Rhetoric leaves wry taste

Whenever the prime minister praises the work of the reformist ruling party and calls upon the citizens to acknowledge and take pride in PASOK’s achievements (in other words, in their prime minister), he usually invokes what he calls «a new national self-confidence.» But this is rendered an absurdity in daily existence. Not only has the political elite failed to inspire this «new self-confidence,» but it has left the Greek public deeply disaffected due to its striking and often unbearable incompetence in tackling everyday issues. The collapse of a section of the recently built National Road from Corinth to Tripolis and the crash of a medical helicopter – the third in two years – raise a major political issue. These sad and nationally humiliating incidents underscore the fact that Greece’s political leaders are unfit to protect national property, to guarantee a minimum return on taxpayers’ money, and even to protect the lives of civil service employees. For what can be said of an administration which cannot guarantee the proper monitoring of road construction or the maintenance and operation of state-owned helicopters? What can be said of an administration which manages to promote problems that do not even exist in other countries into major national issues? And what should Greek citizens think of their joyful ministers who, faced with disasters in their areas of responsibility, react by merely mumbling some excuses for their inexcusable blunders? Some officials have even reached the point of complaining about or criticizing the ills they themselves are to blame for. The situation is frustrating. Incompetence, idleness and self-delusion – this is the «new self-confidence» that Costas Simitis and his flawed model of governance have instilled in his Socialist cadres. And, unfortunately, this administration has two more years to go.