Opposition hubris

It has been only two weeks since New Democracy took over, but this has not stopped Socialist officials from accusing the new government of having put the achievements of Costas Simitis’s eight-year government at stake. PASOK opposition cadres are being blatantly paradoxical and their criticism insults public intelligence. Not only do they blame their successors for incompetence before they have even had a chance to get briefed on developments, but they also dare to gloss over the real picture and even deny the existence of problems that are visible to the naked eye. The most pressing problem of all, no doubt, concerns the Olympics-related projects. The whole nation is worried because infrastructure works and venues are so far behind schedule. And this is not a matter of perspective. The Olympic stadium, the heart of this summer’s Olympic Games, still needs a lot of work and constructors estimate that renovation works will finish on the eleventh hour, on July 15. New problems are constantly coming to the surface, like the gaps in the communications network that could jeopardize television coverage of events. Budget overruns are massive and the tight timetables fuel the construction firms’ economic demands from the state. When things have come to a head, it takes a lot of insolence to brag about the ostensibly perfect preparation and suggest that everyone who thinks otherwise is crazy. PASOK is being no less provocative on other aspects – although delays and deadlocks in these may be less obvious than on the overdue projects. One must have lost all sense of moderation to act like PASOK’s Anna Diamantopoulou did when she accused Agricultural Development and Food Minister Savvas Tsitouridis of being «submissive,» just because he said that Greece will have to put up a strong fight in the European Union in order to protect the interests of Greek farmers – when this is how things really are. And it was improper on behalf of PASOK leader George Papandreou to accuse Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of showing a «hapless neutrality» on the Cyprus issue when the Greek people are concerned with the gaps in UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan and its lack of compatibility with Brussels’ acquis communautaire. Watching the Socialist opposition painting a rosy picture of its past achievements and castigating a government which has only been in power for a few weeks makes one feel like he is watching the theater of the absurd. Although PASOK was swept out of power in the elections, it continues to emit the arrogance it displayed in its last years as ruling party. This is a true hubris which naturally insults and irks the Greek people. Instead of being puffed up with conceit, PASOK officials should rediscover the virtue of silence.

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