OPINION

It’s what you know

“See you next year, on the first weekend of September,» opposition New Democracy’s spokesman Theodoros Rousopoulos said at the end of Costas Karamanlis’s press conference at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair. In view of the fact that the first weekend in September is reserved for the prime minister, the above remark suggests the conviction – at least held by ND’s spokesman – that it will be Karamanlis on the podium next year following a New Democracy election victory. However, no one in ND is discussing the elections anymore. The widely held opinion is: «We don’t care when they happen, we’re going to win anyway.» Whether this expresses the party line or their true conviction, it is correct on a public relations level. The ND leader’s presence in Thessaloniki was essentially different to that of the prime minister. To begin with, Karamanlis visited the town center and various districts, spent a few hours at his home and saw some old friends. He resembled a resident rather than a visitor. This lent him a certain ease in his movements and his contacts with people which Costas Simitis did not have. Furthermore, everything he said about Thessaloniki and northern Greece in general consisted of informed insights rather than the recital of a prepared text. «Even if the person preparing your speech knows all about the subject, if you know nothing of it, it’s best to rewrite it yourself,» as former Prime Minister George Papandreou used to say.