Ineptitude vs hypocrisy
One does not need to be a strategy guru to know that one provokes a conflict only when there is a reasonable chance of winning, a rule the government has broken with regard to the state tender law. It now finds itself on the verge of a colossal political defeat that is threatening to invalidate the broader campaign against entangled interests. In other words, it threatens to bring down one of the pillars of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s election campaign and government policy. The European Commission is not simply seeking a few amendments to the law, but wants its cancellation and the deactivation of the relevant constitutional provision. Naturally there will be some face-saving moves, but essentially Brussels is demanding surrender, not some compromise, and threatening to stem the flow of EU funding. And to judge from the government spokesman’s statements, the prime minister is ready to submit to the blackmail. It is clear that the ground is being prepared for the most orderly retreat possible. There is no doubt that Karamanlis’s intentions were honorable or that his goal is of vital political importance. Entangled interests are not just a moral issue, but subvert the substance of democratic government, distort the laws of the market and undermine economic growth. The government’s handling of the issue, however, once again confirms its unique ability to score an own goal. The irony here is that the only outcome of the campaign will be to strengthen the position of the powerful businessmen the PM famously referred to last year as «pimps.» If the government has been inept, PASOK has been politically hypocritical, as they have not concealed their glee. Both morally and politically unjustified, it shows that entangled interests operate equally well on the other side of the House.