OPINION

Lost in the fog

I recently attended an event where one of the guests was a much talked-about personality of the center-left, a person who has never been part of a government administration. People kept going up to him and saying things like: “Do something, fast.” When he, in turn, asked them what exactly they expected him to do he never got a straight answer.

Greeks are eager to do away with the old political system. The part of the middle class that has been destroyed wants to see it punished. The survivors tolerate it because they realize the dangers of fresh turbulence but this does not mean they trust it.

SYRIZA is unconvincing and invariably falls back on promises of handouts. Even people who have recently abandoned their opposition to the leftists have done so either through vengeful despair or the hope that the party could shake up the political system. In other words, they see SYRIZA more as a catalyst than a genuine force capable of reforming the country.

But who can predict what a left-wing government would mean for Greece? SYRIZA’s inexperience in the management of major issues is frightening, as is the fanaticism of its sizeable hard core. No matter how realistic a shift by party chief Alexis Tsipras, who can guarantee that he would be able to get the others to follow, especially knowing how addicted they are to pointing the finger? And this is not to mention the lack of experience in handling major international crises such as those being experienced today.

People are in search of a third path. Some of them will vote once more for conservative New Democracy and socialist PASOK. They will curse and yell as they cast their ballot, but cast it they will. There is a void, however, and it must be filled. To Potami has yet to acquire depth and political stature despite having serious people in its ranks.

Urging someone to “do something” reflects the despair and agony of people who do not want SYRIZA in power or, at least, not in power alone, and who believe that the old political establishment has reached its limits and can no longer perform.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had the opportunity to rally these voters. People recognized that he worked extremely hard and managed to keep the country on its feet. The ambivalence he demonstrated in the recent European Parliament elections, however, in combination with the difficulties of mere survival faced later on, have shaken their confidence.

Time is ticking away and there is increasing fatigue and frustration all around. What lies ahead is a thick fog. Moving in the fog without setting a clear course can be particularly dangerous as the country braces for yet another period of turbulence.