OPINION

The reformists’ end

Over the past eight years, a group of politicians, television commentators and public figures, acting as instructors of a people they see as ignorant and naive, have managed to put across their own notion of politics via the electronic media. This group found enough room to maneuver during the Simitis administration and has actually survived PASOK’s landslide defeat under its new leader, George Papandreou. The law of inertia has helped keep it in the limelight despite its being totally removed from reality. This minority movement, which has members from all Greek political parties (save the Greek Communist Party) and which goes under the name «reformists,» is seeking to gain a foothold in the new government. In fact, some of the reformists are wondering why they have not been called upon to provide their services. In other words, these people feel that they have established a new elite which has the power to massage the image of the current administration and purge the nation of reactionary ideas and beliefs whose influence, we are told, were once again demonstrated by reactions in Greece and Cyprus to the UN Cyprus reunification plan. However, the reformist group cannot stand on its own. It does not enjoy strong support among the people of the country and is bound to gradually lose ground in the business world, which is distinguished for its ability to adapt itself to political change rather than for its loyalty to a specific ideology. Besides, in Greece the State continues to be the main engine of business activity, even after the country’s entry into the eurozone. Greece’s reformist movement depends on the State and cannot function effectively without backing from the political elite. Made up of people coming from the Left, the reformist faction provided an ideological cover for Simitis’s experiment of statist liberalism – an experiment that failed because of the inability of its most renowned champions to exploit the funds they pumped out of the stock market. These bankrupt figures are now begging for state support. This superficial movement could vanish in a flash. But it would be a pity if it were to go away. It must be maintained until it is totally discredited. The reformists turned against New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis during the election period, they used the media in a bid to impose Papandreou as the new prime minister. They failed dismally. Recently, they tried to intimidate the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus into endorsing UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan that was finally turned down by 76 percent. Now, they are out to criticize Karamanlis because he has demanded that his ministers work instead of parading on television talk shows. These people also criticize the government’s stand during the latest round of Cyprus talks because instead of strutting about with mobile phones and looking busy, they in fact tackled the issue at its most crucial stage in an effective fashion, without sparking reactions from third countries and with full respect for the right of the Cypriot people to make their own decisions about their own future. The reformist group will insist on the same tactics, but the more it keeps on proclaiming its positions, the more it will be discredited, for it remains cut off from reality and, thankfully, from power. It’s a cheap reality show with sliding popularity.