Deputy Prime Minister in PASOK’s last government and long-time minister Theodoros Pangalos has kept his promise and published a book entitled "We all binged together." It is an e-book, in which he has collected various examples of corruption, illegal appointments in the public sector, frauds and receiving of bribes in order to demonstrate that not only politicians are to blame for the accumulation of the excessive public debt.
The book has 175 pages and those willing to read it will have to pay 3.99 euro. The former minister states in the preface, "The citizens are involved in state governing through their deeds, by not responding to injustice, because they themselves are involved by electing the wrong people in power. Therefore, they are responsible for their choices."
According to him, the phrase "we all binged together," which made furious a large part of the society, means that all Greeks are to blame for forming the budget deficit and the present state of Greece. Theodoros Pangalos strongly criticizes in his book the left parties and their positions. He calls SYRIZA a "party of communist inspiration" and argues that definitions like "the thieves are in parliament" and "give us our money back" are the result of "immense stupidity and lack of information. They show that there are communist and fascist dark cores in Greece, which ended up on the same side of the sidewalk."
He adds, "The united ultra revolutionaries, i.e. the hooded supporters of SYRIZA and those of Golden Dawn are the people who organized the protests against the country's president during the military parade in Thessaloniki on 28 October." In response to the question "what is the colour of the debt? Is it blue, green, red?" Theodoros Pangalos presents data from 1974 to today and criticizes the left parties for not being productive in their opposition activities and for not making real proposals. "During all these years, no representative of the left had opposed an assignment and salary increases. In fact, they wanted more and more social benefits."
The former minister criticizes the position of the left during the protests of discontented too. "None of them said anything about the swearing at parliament and the threats that politicians would leave the country by helicopters at night. It was just the opposite. Mr. Tsipras stated in parliament that we would be afraid to go out of our homes."
Are only the politicians to blame for the corruption in Greece? Theodoros Pangalos’ answer is negative. "The real corruption among politicians neither was nor will soon be decisive for today's economic and political situation in the country." He calls SYRIZA, Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn the "parties of stupidity and bigotry" because "they make the people a screaming crowd and an apotheosis of idiocy with the sole purpose of prevailing in the elections."
Where did the money go?
Theodoros Pangalos makes a very simple calculation. According to him, 20 out of 350 billion euro disappeared in the form of bribes, corruption, bribery and the like. The remaining 94 per cent were spent for extremely high salaries, benefits and nonexistent overtime, fictitious positions of managers and directors, for the payment of large single payments on retirement and for pensions in general as well as for illegal social benefits and allowances.
He next supports his thesis with examples of daily corruption in hospitals, tax offices, planning offices, regional offices and the National Insurance Institute. Individuals and employees in specific state institutions, many of whom do not hide their names, have sent them to him. Theodoros Pangalos urges the readers of his e-book to continue to send their stories, as he is planning to publish new editions.
Vicious daily practices
One of the examples is presented by a citizen with initials G.V. He claims he had been assured that he would be appointed in the public administration if he provided voters for candidates for deputies. "In 1989, a member of New Democracy offered me to submit an application for appointment to the National Insurance Institute. In return, I was required to secure 100 votes for him in the elections and to give him a list of the names of those voters. In 1990, a PASOK candidate for deputy made the same proposal to me but for appointment to the agricultural school. In 1992, I had a third proposal by a leftist trade unionist who promised me an appointment in the Public Power Corporation DEI. I refused them all and kept my dignity, but I have never managed to find a regular job and I am unemployed today. I tried to start my own business twice but I could not because I had no money to give bribes to all who wanted - from the employee in the social security fund to the fire-fighter and the secretary of the chamber of commerce. They wanted envelopes with money and they were many. They were a lot! I had to give a bribe to take a driving license, because I would never get it otherwise. I gave a bribe when my child was born because my wife would give birth in the street otherwise. I gave a bribe for the cardiac surgery on my father, because he would be operated after his death otherwise. As for the companies, in which I worked, the tax officers had often passed by to get their envelopes with money and everything was fine."
As expected, Theodoros Pangalos’ e-book has sparked angry as well as positive responses. He said in an interview with Sky Radio today that the correct title of the book is supposed to be "We are still bingeing together," because the waste of public money and corruption continue to dominate as before.