Larissa is the birthplace of Achilles and the provincial capital of Thessaly. It is a fairly sleepy town of 162,000 people which is nor rich, or certainly shouldn’t be, since the mainstay of the regional economy is small scale farming. How odd then that ownership of Porsche Cayenne’s per head of population in this town was twice the OECD average. Hmmmmm.
Welcome to the 100 sheep trick from the good old days. Each Greek farmer got a large EU grant per sheep. The EU did have to inspect the sheep but had to pre-arrange its visits with the local Mayor. There are ten farmers each owning 20 sheep. The inspector arrives and finds that farmer A has 100 sheep. The mayor takes him to a farm on the other side of town owned by farmer B where there are also 100 sheep. Back to farmer C where there are also 100 sheep and so on. The inspector is not Welsh so fails to twig that by the end of his visit he has seen the same 200 sheep five times each.
The grants are duly handed out to all ten farmers. They then employ one Albanian on peanuts to look after 200 sheep and head off in their Porsche Cayenne’s to the village square to drink coffee.
Everyone in Greece knew this was going on but no-one complained. The EU was spending other people’s money (er yours and mine) and so did not care. It was great that Greece had joined the Evil Empire which now reached from the Shetlands to within a couple of miles of Asia. Party on…
Yes I feel sorry for the Greek people and for poor Hellas. But it is worth remembering that in the good times more than a few Greeks trousered it big time and we paid for that.