Pantelis Boukalas PANTELIS BOUKALAS

Our leaders’ fantastic convictions

COMMENT

People watch a parliamentary session prior to a budget vote in Athens, on Saturday.

TAGS: Politics

If only Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s conviction that this is the first growth-based and optimistic budget after many years could be shared by those who must live with it: the citizens, in other words, who will provide the material content to the numbers, paying ever higher taxes, living with uncertainty in their jobs or joblessness, dealing with ever higher prices on everything with ever lower incomes, with their great anxiety that no “success story” can alleviate. But we cannot find so many gullible people when their pockets have been emptied and their souls injured, as they struggle from one “success story” to the next.

Even the 152 members of Parliament who voted in favor of the budget proposal are not so gullible. With regard to SYRIZA deputies, in particular, the fact that they are forced to defend all that they fought against for years (not because of the momentum of events or fate, but because of their leaders’ choices), shows in their ideological moodiness and political fatigue, in the lukewarm applause during the speeches of ministers and – especially – their leader. Not even the highest crescendo moves them. They applaud as if they want to smother the sound of the inner voice of criticism and doubt rather than to express their enthusiasm.

If only things were as simple as they would appear in opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s absolute conviction that for the Greek problem to be solved it would be enough to hold elections, so that he could attain an office that haunts his family’s political and emotional history (his father was prime minister in 1990-93). If this scenario – which does not mention his party’s responsibility in the birth and longevity of the problem – had any relationship with reality, we would draw the conclusion that what ails Greece is not so serious. And we would believe that the way to achieve breathing space, inspiration and hope (with plentiful investments) would be to see New Democracy spokesman Vassilis Kikilias as government spokesman, Adonis Georgiades as defense minister, and so on.

If only there was a political foundation for PASOK leader Fofi Gennimatas’s conviction that we would go from the exhausting dead-end toward revival if the reformist, pro-European forces were to join forces and govern. However, if this “agreement” which she presents like a magic formula more powerful than all others were truly a cure, it would have already succeeded in winning over and uniting at least the quarreling parts of the center-left. But there we see new division every two weeks, while every month some new party or movement is announced.

Yes. Our political leaders’ convictions would be fantastic if they were not fantasies.

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