Alex Massie

The myth of progress, Victoria

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Foreign Policy on a splendid Greek sex scandal:

Now, it's Greece's turn, and it may be the most fascinating one yet. Here's the story: A young woman slept with the general secretary of the culture ministry in the hopes of obtaining a permanent job (judging by his photo, left, that had to be the only reason). When he didn't follow through, she recorded her encounters with him on a DVD, allegedly to blackmail him, and ended up taking it to the press. Most journalists wouldn't work with her, but a copy of the DVD somehow found its way to the prime minister's office. Once the official being blackmailed got wind of this, he resigned and jumped from his balcony in a suicide attempt. He's now in the hospital recovering, but the scandal has penetrated Greek society deeper than anyone anticipated.

The Greek government tried to spin this as "a sex scandal blown out of proportion," but the public just isn't buying it. The tape submitted to prosecutors as evidence was found to have been edited, raising suspicions the government is hiding something, possibly revelations about graft and corruption. The culture ministry official, whose finances and other possibly shady deals are now under investigation, had controlled significant amounts of EU and Greek funds and had close ties to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

Best line, however?

"This scandal has shown us what has been happening for years but none of us would publicly admit," said architecture student Victoria Deligianni, 24, sitting at a central Athens cafe. "There is just no progress in this country."

Ain't that the truth. And not just in Greece either... What does Mr E make of it? Seems to me more proof that poor old Scotland can't even manage a proper scandal, forever doomed to fourth-rate nonsense such as the kerfuffle over Wee Wendy's £950... Can we no' do anything right?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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