010-05-15 00:00

I SUPPOSE some creaking old senior burgers among you dear readers will remember lo-o-ong ago days at Maritzburg College, when a certain skinny old Indian bloke by the name of Francis used to hike up to the side entrance from the other end of town each morning, pushing a homemade barrow full of homemade samoosas and pink coconut buns and lousy cheap sweets and stuff, and park it just across the gatepost because our boarders weren’t allowed off the grounds and he wasn’t allowed in.

We would mob him at the mid-morning break to get at these dreadful sweetmeats. Of course, a few rotters in the crush would steal them from the poor old soul, who couldn’t even afford socks to wear with his old boots for the five-mile hike. And Francis would cry out in anguish: “Pay for what you pinch!”

And here I sit now at the telly watching the distress in Greece, hearing other cries of anguish from the people, and anger too — the Greeks are ever tough in the face of oppression, or betrayal.

It brings to mind student days in Germany (1952), and beer talk about old army years at get-togethers of the Stahlhelm (Steel Helmet), the German equivalent of our MOTHS. All of the infantry men would say that after the Eastern Front and Stalingrad there was no place you should less want to go to than Greece.

You thought occupation duty would be an easy break from such horror, did you? Well try the Greek mountains where the partisans live like predatory ghosts in the wilderness, waiting for you, relentlessly, welcoming you to their mountains so they can kill you. They’re as hard as concrete, these Wehrmacht men would say, and they should know about hardness all right.

Well, the heady days of free-market privateering have produced a right bunch of bloody scoundrels worldwide today, of the highest “morality”. “Government must never meddle with the markets!” is the heraldic battle cry. You see, such meddling is socialism. Remember Josef Stalin, he meddled with the markets, didn’t he? Free-market enterprise brings social freedom to all citizens, plus wealth, which trickles down to the lowest, as decreed by God, who abhors socialism.

Well, sorry chums, what has trickled down is poverty. Wealth seeps upwards by a process of osmosis to where wealth already exists.

The speculators in Greece have plundered the place to the point of bankruptcy, all within the ethics of free-trade, globalised gangster capitalism, curiously within the common laws of the European Union.

One of the rules of the EU constitution says no government shall run a deficit of more than three percent. Such a deficit is not a bank overdraft arranged with the manager, you see, it means you’re spending more than you earn — and if you’re gaining from the adventure you’re making profit out of money you don’t possess, and that’s fraud. Well, Greece has been running a deficit of 13,6%. Howzat? The umpire’s finger is aloft.

Predictably, now the rest of the EU has to move smartish to save the Union from disaster if the Greek economy goes kaput. Not save the Greek people, naturally, I mean save the euro, the currency of Europe.

Cuddly ol’ angelic Mama Merkel forgets all about Marshall Aid and declares that it is improper that certain countries should lend a failing country a few hundred billion dollars without security — and the Greek people will have to put their shoulders to the proverbial wheel and sacrifice their excessive luxuries in life to repay these dollars.

I don’t mean that the jugglers of wealth, who have ripped off the country over all these years, should make such sacrifices. I mean the beneficiaries of those things called socialist by the International Monetary Fund, which is in on the deal.

Free national health should be cut, free education should be cut, minimum wage limits reduced, unemployment benefits abolished, pensioners should have their grants cut and old folk should work extra years before getting a pension. That is what is meant by the people foregoing the easy life. And that is why the people are hurling rocks at massed riot police, who can count themselves lucky that they aren’t shooting bloody bullets.

But I digress. I was going to tell you about a top prefect we had who was seen to nick a toffee from ol’ Francis, and the small boy who saw him do this was none other than some unfortunate this prefect had recently caned for not watching rugby on a Saturday afternoon. This kid put up such a skandaal, I tell you, that the prefect secretly went and apologised to Francis and paid him.

Everybody knew about it so the prefect couldn’t even call the small boy a cad for reporting the theft.

And the slogan the furious Greek banners should bear is: Pay for what you pinch!

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