Beyond the ‘us and them’

The parliamentary debate on Wednesday was the peak in the first round of a political showdown that should last until the national elections. It was a tough encounter and indicative of what is to come. Weighed down by burgeoning accusations of being in cahoots with unnamed business interests, the government tried a counterattack, conjuring up conspiracy theories about hostile interests seeking to oust it. It tried to engage in a game of tit-for-tat but its efforts fell short. The goal however remains, as many of the government cadres, and their prompters, think that they have managed to buy political time and, to some degree, have forged an allegiance on the basis of an «us and them» mentality. But the government has only managed to give absolution of sins to the flowers of evil and rally around it those who are responsible for its current weakness – those who have forced the government to wear rose-colored glasses. Therefore, the government has lost the opportunity to nip the crisis in the bud and map out a clear course for the future. Had it done so, it would have had the right to fire back at the opposition. It could have called for a dialogue or engaged in confrontation at the level of political manifestos and concrete proposals. But since it has chosen to turn a blind eye to the problems and to gloss over reality, then it cannot nourish high expectations about the nature of political debate. The Socialist administration will most likely be faced with a confrontation over past deeds, a vulnerable spot indeed for the government, as the people (as opinion polls show) have grown weary of the arrogance and provocation from PASOK officials. Those who think that people will fall for the logic of an «us and them» mentality imposed from above are merely deluding themselves. Such dichotomies are long out of vogue, and people see in them objectives that have nothing to do with public interest.

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