Which path will we take?

By Alexis Papachelas

If Greece's politicians don't start getting their act together soon, they run the risk of ending up as a joke in the footnotes of history or faced with an irate crowd of voters in the street. There is nothing funny about where we are right now; the importance of the circumstances is unfathomable and the stakes enormous. Greece has been gradually pulled apart over the past 30 years. The «Myconos crowd» siphoned off state money and put politicians and media outlets on its payroll, making a pot of cash in the process. This posse was abetted by the so-called Polytechnic generation, who cashed in on their activism while maintaining they were socialists. Now we have an intelligentsia that is hooked on patron-client exchanges and mediocrity, and a political establishment whose biggest concern is keeping its piece of the pie safe. On the flipside of the same coin we have a culture of protest in which anything goes and which tries to justify every «accident,» like yesterday's murder of three working people by a hooligan who flipped them the finger when he saw them choking on the smoke of his firebomb. Now that we have succeeded in running the country into the ground, it is time to either rise to the occasion or kneel to the developments. The deal with the IMF and the EU will bring a lot of pain to a lot of people who are not to blame for the situation. We can't throw money at the problem because we have none. The only cure is for our politicians to agree on a constitutional amendment that will annul immunity from prosecution for former and serving ministers and MPs, on trimming down Parliament to 200 members and to sending the crooks and tax evaders either to court and jail. Then they can explain that the EU and IMF plan contains the same measures that they have known the country needs for the past 20 years, that these measures will help drive the country's growth. Prime Minister George Papandreou has the necessary gumption, but he needs to stop behaving like a general waving a white flag, get rid of some the novices he has in his government, make an overture to the opposition and go full-steam ahead. Yesterday showed us at what crossroads we stand - whether we will let the madness prevail and head for bankruptcy or whether we will ride out the storm.