OPINION

An unbearable burden on the beleaguered voter

If New Democracy’s television campaign advertisements weren’t so artless, so offensive to every aesthetic standard, if the battle against the “leftist threat” were not carried out using such obsolete and primitive terms, if the program for overhauling the economy had been completed in the fall, then the party led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras would have had every reason to expect a much better outcome at Sunday’s polls.

If the policymakers responsible for forging the government’s “strategy” – whoever they may be – had given some thought to the basic tenet adopted by the founder of modern propaganda – the accursed Nazi Joseph Goebbels, who said that what’s important is that people are talking about you, not what they’re saying – then they would not have set their sights so firmly on SYRIZA opposition leader Alexis Tsipras for the past three years or so.

SYRIZA would not have been where it is now and neither would New Democracy, because Tsipras is the creation of his political rivals, PASOK and ND.

Tsipras’s true rivals are the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and the more moderate Democratic Left, and it is their leaders that Tsipras managed to overshadow in order to present himself as the leader of a new, pan-European revolutionary movement. It is this battle within the left that government cadres should have been focused on cultivating.

However, New Democracy’s responsibility is ultimately restricted to issues of tactics, because the true cause of SYRIZA’s rapid ascent has been the complete failure of PASOK.

Increasing the number of citizens who participate in political developments in a more direct manner was a concept introduced by the late Andreas Papandreou and what it achieved was to undermine the old establishment, the political elite, which was formed with the cooperation of the Palace. For a broad-based democracy to work, though, you need to have extremely robust institutions backing it up. Otherwise, in times of crisis, you will have mayhem. PASOK, in all of its manifestations, not only failed to build the necessary institutions but managed to destroy the existing ones as well.

Today, New Democracy is doing battle from the rear guard, according to every opinion poll that is being published. The result for New Democracy – given that PASOK is on the way to extinction – is that any success now depends on political patriotism, on the loyalty of the center right’s supporters. It is unfair to put such an unbearable burden on the beleaguered voter.