OPINION

A Freudian slip?

«We won’t let ND govern for another four years,» said opposition leader George Papandreou, calling on everyone to work so that «governmental policy will be deconstructed as soon as possible.» The pro-opposition media interpreted this as a weighty statement. But what does it really mean when an opposition leader speaks these words about a government which has been in power for less than a year? Is it a sign of courage and determination, or of pessimism? With his remarks, Papandreou clearly admitted that ND deserves to govern without distraction until March 2008; any objection applies only to ND’s possible rule after that. Yet he also suggested that his party will be powerless to unseat ND from power during the remaining three years of its (first) term, even though he thinks that its governance is «extremely damaging for our national interests and the economy.» Furthermore, a critical observer should note that PASOK’s failure to topple the conservative government is not because of ND’s power (which, according to the same reasoning, should wane because of its bad performance). Rather, its failure is a function of PASOK’s inability to deliver a credible alternative. This is also confirmed by Papandreou’s remarks urging his party faithful to «deconstruct» the government’s policy. He used a neologism but what he meant was clear. He meant the opposite of constructing, of building. PASOK’s leader was not asking them to shape a new, more credible policy as a springboard to power, but merely to tear down the work of the incumbents. If we assume that his words were mistaken, we could say it was a Freudian slip; but if we take them at face value, we would have to accuse him of using dangerous opposition tactics. So let’s stop there and put it down to his less-than-perfect Greek.