OPINION

Commentary

Greece is no longer a small and impoverished country Greece’s Parliamentary spokesman reassured us and there are only a few people who would question this comforting conclusion. However, the second part of his syllogism, urging the Greek public to stop behaving in a meanspirited fashion – and, furthermore, not in their lives in general but particularly toward Parliament – seems totally nonsensical. According to the respectable spokesman then, it’s a sign of meanspiritedness to criticize the Parliament and its members for acts which seem to deify nepotism and, especially, within the temple of democracy, or for behaviors which emanate from an overpowering instinct of selfishness. It is a sign of meanspiritedness (if not of populism and sensationalism) that not everyone (not even deputies themselves) was convinced that the salaried aides of the 300 deputies, the majority of whom are the deputies’ relatives, have the right to be hired as civil servants without having to confront the difficult road faced by more qualified people of the same age or older who happen to lack the requisite contacts. Therefore, it is a sign of meanspiritedness and crude populism to deride the Parliamentary habit of labeling blank checks, car accidents and intrusions in sports fields as political acts, so as to avoid lifting the Parliamentary immunity of those deputies who commit illegal acts or rudely abuse their borrowed – as it stems from their voters – and ephemeral power, and who severely tarnish the image of their public role. No advocate of democracy wants to see deputies succumb to extra-institutional interests or indulge in corruption, and no one is so insolent as to put all deputies on the same level. But if the only way to overcome the temptation is to satisfy all their demands in advance (both the reasonable and unreasonable ones), even if these offend the public sentiment, the meanspirited have every reason to continue their populist moaning.