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Politicians of the drachma era

By Alexis Papachelas

Is there any politician like the late Eleftherios Venizelos or Constantine Karamanlis and I just happen to be missing him? Do any of Greece’s political leaders have the courage to tell people the truth about the situation and then move on to do what needs to be done? Can any of them look our foreign partners in the eye and negotiate?

The answer to all the above is, of course, no. Our politicians are doing exactly the opposite of what needs to be done. They obviously think they can fool the public by constantly passing the buck to somebody else -- such as the troika or Angela Merkel -- when it comes to measures they know they should have introduced long ago even if Greece didn’t owe a single cent.

Greek politicians are trying to look clever in front of a society who can easily see through their tough-guy posturing and who are trying to balance their damaged pride against the need for national and individual survival. Don’t they realize how naked, amateurish and unreliable they appear in the eyes of those who are supposed to be trusting us with their money?

I honestly don’t think they realize any of that. That is why the country has been humiliated in Europe and beyond. Frustration is pushing voters toward the parties of the left and abstention. Foreigners do not trust our politicians, nor do we. “How can we trust our money to these people?” say the Europeans. “OK, we make all the sacrifices, but what happens then? How can we trust these politicians to guide us across the river?” ask the Greeks.

Every hour that passes our politicians are doing all they can to sabotage the political system. They are completely annoying when they quarrel on television or when they put on that sad look to show that deep down they feel horrible about the bills they have to vote on. Politicians are doing all they can to undermine the Papademos solution because they think it’s crazy to surrender power to someone who does not belong to their cast.

Two things are needed in order to save Greece: first, politicians who have the courage to speak the uncomfortable truth and, second, a government of national unity. For the time being, we are ruled by politicians that are more suited to the drachma era who want to keep us in the eurozone and a government that is subjected to systematic attacks by the parties which are supposed to back it.

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday February 7, 2012 (22:35)  
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