You've gotta love those Greeks. In a week when Ireland's state accountants somehow discovered that we were e3bn better off than we thought we were due to a screw-up regarding the sums -- honestly, if the treasurer of a schoolboy football club did something like that they'd be gone at the club's next AGM-- our Aegean amigos were threatening to bring the entire EU crashing down.
As George Papandreou went on a spectacular solo run on Monday with his plan for a referendum on the IMF bailout which caused consternation on the international financial markets there seemed to be a genuine relish about the trouble he was causing. Commentators wailed on about how the country which gave us the concept of democracy could behave in such a fashion, conveniently forgetting that Greece is also where the notion of anarchy was fostered -- something which they're pretty good at too.
Having been in Thessaloniki recently for the Shamrock Rovers game against PAOK, what struck one was a sense of defiance in the face of the inevitable.
Any local we spoke to was riffing on the mantra of 'We're f****d', a state of affairs it was impossible to disagree with given that there were piles of rubbish stacked up every 100 yards or so and one of the main thoroughfares had a great big hole in the middle of it, maintenance work having begun several months previously and simply abandoned.
Yet, for all that, the people were extremely friendly even while being very angry about the fact that their country was being viewed as the basket case of Europe. In fact, given the Greeks' love of extreme hard rock and their precarious financial state, I wouldn't be surprised if they come up with a new genre called Debt Metal in the near future.
At least they're not taking things lying down. Unlike the Irish government, who've been behaving like the class lick and are probably thoroughly despised by their ECB/IMF overlords for being such spineless, forelock-tugging wimps, the Greeks are more than capable of standing up for themselves and staring down their oppressors in spite of overwhelming pressure.
They may be doomed but at least they'll go down swinging, which is way more than we'll ever do.