OPINION

PASOK, ND and the left

Attacking the parties of the left is the new trend in PASOK and New Democracy, and while they may be right, they are far too late to make a difference this way. The leftists? ideology has succeeded in dominating almost all areas of Greek life for the past 35 years, from the way that modern Greek history has been written to the way that the average Greek thinks on a number of issues. This was no fluke. PASOK imitated the rhetoric, the unionist tactics and the slogans of the left in its effort to outdo left-wing parties in the post-dictatorship era, which called for a more radical approach.

PASOK also applied the stereotypes of the left to its foreign policy, to its views on entrepreneurship, to the definition of the role that ought to be played by unions and to the administration of public enterprises. Even in matters relating to law and order PASOK believed that it had to apologize every time an illegal act committed in the name of some leftist vision of the future had to be dealt with by the police.

On the other hand, the right never managed to overcome its inhibitions and guilt when it came to dealing with the left. New Democracy will not even utter the term ?right,? as though it is responsible for the sins of others in another time. Anyone who hid behind some indeterminate leftist or progressive notion would enjoy full immunity even if blatantly flouting the law or exerting violence, as has been the case so often at Greek universities.

However, the worst thing about the predominance of the leftist mind-set is the way that it pervaded the position of Greece?s unions, whether affiliated with PASOK or with New Democracy.

The situation in Greece right now presents an opportunity for the country?s two biggest parties and its politicians to regroup not based on the complexes of the past but on the needs of the country in 2012 and on the challenge of rebuilding it on a solid foundation.

It may not seem easy, but neither PASOK nor New Democracy can mimic the left any longer even though this appears to be the thing to do. If their role were restricted to objecting without making proposals, then this is something the left is very adept at. But the majority of Greeks want to see political parties that are capable of governing the country, with a program, and without the cliches of bygone times.