The verbal sparring in Parliament earlier this week, involving both MPs and members of the committee investigating the Lagarde list of Greek depositors at HSBC in Geneva, illustrates the low standards of public discourse and local politicians, but also the slippery slope down which the House is quickly sliding. Scenes of vulgar bickering show that Parliament is completely incapable of protecting itself, of safeguarding its institutional and symbolic role and what little prestige it has left; it is a legislative body that fails to earn the respect and trust of the citizens that elected it. It is a random collection of people with vested interests, with rivalries and personal differences, who communicate in ad hominem attacks and sexist innuendos, who argue about each other’s mental health and who throw their weight around as though they were having a playground squabble. They speak in lines taken from the worst brand of political satire.
However, we are getting carried away and missing the point, just as the parliamentary committee mentioned above tends to do all too often, which is find the truth and make sure that justice is served. The fact is that the committee is no longer focusing on the Lagarde list, but rather on its own self. Feeling all the weight of the task at hand, especially on a symbolic level, it is now faced with its inherent weaknesses, with the inadequacy of the country’s politicians – in short, with the failings of those who ultimately created the scandal with the list.
Unmoved by the looming disaster, the majority of the country’s MPs – the people who are tasked with voting on the fates of generations to come and who do so either uncaringly or ignorantly – are now being called upon to mend the broken moral compass. In vain.
Then again, maybe they are being honest in the vulgarity. Maybe, deep down inside, they cannot really believe that they have the power to legislate, control and govern. Maybe this is why they are acting like delivery boys and punks in the dust bowl known as Hellas.