Hewitt exposes a culture of cheating (everybody, it seems, knew the Greeks were cooking the books to meet the criteria for entry to the single currency in 1999), crony capitalism («crucially, there were always friends in government», he writes of the networks of politicians, developers and bankers that organised the spectacularly ridiculous Irish property bubble), corruption («Politics was built on favours»), dodgy accounting (Greece was “a modern European country anchored in the European Union, but it was not keeping proper accounts”), tax evasion (In Greece «paying tax was regarded as almost a lifestyle choice … the State was fair game to be ripped off if the opportunity arose”) and vanity projects. (My favourite is the 70,000 Euros to restore the penis to the statute of Mars that adorned the entrance to Palazzo Chigi, Silvio Berlusconi’s official residence).
Les mer.