Saying one thing, doing another

At this time of political paradoxes, a period that is both post- and pre-election, party leaders have been delivered another opportunity to prove through their actions all of their monotonous assertions: that the situation is so serious, so dangerous that they are ready to step out of their comfort zone and rise above their usual cheap and populist oratory; that they have the maturity to admit that their party is not the be-all and end-all of the nation; and that the cliches they so like to bandy about (?rising to the occasion,? ?no time to lose,? ?a critical period?) are more than that.

So far, there is little to suggest that following the May 6 elections Greece?s political parties took any time to think and change tack. Instead, it seems likely that the next elections will completely derail our political parties rather than put them on a path of responsible behavior.

We already see them squabbling over whether or not there should be a televised debate between the party leaders, instead of discussing what the content of such a debate ought to be. We can only wonder why, with so many fervent fans of open dialogue, all we get is smug monologues.

It would be unfair, however, to focus all the criticism on the Greek political leadership, because Europe deserves its own fair share. Brussels, for example, continues to send mixed signals, sometimes even over the course of the same day, in one breath acknowledging the sacrifices of the Greek people and in the next scolding them as though they were naughty children. This proves that, ultimately, the ghost that haunts Europe is the idea of a unified Europe.

For its part, Berlin has adopted the tone of the country?s most populist media when it comes to referring to Greece. The offensive and patronizing intervention of Angela Merkel in the work of the president of the republic was enough to lend credence to the suspicion with which the Greeks view Germany?s overbearing stance. This suspicion is heightened by the manner in which our creditors and partners are trying to steer us toward a ?smart and responsible? electoral outcome.

Is it that they may, after all, want to see the exact opposite outcome than the one they are pushing, hence their constant interjections? Could their goal possibly be to provoke a mass reaction against the very ?smart and responsible? electoral outcome they champion?