OPINION

A hasty facelift

One can only admire the ease with which George Papandreou and several Socialist cadres speak of the «new era» that PASOK is supposedly ushering in with a break from the past. Hearing the orators of the «big democratic faction» advertising Papandreou’s new political product, an outsider would think that PASOK is only a month old and that its officials are entering the political arena for the first time. Papandreou is, naturally, trying to convey the impression that PASOK is a «fresh» party in an attempt to disassociate it from the ruling party of the past four years. However, no campaign tactic can possibly erase the past from the collective consciousness. The «new» focus that the 52-year-old Papandreou is zealously preaching cannot abolish the senses or the laws of nature. A facelift to a wrinkled and time-worn face does not make the face disappear. It is just a makeover job, providing momentary deception. Papandreou entered politics as a young man and is now a gray-haired middle-aged man. He has served the Socialist party for more than 20 years, endorsing the doctrines of his populist father and then the reformist policies of the Simitis administration. Papandreou kept silent when his party became mired in corruption nor did he react to burgeoning demands for a radical overhaul of the sleaze-ridden party, modernization and an upgrade of the political system. PASOK’s new chairman has invested his hopes in a hasty makeover, advertising «freshness» and a new political movement that are nowhere to be seen, while keeping silent on the conflicting interests. However, there can be no such thing as a «new party» or a «new era» unless we manage to purge the system of the entangled interests that have put the brakes on all productive activity.