OPINION

Symptoms and cures

PASOK’s illness – ideological, political and, in the case of some Socialist cadres, moral – is too serious for Akis Tsochadzopoulos’s «programmatic congress» to have any remedial effect. Besides, other more pompous formulas have been tried in the past (see «reinvention») but their therapeutical value was nil. The ruling party’s immunization system has been irreparably damaged, which means that opposition New Democracy can afford to merely wait for the inevitable, without needing to take any preparatory action. ND’s enthusiastic embrace of the demands of people from all walks of society is nothing original, nor does it produce any genuine political discourse – judging, at least, from the fact that on practical issues, where vague talk does not pay, the opposition makes itself heard with two or three opposing voices. The seven- or eight-point lead that is monotonously projected by opinion polls is not the cause of the Socialists’ malaise, but its symptom. Or perhaps, just one of the symptoms. If PASOK is badly trailing New Democracy, it is not because of its poor «communication policy,» as its leaders seem to believe, nor because «the people concentrate on petty issues rather than acknowledging PASOK’s big accomplishments.» Rather, it is the result of PASOK’s poor economic policy, its estrangement from the day-to-day, and the arrogance of its cadres. Fragmented, weary and uninspired, PASOK has repeatedly tried to push forward to break through, but its efforts have been little more than a flight from reality. Socialist officials treat political power as an end in itself and not as a means through which they can exercise their modernist-minded policies, ersatz reformist as this may be. But the anxiety about power (whether in conquering or relinquishing it) has always been a bad counselor.