COMMENT

Emergency signal

Is there any way we could separate politics from the management of the country?s serious problems? If we succeed in doing so fairly quickly we might stand a serious chance of winning the euro and recovery battles. To a large extent the state is currently paralyzed. Government agencies seem to have lost their bearings and in between the labor reserve system, cutbacks and political uncertainty, nothing seems to be moving.

Our politicians appear to be having a collective nervous breakdown. It is understandable because everything has been turned upside down in the country and the job description upon which they chose to become politicians has changed entirely. The big problem, however, is that even though they are showing responsibility and trying to save the homeland at the last minute, in the end they never change their habits and behavior.

What would any sensible person expect in view of the crucial national elections and the incredible difficulties awaiting the next elected government? That the leaders of both main parties would have by now picked the leading cadres from each sector, put them in a room and asked them to come up with a 150-day operational plan. Ideally, they would have selected these people together and would have agreed on a mutually accepted government program which would be implemented first thing in the morning, even before the actual polls. Imagine the picture of credibility and seriousness such a move would display locally and abroad. The vast majority of citizens would come to realize that there are Greeks who have both a plan and an objective for the country.

Foreigners would say, ?Finally, Greeks have a plan and a system within a consensus framework.? I?m not aware that either political party is preparing for any of this. If they are and no one knows about it, kudos to them -- not even the Manhattan Project was so top-secret. Converging information from both parties, however, paints a completely different picture. In the case of PASOK, the most likely leader is a politician who believes in the one-man show and who, besides his experienced team that has been negotiating with the troika, has no noteworthy cadres. He is an exceptional ?party animal? because he defends all the necessary solutions without inhibitions and without displaying any guilt toward the left and its disparate allies. However, there?s not much there in terms of a program, effectiveness and collaborators and managers capable of taking over crucial positions. On the other side are a couple of bankers and market people, but also terrible lightweights. Worrying about what is written in the press, what?s going on in whatever prefecture with whichever politician, eventually drains the system of any serious effort to prepare for power. Unfortunately this is how it works when it comes to parties and their leaders, with very few exceptions. Don?t forget that George Papandreou?s cabinet structure after the 2009 elections was distributed on a paper napkin.

I would very much like to believe that Antonis Samaras and Evangelos Venizelos are conspiring together away from us all. A bit naive, perhaps, but I would like to think that they are negotiating a common action plan with names, deadlines and targets that they will follow after the elections, provided they have a shared government majority. There are many serious people out there who would like to help them to support their country at a time of emergency. Leadership, vision and a sense of responsibility and national understanding is what people expect right now. If the two major parties are unable to give out this signal, they should not be surprised if the left and the extremes become the majority. When someone asks you to suffer in the promise of better days to come, you ask them for tangible proof of their intentions and abilities. If you don?t get any of these, you obviously lose faith and resort to craziness, protest and anything else that enables you to express all the justified and accumulating anger.

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