Advocates of the notion that the government and its officials will do anything in their power, however extreme, to keep their position or ensure a decent percentage in the next elections, are being proved correct with increasing frequency. Greece is at the start of a long pre-election period, even if Greeks won’t be heading to the ballot box until fall 2018, as many are forecasting, and signs of the government’s intentions are multiplying by the day.
We are in for an abundance of cynicism expressed by the popular adage that the end justifies the means, for new lows in political behavior, for a lot of mudslinging, for clientelistic machinations taken to a whole new level and for new heights of ridiculousness. The past will cast its shadow over the present and the future. In short, the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks coalition appears determined to go the whole hog and damn the consequences.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is the one who’s setting the tone. It was he who thumped his chest and made so many threats in the past, ladling out delusional pledges that were triumphantly exposed, without, however, his party suffering any consequences. It was he who wagered the country’s future with the preposterous Yanis Varoufakis and his shenanigans. And now it is he who is defending the unacceptable behavior of Panos Kammenos, Pavlos Polakis and other government officials. He is calling all the political shots and guiding or assigning roles to his underlings. There is no doubt of this.
Tsipras has set the stage: He’s got Kammenos stirring the pot in Parliament by flinging out names and accusations that have nothing to do with each other; he’s got Polakis and Dimitris Papangelopoulos attacking the justice system when its decisions are deemed unfavorable; he’s got Nikos Toskas protecting the no-intervention status of the crime of hotbed that is Exarchia with excuses and distractions; he’s got Nikos Pappas talking about Greece’s dynamic entry into space technology; and last but not least, he’s got Dionysis Tsaknis inaugurating a monument for those who “fell” for state broadcaster ERT when it was shut down a few years ago – and then reopened.
This all comes on top of pandering to the striking garbage collectors, avoiding structural change, appointing cronies to the higher echelons of the civil service, letting disciplined state employees off the hook and so much more.
And above all and everyone else, we have Tsipras himself putting up more smokescreens by stressing the need to “purge” the past in order to skate past the present and this government’s antics. We are most definitely in for a very bumpy ride.