OPINION

Squabbling on the brink

Apparently, the hot topic on everyone?s minds across the country is the clash between Administrative Reform Minister Dimitris Reppas and Transport Minister Yiannis Ragousis (more accurately, the clash between their representatives, associates and posse members) over whether Ragousis had actually prepared a new pay structure for the civil service during his previous tenure.

That is exactly what the army of unemployed out there and those who are destined to be put on labor reserve are worried about. It is what every Greek — appeased by the repeated assurances from the prime minister and the deputy prime minister that everything will be alright, simply because nothing can get any worse — is worried about.

This very crucial issue has prompted German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and other foreign officials, who are conducting experiments on the debt-wracked nation, to hammer out scenarios about an orderly default in a bid to stop the squabbling between the two Socialist ministers. The thought upset International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, who risked damaging her perfect profile.

This earth-shaking question temporarily dampened the appetite of international speculators who are expecting the outcome of the confrontation to decide whether they will bet their money on an all-out bankruptcy or a haircut.

Even Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped into the fray to mediate the matter. The tiff eventually forced Prime Minister George Papandreou to come out of the shadows to bring his squabbling officials back in line.

Perhaps the Socialist ministers are trying to save their political skin — more like grabbing on to each other as they sink. Nevertheless, some political commentators will be tempted to observe that if things were really that bad, if the country were really in free fall, then our politicians would not be in the mood and wouldn?t have the time to fight over trivial issues such as these.

Unless PASOK officials are acting lightly in order to distract us from the collective depression caused by the financial misery. When it comes to PASOK socialists, you can only be sure about one thing — and that is that you can never, ever be sure about them.