Statistical tactics

A few days ago, we saw Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis obstinately waving a piece of paper in front of the television cameras, which ostensibly proves that the government’s «charter for real convergence» is entirely feasible. And with the mild impudence that often characterizes those in power for many years, he remarked, «I challenge anyone who doubts the veracity of these statistics.» This is the same minister who the European Union caught a few months ago using «creative accounting» to plug up black holes in the national budget. The government’s charts and plans have already been analyzed extensively, while many commentators have noted that they do more to boost the morale of existing PASOK supporters than to attract new ones. If PASOK loses the next elections, it will do so because a small but critical group of citizens will decide that a party with a rigid mentality is more dangerous than an opposition which seems not to know how to win by allowing its opponent to lose. If PASOK wins, however, it will not be because it has been charitable to the needy. The opposition would offer the same handouts, after all. It will win because it can manipulate a complex web of interests, ranging from major kickbacks to quick deals, from exploitation of EU funds to illegal subsidies. And, of course, it will win because it can still control the media…

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