OPINION

Commentary

Watching the parliamentary debate on the 2002 budget, one gets the impression that politics has been stripped of moderation, while the rules of propaganda and partisan interest have taken precedent. Both the government and the opposition have indulged in hyperbole. On one hand, there is unfettered enthusiasm and excessive optimism. The average citizen ponders how his life has become so distorted, how the whole picture can change so dramatically merely at the alternation of speakers from different parties. The practice of adapting discourse to the needs of this parliamentary show is understandable, and to some extent reasonable and expected, but it cannot be allowed to predominate at the expense of genuine political dialogue. There is no doubt that in recent years and despite various shortcomings and weaknesses, Greece has made some significant steps. It has improved its performance and position but has not rid itself of all its flaws. The current criteria, however, are stricter and control is more systematic. The above are at odds with the government’s triumphalism, but do not justify the nihilist talk of New Democracy deputies. With its full entry into the eurozone, the country is also entering a completely new and demanding environment, which leaves no room for oversimplification or extreme behavior. Greece needs an organized and concerted effort that defies both the government’s arrogance, which leads to dangerous relaxation, but also the opposition’s scorn, which turns into a cost-free negativism. The challenges of the new period allow no room for illusions. One would expect that our country’s political leadership would embark on a comprehensive structural adaptation to meet these challenges in an era marked by great complexity and which requires constructive synthesis, comprehensive knowledge and systematic effort. Citizens and businesses will soon have to show a more responsible attitude. Politics must do the same. Those who aspire to lead the country ought to get over their pretensions and shape the conditions for a new type of politician, one who will not confine himself to the surface but rather will delve into substantive matters; a politician who will know the art of governance, be careful of what he says and back his proposals with evidence.