What traits do political officials of the new generation share? This was not the subject of a recent television debate on the name talks with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), yet it went a long way toward answering the question. The panel consisted of three 30- to 40-year-old spokespeople from as many parties, together with other political figures. There is no need to name names, because the phenomenon is certainly not restricted to just three.
This is a question that arises every time a nice-looking young man or woman assumes the heavy burden of conveying the party line, defending it irrespective of its gaps and contradictions and, above all else, making a good impression with the public. This last duty is perhaps the most important for the majority of political parties, which is why appearance seems to play such an important role. The resumes these young politicians post on the internet are impressive in the number of academic titles they boast, while we also learn that the majority started their careers in their respective party’s youth wing, from which they were handpicked on the basis of multiple – we would like to assume – criteria.
What they have in common, to varying degrees, is: arrogance, impertinence, constant repetition of the same arguments, an insistence on the same old disgusting methods of getting their point across (interrupting or talking over their “rival”), unjustified aggressiveness, the use of unattractive stereotypes and overall inadequacy. A disaster, in short.
They have obviously fashioned their behavior, their entire approach, after certain role models whose footsteps they walk in, as the process of the “political test-tube baby” remains intact (and unrepentant, we would add). The fact that the new political generation is the direct and almost identical result of the old means that the discussion regarding the need for modernization will remain high on the agenda. A pleasant and attractive appearance is not enough to convince the public of change when the mind-set and statements are old and dry, dictated by habit and fixed formulas.
If the selection of today’s political officials is also partly due to the brain drain, to the fact that so many of the country’s brightest and most creative minds are emigrating abroad, or because those left here do not want a career in politics, then the recruitment problem is bound to become very serious for Greece’s political parties. They will have no one to rely on to represent them, and we will have nothing pretty to look at.