Greeks love conspiracy theories and a really juicy one can explain everything, while at the same time absolving them of any responsibility. This has been more than evident over the course of the crisis, which has been attributed to all sorts of foreign forces. Meanwhile, any effort at self-criticism has been rejected as unconscionable by the current political leadership, many parties and the majority of the media and social networks.
On the other hand, a coincidence that keeps repeating itself stops being a coincidence, and in this respect, a conspiracy theory has become a tool that shapes the coalition government’s decisions and actions – a government which has proved that something much worse lurks behind everything it does and says. In short, there is nothing coincidental about the timing between the introduction of a barrage of new taxes and contribution hikes, along with new cuts, just as the political system is being stirred by proposals for changes to the electoral law, a constitutional review and a shake-up of television licensing procedures. These are naturally very serious issues but they have no immediate impact on the people’s daily lives and offer no relief in their suffering.
The SYRIZA-Independent Greeks government, however, should be acknowledged for its communication skills: It is profoundly cynical, has no qualms about contradicting itself and could not care less about the consequences of its actions on the country. At the same time, the truth is that it can do what it likes because the parties of the opposition are in a vulnerable position. New movement and parties are constantly cropping up in the center and center-left, while conservative opposition New Democracy is constantly being challenged by disagreements and rivalries. Then we must also account for other institutional and non-institutional forces that are trying to influence policy.
Any true observer of political developments can see that the government is trying to achieve a threefold goal with the election law reform. It wants to draw people’s attention away from their problems (to which the government has contributed), to create confusion and division among the opposition and to reap any possible benefits from the developments that follow, possibly at their own initiative. The same goes for its plans to change the way the presidency operates, the constitutional review and, of course, the massive shake-up of broadcasting. We cannot know whether any of this will work, but if there is something behind it all, it has to do with elections or a referendum. Sooner rather than later.