“Why do we have to deal with this industrialist,” they asked within the New Democracy political party when talking about Stefanos Manos in the 1970s. He was forty years old and already completely direct and absolute in support of the obvious. The ever practical and honest Georgios Rallis told him to his face, “I for one said that you should not be a deputy minister.” Konstantinos Karamanlis knew Manos. Maybe he was the only person who was not afraid of telling Karamanlis unpleasant truths about his government. Karamanlis, shortly before he left his role as prime minister to assume that of president, was both upset and interested at the same time in the views of the “irreverent” Allatini milling company heir.
The book by Aris Portosalte on Stefanos Manos is entitled “A Cesura in Inertia” and is the distillation of over 40 hours of conversations between the SKAI journalist and the politician, who has not lost his ability to provoke despite having spent 30 years away from governmental roles. “New Democracy cannot stand you any longer,” he had been told by Rallis in 1981. And for what? He refused to legitimize a number of illegally built houses. Karamanlis saw in him a young, brave, and persistent politician that reminded him of his younger self. Only that Manos did not become Karamanlis’ successor. “Maybe I do not have enough sex appeal,” he replied with his known wit to a question to this effect by Portosalte.
It is a very enjoyable read with solid content, that can surprise its reader on any page he opens it on. It can also be a source of inspiration to anyone (probably not very many) young people who want to get involved with politics, not just to secure a seat in parliament but to contribute to society. Exactly like the industrialist.