Friday lay day – the ‘worst tour’ in the world

Its my Friday lay day blog and I am on the austerity trail. I have been in Porto, Portugal for the last few days, ostensibly taking a short break by the beach. There has been no swell at all. The beach area to the south of the Douro River is like beach areas everywhere. They give little hint of what austerity has done to this country. Porto is the northern capital of Portugal and a town of around 240 thousand people (in 2012) with the wider region containing around 1.4 million people. It is considered one of “the major urban areas of Southwestern Europe.” But it is also disintegrating as an urban centre with an extraordinary number of derelict buildings and many shops closed as austerity ate into incomes and spending. There are decaying buildings everywhere some with for sale signs on the front. The urban infrastructure is falling apart – the main market is being held up with scaffolding and weeds overtake sporting arenas. In many respects, it looks like a city in the poorest nations rather than being part of Europe. Around a third of the inner city population has left. A large number of people in the greater urban area have left. The mobile are dominated by the young and the educated with the skills leaving behind an elderly population. There is little hope for the city under the current policy structures. A nation and its cities destroyed by austerity. There is no exaggeration here. I invite people to see for themselves. An extraordinary outcome of an out of control recession cult ideology reinforced by neo-liberal Groupthink ruining the prosperity of a people. I had quite a day yesterday as I went on a field trip around Porto organised by the – The Worst Tours.

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