Causing a stir

Disappointment greeted the prime minister’s remarks on the major political issue which emerged after recent disclosures about senior Socialist cadres’ ties with ideologically akin businessmen. Costas Simitis spoke of «allegations regarding business interests» which «in some way or another implicate political figures» in order to «make an impression.» The fact that the recent revelations have troubled the waters appears to be the sole concern of the premier, who called us to «distinguish the substance from attempts to cause a stir,» adding that «the government does not concern itself with business conflicts.» Simitis went on to add that «the judiciary is independent and it judges whether a crime has been committed and it judges whatever claims are made against anyone.» The premier deems that he and his government have now managed to rid themselves of the political responsibility for this unacceptable situation. If this stance is not a conscious attempt to evade one’s obligations, then it’s certainly a manifestation of a dangerous delusion. Correct political behavior does not merely mean abstaining from action which contravenes the penal code. Woe to us if we have reached a point where a noble politician is one who has not committed any criminal offense. This is not a sign of a mentality aiming to modernize the Greek society, but instead an attempt to nourish business entanglement and corruption in traditionally partisan style. The premier is righteously irritated with allegations that his close aides have used public money in order to help build new business dynasties, which in turn help PASOK’s reformist politicians make heaps of money. The premier cannot afford to turn a blind eye. If this malady is to be cured, Simitis must probe to the heart of the matter. He is faced with a huge political issue, not a criminal one. The citizens who lost trillions of drachmas on the stock market now realize that most of their savings ended up in the pockets of government cadres who took advantage of their connections with various businessmen. If Simitis fails to see the credibility crisis and the public indignation sparked by the unfolding revelations, then he has indeed lost contact with reality. If he does grasp the seriousness of the situation but merely hopes that it will soon be forgotten, then he is committing a grave political mistake. Should this be the case, he will soon feel the repercussions.