Broken record

The prime minister does not get tired of repeating himself: ?We are doing well, and we shall do even better,? he says every two or three days. The message is usually delivered by one of his Socialist ministers, generally against a rosy backdrop.

But if the past is any guide, these latest comforting statements will again be short-lived. The sanguine remarks by Greek government officials always seem to be annulled shortly afterward by some sobering, prophetic article in the Economist, Der Spiegel or any one of those foreign publications whose influence far exceeds the power of national governments and international organizations.

At other times, the government?s campaign to boost the nation?s morale is defeated by a downgrade from Moody?s or one of the other international rating agencies which again have more power than national governments and international organizations.

Democracy is indeed a beautiful word, and so is the concept of national sovereignty. But they seem to have lost most of their meaning.

Unable to put on a convincing face abroad, the Socialist administration is also becoming less and less convincing at home — even among the cadres of PASOK and party supporters. George Papandreou?s administration is seriously lacking in terms of coordination. PASOK ministers fail to agree, even on television. The prime minister always uses rhetorical language to present government policies through national addresses. As a result, the PASOK administration is wasting what has traditionally been the privilege of the opposition party: time.

What are our ruling officials waiting for? Well, it depends on the minister or party official. Some, who have so far been sidelined, are eyeing a government shake-up that will push them into the Cabinet. Others would like to see a snap election to reap the rewards of any ?but? they may have mumbled against the so-called memorandum. And all of them are looking forward to the Easter and summer breaks to catch their breath, because they are so stressed.

Of course the real stress is not there. Rather it is hitting those who have to make sacrifices for every revision of the memorandum, for every downgrade, for every negative article published in the Economist, for every forecast by this or that economic brainiac. Those who saw their salaries slashed so that Greece?s economy could get back on track; those who are now called upon to accept more cuts because the government made yet another miscalculation. Always with a smile. Like the smile of the prime minister as he tells us that ?we are doing well.?

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