OPINION

In the abstract

PASOK’s sole leadership candidate, George Papandreou, used many abstract expressions earlier this week in attempting to outline his policy. The result was poor, to say the least, and we witnessed the naivety of the likable politician who – for reasons of expediency and in order to keep PASOK in power – wants to become party leader and candidate prime minister virtually overnight. References to participatory democracies and other bombastic expressions are completely abstract and so can hardly help in solving major problems like unemployment and high prices which PASOK left in the wake of its four-year term just ending. If a government were elected in order to govern by holding referendums, as Papandreou described using the same vague terms, then the world would be dominated by a Swiss model of governance, which cannot be regarded as particularly functional or successful. Indeed the Swiss are increasingly leaning toward the far-right in polls being conducted in their cantons. At the same time, PASOK’s new leader – who apparently holds little faith in democratic procedures such as party conventions – was not very self-critical in relation to PASOK’s last four years in power. He spoke generally about mistakes and arrogance, but he covered for Costas Simitis, glossing over all his predecessor’s omissions, and essentially offered absolution to all that his fellow ministers, organization chiefs and state officials are being criticized for by the majority of the Greek people.