As Athens prepares to receive the biggest bailout in history – up to €120bn dispensed from the EU and IMF over the next three years – the consensus is that Greece has reached rock bottom. A point so low that even Brigadier Stylianos Pattakos, the last of the dictators still alive, feels unabashedly vindicated. «In our time,» he told the Observer in an interview, «there was no debt. Not one drachma went astray. The Greeks are not disciplined like the Germans or the British. They need authority.»
Today the junta is embodied not by the likes of Pattakos, who at the age of 98 has no qualms about his role in quashing liberty in the birthplace of democracy, but the IMF. For the unions and tens of thousands who took to the streets last week – and are girding their loins for the «mother of all battles» in the weeks and months ahead – the Washington-based body is neither saint nor saviour.