Feb 25, 2012 10:45 PM GMT
People had high expectations of the welfare state and the welfare state is now failing them as it goes broke. It's a theme that is being echoed through Europe.
The people who come here are trapped amid advancing penury and the retreating state. The minimum wage has just been slashed by 20% The government has just voted to cut the medicines bill by a further 1bn euros. What is going to happen to the health service if this goes on?
Poverty has visibly increased on the streets of Athens since the crisis began
"I think it will collapse," says Dr Kanakis. "Very soon. Because as the cuts continue, even very sick people can't get treatment; even people with social security. My mother has a pension of 500 euros and this month had to pay the special austerity tax, collected through her electricity bill. It was 350 euros. She's 80 years old. So tell me how she can survive?"
What is clear, once you get away from the incessant shouting on Greek TV, and the flash-bang battles between the anarchists and the police, is that this rapid breakdown of certainty is having a big, but immeasurable, effect on people's political expectations.