Socialist delusions

Blanket criticism and stark negativism do little to reinforce the credibility of a politician or party. What the public expects to see from a major party and its cadres – PASOK’s Socialists in this case – is fruitful criticism and a viable alternative to the government positions. The political confrontation sparked by the government bill on the «major shareholder» above all underscored PASOK’s inability to present comprehensive, positive, and convincing criticism of the administration. It is common knowledge that entanglement between media groups and state contractors constitutes a major source of corruption and is, therefore, by extension, a political problem. Over the past decade, PASOK governments have in vain tried to tackle the problem. The Socialists failed either because they did not really want to thwart corruption or because their measures were sorely lacking. Even if we accept the latter explanation, one would have expected that the Socialist opposition would at least back New Democracy’s proposal for a stricter framework – even should it happen to disagree on specific points of the legislation. Even better, PASOK could propose its own measures based on its own failures. Instead, PASOK’s official position amounted to a flat rejection of the bill. The underlying suggestion is that, for PASOK, graft constitutes an insurmountable problem and any attempt to solve it is futile. That explains the attitude of PASOK governments, which always seemed to adapt to corruption rather than taking measures to curb it. Remarkably, PASOK likes slamming the government for its tendency to criticize the Simitis administrations though it has already been in power for nine months. At the same time, PASOK acts as if it is still at the helm of the country, failing to grasp the basics of its role as the main opposition party.