View more on these topics

Take a lesson in Greek adversity

MS contributors are always on duty – it’s my burden to file this from a poolside bar in Greece. So the country’s battered economy therefore seems an obvious topic.

Anybody who has visited a Greek Island this year will likely have been struck by the utter indifference most people seem to have about a recession of near Great Depression dimensions- one which has now been going on for five years.

Overall, the economy is projected to contract by a further 7 per cent in 2012 alone. Meanwhile, the grumpy International Monetary fund is still just about predicting a modicum of growth for UK PLC over the same period.

Nationally, Greek house prices have been falling since 2007, with a drop of circa 10 per cent in Athens in the year ending Q1 2012. 

London has seen price increases of circa 10 per cent in the same period. Greek House sales in Q1 2012 were 54 per cent lower than a year earlier and currently almost one in five mortgages are non-performing. Meanwhile unemployment in Greece is around 22 per cent – by contrast, the UK is 8 per cent and falling.

When prodded about the dire consequences of an exit from the Euro, my barman simply smiled enigmatically and said, “the next day, the sky will still be blue and you will still need a beer”.

As these are the people that practically invented civilisation, maybe there is a lesson to learn for us all. Being gloomy solves nothing and if Greeks can smile in the face of adversity, maybe we, from a far more comfortable position should try some positivity too.  Mind you, I’m sure the sunshine and poolside views help.



RBS shareholders to sue bank and former chief exec Fred Goodwin

Royal Bank of Scotland shareholders are in talks with litigation funds over launching a potential £3.3bn lawsuit against the bank and former chief executive Fred Goodwin over an ill-fated rights issue in 2008. According to reports, the shareholders, known as the RBoS Shareholders Action Group, are looking to sue the bank, Goodwin, former chairman Tom […]

Caution urged over Nationwide price rise

Industry pundits last week cautioned paying too much attention to Nationwide’s August house price index which saw a 1.3 per cent increase in the price of the average home. This was the highest increase in a single month since January 2010 and also saw the annual fall in house prices reduce significantly from 2.6 per […]

Shadow MPC

It seems a rise in the interest rate is likely to be years away, meanwhile the UK economy is stagnating and is likely to stay that way while troubles in the eurozone are unresolved, or a plan B is put into action to avoid an economic storm

Trouble ahead - thumbnail

Pensions: trouble ahead?

The pace of change in the pension’s space has been little short of astonishing, and has left thousands of employers struggling to keep their pension policy compliant, and also on the right side of current best practice and governance. Many employers, and indeed many in the pensions industry itself, would like to see a period of no change during the next term of government. This would give all sides a chance to catch up and draw breath. 


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up