OPINION

Commentary

A few years ago, there was much (and often superficial) talk about Greece’s political dinosaurs, overburdened as they were with the experiences and passions of a turbulent past, who supposedly obstructed the modernization of the country’s political life and its passage into a new era, casting their long shadow over the present. Time went by, and the dinosaurs who put a break on progress went away to meet their maker, or went into retirement. They were succeeded by younger politicians who set out to shape a new political landscape for the country, bringing new ideas into the public sphere, and who were devoid of the political neuroses and ideological prejudices of their predecessors. The exodus of the old guard from the limelight took place at a crucial turning point. Greece now had to face new types of problems in a new and highly competitive global environment, which entailed many obligations for the country and therefore also the need to upgrade the quality of the political caste that held or sought power. But what is to be seen on Greece’s new political scene, a few days ahead of the new year? There is a so-called reformist government which measures national modernization in euros, displaying a new form of egotism that fuels a political attitude favoring the newly rich. There is a political elite in charge of a party seeking to recover its lost momentum, resorting to the tactics and machinations of the old guard. There is an opposition with a large electoral base which has a relatively young leadership, politically speaking; but this leadership is also lacking in creative political imagination. The new political forces do not look or sound much like those led by the old guard. In practice, however, and in substantive terms the dinosaurs’ successors are a disappointment. Listening to them express thoughts and opinions and promote new ideas brings to mind the words of a wise university professor who, commenting on the presentation of a dissertation by an old student of his, said: ‘Mr X said many new and nice things. But the new things were not nice; and the nice were not new.’