Greek voices: 'We just feel betrayed. We are the EU's scapegoats'

 

For many of the congregation at St Sophia's Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Bayswater, west London, the troubles "back home" are a sensitive subject. As they left the Sunday service yesterday, Greece's predicament was repeatedly described as too "tender" or too "touchy" to discuss.

Although divided politically, there is a unified belief that ordinary people are suffering too much for a financial meltdown they did not cause.

"I feel like a bright light is shining at me. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't think anything is going to make a difference," said Fotini Vergini, a designer. Greece, some said, was a global problem that now needed a global solution. Instead the world's eyes are focused on the contents of Greek ballot boxes.

For Roger Hadji-Michael, a 75-year-old engineer, this means a hope that his country can stay in the euro and that the centre-right New Democracy party wins. "It's better to have partners than being on your own," he said. "Greece is a weak country and needs support from outside. But it's difficult because we in London are not suffering because of the austerity. They are."

Down the road, the Byzantium café was packed with Sunday brunchers. Doctors huddled around a small table beneath the Greek flag were all former New Democracy voters. Their anger at the plight of ordinary Greeks has seen their allegiances shift.

Nikos Piovolou, 38, from Athens, said: "I would vote for one of the smaller parties. I think the more parties the better, as then they will have to talk. The worst problem is that there is no hope. There are no options. The people suffer. I don't care about banks or politicians. Only about people."

His friend George Karapanagiotidis, 38, said he would vote for the far-right Golden Dawn to get something done. Stefanos Charitos, 42, from Salonika, pointed out that a nurse back home earns only €750 (£600) a month. "If she is in her 40s with children, how is she supposed to manage? You can't just squeeze people down."

The café's owner, Nikolaos Ferkidis, 43, originally from Salonika, hoped Syriza – the new left-wing party – would win.

"They are new people. They are young," he said. Customers sitting at the next table said their votes would go to New Democracy and hoped to stay in the euro.

"Syriza would take Greece back 20 years. But they need to renegotiate [the terms of the bailout]," said Panos Vezos, 37, who works for a British bank.

In a Chelsea garden square, architect and property developer Alexandros Philipou was equally pessimistic about what will happen to his country once the votes have been counted. "Despite all the drummed-up hype from the Anglo-Saxon media, it will be, irrespective of the result, plus ça change. The more alert of the Greek electorate, despite their deeply emotive nature, realise that the bitter medicine of austerity is being imposed without an accompanying long-term package that will deliver real growth. The electorate accepts that a socio-economic transformation has to take place inside Greece. They are willing to shoulder that burden."

However, he said, an "austerity exercise" is being delivered without justice. "The Greeks feel betrayed and are being made scapegoats in this whole pan-European chess game. Germany, the driver of this austerity process, has to get the message that singular austerity does not work. There have to be real measures for sustainable growth across the whole EU. If not they will have a rebellion on their hands."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape