OPINION

Sophistries

The denial of unfortunate facts, and taking refuge in a fabricated world, are not rare psychological phenomena. Prime Minister Costas Simitis’s address to the meeting between the Central Committee and PASOK’s parliamentary group showed that even prime ministers are vulnerable to this syndrome. That is, unless one assumes that Simitis does not really believe what he so passionately told his party cadres yesterday. Simitis has an inalienable right to hope, since political power is won and lost only at the ballot box. Nevertheless, even the most optimistic among the Socialists have come to see what is evident down to the last citizen. And we are not referring to the electoral power balance but to the condition of the country. Simitis’s desperate attempt to give an upbeat description of reality was reminiscent of cheap sophistries. This, however, was only one aspect of his speech. One takes pleasure in watching him indulge in relentless right-wing bashing, when one recalls his fierce criticism of Andreas Papandreou, his late predecessor, on this issue. Back then Simitis acted as an in-party opposition and stood for a different political morality. The PM even lashed out against the economic interests which, he said, are plotting to undermine his administration and him personally. He said this in spite of the fact that everyone knows that no other Greek leader has ever enjoyed the sort of backing from business circles and the media that he has. Perhaps it is his addiction to this support that is now pushing Simitis to accuse several media and public figures of plotting a conspiracy against him. The premier has reached the point of unleashing vitriol at New Democracy merely because the conservative opposition is carrying out its oppositional right and obligation. But conservative leader Costas Karamanlis and his cadres do not let government mistakes and omissions pass by them unexploited. From the moment that Simitis chose to tread that path, it is no surprise that he provided full political coverage to the Socialist officials that were recently accused of nourishing unwarranted ties with business interests that have cooperated with the government. Simitis thereby takes the political responsibility. He will be judged by the people. Until then, Simitis can say what he wants and eye a new four-year term. Unfortunately for him, his tactic is only pushing him closer to an electoral debacle.