OPINION

Politicians fail their exams

If it wasn?t the future of the country that was at stake we might be entertained by the sight of adults acting like children. How else can we describe a senior government official?s confession, two years after signing the memorandum with Greece?s creditors, that he had not read the document? How else can we describe members of Parliament hiding so that they would not have to vote for reforms that Greece has promised to make? What is the Communist Party?s tireless activism other than a high school-level theatrical sketch, full of fury, signifying nothing?

Our politicians, living through their second childhood, are trying to impress a frightened audience at a time when our country needs serious proposals and radical policies aimed at achieving the common good. They are not the only ones responsible for our mess: How many groups of citizens, which institutions, which special interests went to the trouble of adapting to meet the challenges that were gathering over the years? Most of us wanted only to maintain our privileges and not bother with problems. Today, however attractive it may be for us to reject reality, very few actually believe that the old tactics will help us get out the mess. Whatever dark motives anyone may suspect with regard to our creditors? demands of us, whatever mistakes were made in the planning and execution of the reform program, we cannot ignore the fact that our lives cannot be as they were. We have to achieve primary surpluses in our economy so that we can strengthen Greece?s position with regard to its creditors and the markets.

As time passes, we see more clearly how sloppy most of our politicians were with regard to Greece?s relations with its partners and creditors. As long as our partners were giving us money, we would declare that we would do what they wanted. We did not need to read the fine print — someone else would do that and, if thing went awry, we could always turn our back on the deal later.

This does not apply only to Development Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, but to members of all parties: They accepted or rejected the memorandum solely on the basis of their leaders? position. How many studied the memorandum, so that they could accept what was good in it, reject the bad and negotiate a more effective plan? Who knew Greece?s weaknesses and potential? Greek politicians or the troika?s parachutists? Instead of making themselves useful, our politicians (from the whole political spectrum), insisted on imposing their mentality on reality. But reality has a way of taking revenge: They keep failing their exams and have to stay in the same class.