Politically irresponsible

The furor over an amendment to the pension reform bill proposed by conservative MP and former party leader Miltiades Evert is a sign of an underdeveloped political culture. The question is simple: What is the actual political weight of a proposal that has been at the center of political confrontation, grabbing media headlines over the past week? Would Evert’s rejection of the proposed legislation threaten the government’s survival? Not a chance. New Democracy’s 165-strong majority is in no way shaken by a single «no» vote. Does Evert have the right to disagree with his party on specific issues? Of course he does, as MPs have the right to vote at will. Could Evert be both politically infallible and immune to the bank interests that the bill purportedly serves? George Papandreou definitely seems to think so. (Note that the opposition leader rushed to embrace Evert’s amendment as official Socialist policy.) Hence, we are left to believe either that the 52 government officials and 122 ND deputies are in the wrong or that they are manipulated by economic interests. Moreover, we would have to turn a deaf ear to the claims of those seeking to capitalize on internal ND dissent: Evert, they say, is irked at not getting a ministerial post or at being ignored by the prime minister. So the disgruntled MP is transformed into a catalyst of a crucial policy issue while simultaneously being accused of small-mindedness and irresponsibility. The nature of the scuffle invites doubts about the audience. How many people actually find such skirmishes absorbing? Undoubtedly, the quality of politics is calibrated by elements such as morality, consistency and credibility. The Evert controversy shows that political responsibility should not been taken for granted.

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