What goes around…

The power swaps between the ruling party and the opposition over the past 25 years have gone hand in hand with changes in their political slogans that conform to stereotypes. Hence, it came as no surprise when New Democracy’s income policy, announced on Monday, met with exactly the same reaction from the opposition as PASOK’s did from the conservatives just a year ago. In 2004, ND slammed the PASOK government for announcing a mere pittance for the public sector workers. The Socialists then used the same rhetoric after Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis’s proposals were announced. The government’s excuse remains unchanged: «It’s the best we could do under the circumstances.» The tiff becomes even more paradoxical considering the parallel shift in the general outlook of both camps within the space of 12 months. Last year, the government of Costas Simitis offered paltry increases at a time of ostensible economic resurgence. Despite its deep skepticism regarding the economic figures published by the government at the time, ND nevertheless criticized PASOK’s stinginess. Now that PASOK’s fabrications have been exposed, key Socialist figures are not hesitating to criticize the government’s rises as inadequate. Opposition parties always tend to magnify government failings and overstate what they plan to do should they inherit the mantle of power. Following this dictum is one thing, while making a complete U-turn within the course of a single year is quite another. To the public, such a switch is just another name for political unreliability, if not an outright attempt to trick voters. Regular power changeovers are a sine qua non for the smooth functioning of democracy. But politicians must remember that what goes around, comes around.

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