OPINION

Undermining themselves

Lawmakers debated leftist SYRIZA’s censure motion against the New Democracy and PASOK coalition government for three days. The government was not toppled, but it was not expected to be. It is unnecessary of course to comment on the speeches delivered by the party chiefs and lawmakers. Anyone who watched the final debate before the vote formed the same opinion – that it was lamentable.

It is highly doubtful whether anyone watching the debate or reading about it was convinced or influenced by the orators. What is certain is that Parliament, like society, has been irrevocably split into those in favor of the economic policy mix and those against it.

New Democracy and, to a lesser extent, PASOK are trying to set themselves apart from the other parties, either by introducing the “theory of the two extremes” or by discriminating between parties that belong to the so-called “constitutional arc” and those outside it. In vain. Ideological distinctions have been annulled by the leaders of the parties for the sake of strategy.

For the average conservative voter, ND’s collaboration with PASOK is an aberration, as for the past 40 years the “enemy” has always been the supporters and officials of the Socialist party, for practical rather than strictly ideological reasons.

So far, SYRIZA remains undefined as a factor in politics because it is disorganized and has little presence outside Parliament, in contrast to PASOK, which continues to be disproportionately represented in the higher echelons of the state.

Meanwhile, rattled lawmakers are getting personal in their attacks on one another, something that entails many dangers. The parliamentary system is based on the elected MP, not on executive authority.

The economic hardship that has battered society has been combined with an unethical attack against the “new Greek mentality,” whose only true propagators are the lawmakers themselves. Naturally the quality of the country’s MPs should be much better, but the onus ultimately lies with the party chiefs. Then again, the better the MP, the more he or she will have an independent opinion, something that party leaders tend to find very annoying.

Incoherence is not just ugly to witness. The constant debasement of the political system ultimately has one effect: the rise of Golden Dawn, which the other parties in Parliament are trying to crush by labeling it a criminal organization. It was naive of them to believe that this would solve the problem and unfortunately they are being proved wrong every day.