PASOK’s decision to bar 10 MPs from running on its ticket after they signed a controversial bill is plagued by a blatant inconsistency. Chairman-in-waiting George Papandreou said Monday that «the decision that was taken was necessary and does not refer to specific people.» Party General Secretary Michalis Chrysochoidis added that «the decision is not a disciplinary measure, it is not shifting the blame to individuals, nor does it discredit the officials concerned, who are valued and have had long careers.» How does PASOK reconcile such remarks with the MPs’ harsh punishment – that is the firing and moral humiliation of the «valued» colleagues? The answer is given by the senior Socialist cadres who spearheaded the MPs’ defenestration: Papandreou, Chrysochoidis, government spokesmen Christos Protopapas and Telemachos Hytiris and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou. They all described the deputies’ political and moral extermination as a «symbolic political act.» They cannot, however, possibly ignore the fact that the word «symbolic» means «a virtual, insubstantial act.» PASOK’s leadership, of course, could not have found a more sufficient justification or accuse former Deputy Economy Minister Christos Pachtas of subterfuge for whipping the dodgy amendment through Parliament. However, for eight years Pachtas has been responsible for EU funds, so questioning his morality would clash with government claims of careful management. The same applies to the fired MPs who in the past have contributed a host of bills and amendments that should, however, be spared scrutiny. So, the MPs’ «impeachment» came with praises of their «valued and long career» and assurances that their punishment brings no moral discredit, but is merely symbolic – a virtual, fabricated act. A non-event. Ten million Greeks have received the verdict with indignation and contempt.