Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

Flirting with hubris

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics

There are certain traits that have a tendency of appearing somewhere midway through almost every prime minister’s tenure. First of all, there’s the certain arrogance stemming from the belief that the prime minister and his staff are not holding office at the Maximos Mansion as tenants, but as owners. It seems unbelievable to them that the country can be governed by anyone else. In moments of complete delusional grandeur you can even hear them say things like “I’ll never lose to that guy! Never! Put that down on the record!”

This makes some sort of sense. Every prime minister feels invincible up to a certain point. Nothing can touch him, not even the most shocking development. Politics is a mysterious game indeed. One month you can have an incredible scandal that nobody bats an eye at, and the next complete bedlam as a result of some absolutely inconsequential issue. It obviously has something to do with the law of physics.

The domestic establishment – or at least the establishment that remains firmly reliant on state handouts and positions, and one that is still very powerful indeed – cultivates a sense of familiarity that can lead even the most experienced player astray. The politicians who make up this establishment tend to play according to a set of rules laid down by bygone politicians and it is easy to feel as if they are your friends – at least until the inevitable realization that theirs are fleeting friendships.

The same is the case with the foreign establishment. All the bright lights and red carpets have a dazzling effect, creating a delusion of absolute hegemony. This too is a phenomenon with a short expiry date. Even strong ties with foreign partners and players cannot really prevent the decay on the domestic front, and once one prime minister loses an election, erstwhile friends and allies will immediately start looking for ways to get closer to the next one.

Why am I writing all this? Obviously because I see that the present government is starting to lose its sense of moderation and its grip on reality. It believes that it is doing everything right and that its image is being tainted by the media and other opponents. It feels that it has its hands on all the levers of power and wants to raze anyone who disagrees or stands apart. It has lost all sense of prudence and humility, even in the face of growing anger from society. People are starting to feel that these guys are getting old too and the argument that all our ills can be blamed on their predecessors is losing its potency.

This government is starting to flirt with hubris, and in politics, as in other areas, this is a very bad sign indeed.

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