Sunday, October 24, 2004

It just never stops

Not only has Greece spent double its earlier estimate, which, in itself, was higher than the original one on this summer’s Olympic Games; not only has the country's deficit shot up to 5.3 per cent of GDP (instead of the required 3 per cent), the Greeks are now facing an enormous bill if they want to keep the Olympic sites going or even standing.

According to Fani-Pali Petralia, the deputy culture minister (did ancient Athens have one of those?), estimates for how much it will cost to maintain the venues vary from €85 million (c£59 million) to €110 million (c£76.5 million), though as AFP drily observes:

“Petralia did not specify whether the costs were for annual or long-term maintenance.”
She did, however, make it clear whose fault it all was. Yes, dear readers, you have guessed it, that of the previous socialist government, who had overspent on the Olympics. One rather wonders what the present New Democratic Party government would have done in the same circumstances. Would it have had the courage to say no, we are not shackling our taxpayers for generations to come in order to fund two weeks of glory? Would it have given a clearer idea of how much it would all cost? Would it have asked the voters whether they wanted to pay as much as that for the dubious honour of hosting the Olympics? I think not.

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