Thursday, 15 May 2014

Paper chase

We’re now well and truly in the final countdown for local elections here in Greece, and with every day that passes the mountain of pamphlets, posters, polling slips and more grows.

A thousand faces of wannabe Mayors stare at us from lampposts, walls, empty shop windows and the occasional grandpa who couldn’t move out the way of the overenthusiastic bill posters fast enough.

(Whoever said politics is showbiz for ugly people had a point. I wouldn’t mind my neighbourhood being wallpapered with life-sized shots of George Clooney, but sadly the main men - and they’re nearly all men - vying for that coveted seat in the local Town Hall are really not what you would usually want to slap on a poster.)

The local landscape is changing shape day by day as new hills and valleys are formed along the pavements by discarded leaflets, flapping forlornly in the breeze and dragged along the street by passing feet.

Every household is deluged with flyers and campaign leaflets.
At one end of the scale there’s the well-meaning but flimsy black and white sheet of the kind of paper your gran might have taken to the littlest room back in the days when soft toilet tissue was a rare luxury.
At the other end, there are polished, professionally produced brochures that wouldn’t look out of place on some of the world’s biggest Corporate Board Room tables, filled with aspirational photos drawn from the world’s best Image Banks (including a shot of what looks like a green meadow in Surrey that made me a tiny bit homesick, emblazoned across a double page spread talking about the local environment and – in particular – our own little section of a small but very Greek mountain).

As the pre-election race reaches fever pitch, anyone with a paper dust allergy would be best advised to hibernate until it’s all over.

But that’s the way elections have always been fought here. And all too many think it’s still the way it should be done, even in this age of online enlightenment, interaction and cute kitten videos on YouTube. 

I know that I’m never going to get my nearly octogenarian father-in-law to board the Twitter train, but…

...Oh well, one thing’s for sure. On Monday, when the polls have closed and the results are in (at least in areas where there’s a clear result without having to go to a second round) there’s going to be an awful lot of rubbish to clear up.

I’ll be interested to see how many are willing to help clean up the mess they’ve made.

I’d like to think that they all will. After all, every single player in the political paper chase keeps telling us just how important the environment is to them - don't they? 


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