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Paddy Leigh Fermor's House visit part two- yes of course poor people must subsidise the upper middle classes

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 12 June 2016

Much to the chagrin of the patrician twit who did not want a scruffy bearded fellow like me to gain admittance to the house of Paddy Leigh Fermor here in Kardamili, after much huffing and puffing my father made his way up a gentle slope and we passed through a large blue door and were in. We all headed straight for the library where most of the other folks on the tour were assembled.

A member of the English upper middle classes was quizzing the Greek lady in charge on how they were to fund the restoration of Paddy's place. Frankly it seems in far better nick than the houses that 99% of Greeks live in but that is not the point. This is a place where predominantly British folks can go to pay their respects to a great master of the English language who opted to make his life here in Greece. In due course the house is to be rented out for three months of the year at commercial rates as Paddy instructed. Thus the rent from loaded investment banksters will allow poor writers (me?) to use it as a retreat for the rest of the year. But what of the repairs?

The member of the British upper middle classes said loudly "have you asked the Greek Government for money?" The woman looked back amazed that she appeared to have met the one person on this planet who was unaware that the Greek Government is not exactly awash with cash. In response to her silence, the pompous member of the British Establishment asked "well what about the EU then?"

Let me translate for your benefit what this posh twit believes. Poor people across Europe but especially here in Greece should pay more taxes because as we know taxes are for little people, that is to say most are regressive. That will allow Governments which have no money of their own, or in the case of Greece no money at all, to refurbish a house built and lived in by an Englishman who wrote books that are overwhelmingly read by middle and upper class Brits so that the same rich Brits can have a more pleasant summer holiday as they visit his house. Jolly good show.

It is, of course, the way the UK National Lottery works. Overwhelmingly it is played by the poor and stupid. They put the money in and a good chunk goes to subsidise activities such as the theatre and opera which are overwhelmingly enjoyed by the upper classes.

The intonation of the questioner at Paddy's house was clear. This is the natural order. It is the way the world works and should always work. I bit my lip and said nothing not wanting another dirty look from my opera loving upper class step mother.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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