On with the job

The government demonstrated a lack of harmony and coordination during its handling of the problems that resulted from the crash of a military helicopter two weeks ago near Mt Athos which killed 17 people including the patriarch of Alexandria and his entourage. While this can be explained to some extent, it is by no means excusable. It was also clear that the main opposition PASOK party attempted to make political capital out of the government’s failings. This was only natural and to be expected; after all, it is part and parcel of daily political life. However, it would become a serious political issue if the artificial exaggeration of aspects of the conflict that are only of secondary importance were to influence the government in a way that it restricted its actions, particularly its prospects of getting its work done. The ND government only recently received a clear mandate from the people to govern – a mandate that was indirectly confirmed in the most spectacular fashion in the European Parliament elections that followed. In addition, the Greek people still feel strongly about the way the PASOK party managed the previous government. The Karamanlis government, therefore, has free rein – and all the time it needs – to carry out and promote all the work which it is able to produce. It is not justified in feeling any sense of haste or anxiety. No matter how entrenched and powerful the entangled interests that are fighting and undermining it and trying to preserve the privileges granted to them by the PASOK government, they are clearly at a disadvantage before a government that has the people behind it. The government has the ability, the time and the people’s support it needs to win this battle. If it is to succeed, it must above all carry out its promises as far as possible. The ND has a complete program. Its government has a duty to do everything it can to implement it, calmly setting its goals and the detailed tactical approach required to do so. Its ministers would do well to rid themselves, finally, of the need for «public relations,» which are sometimes used as a substitute for substance. Resisting the siren call of television, ministers should be persuaded that such public appearances are a complement to politics rather than a replacement of substantive work.

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