OPINION

The ring of defeat

The latest government reshuffle which took place after talks between the two mainstream parties on a union coalition failed on Wednesday once again finds George Papandreou at the helm of the country and the government in the hands of PASOK.

Papandreou?s OpenGov vision is collapsing under the weight of the burgeoning crisis, as veterans of the party founded by his late father struggle to save all they can from a movement they have treated pretty much like a corner shop.

The instinct of survival is keeping the Socialist folk together around the pole of power, even as the newly baptized administration seems destined to sign the debt-choked country?s bankruptcy. Survival — survival under a recognizable political banner — for a career politician is top priority.

Evangelos Venizelos finds himself deputy prime minister and finance minister at the time of the midterm fiscal plan.

Venizelos has received the ring (my precious!) at a very difficult timing, when a humiliating defeat for the ruling Socialists looks all but inescapable.

Venizelos knows all that. But he is taking the ring now to make up for his greedy mistake in 2007. He hopes to be the one to lead PASOK following the next general election and play a crucial role in the future. In fact, most of the politicians who are participating in this most fragile one-party government of the post-1974 period are animated by similar survival-first incentives.

However is anyone in Greece really interested in the survival maneuvers of this bunch of career politicians and nobles? After all, this is the generation which generated the current political and economic crisis. Can the one who inflicted this wound also be the one to cure it?

No one really thinks so — not even the desperate middle class.

The masses, who are now suffering as a result of soaring taxes and spending cuts, will continue to feel concerned and furious about the present. Some of them will react.

The pressure from a European Union in disarray will grow, Greece?s debt will soar, recession will deepen, unemployment will grow.

There is no solution without pain — just as in ?The Lord of the Rings.?