OPINION

Unnecessary hoopla

It’s time the tragicomic feast known as the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) came to an end. The event mars the government’s image and, at the same time, exposes the hypocrisy and subservience of the state-dependent establishment that uses it as a photo-op. Next to them, an unbelievable bunch of secretaries, followers and party hacks cram around the prime minister. To be sure, the TIF is the symbol of an outward-looking economy, so the presence of the prime minister in front of the foreign players attending the event is useful. But the rest of the hoopla and, above all, the en masse transfer of the Athens establishment (the entire Cabinet, banks and public utilities managers, all the state-dependent industrialists) on charter flights is farcical, to say the least. One day the premier must deliver on the promise of humility he made before the election. He should have already abolished the trips of ministers and public utilities managers to the annual event where they stand next to the premier as if they were part of the furniture. The content of the annual speeches is equally disturbing, including endless demagoguery and lavish promises of handouts to lower-income groups. The extra money that ends up in the pockets of salaried workers, pensioners, farmers and professionals is no more than a tip that does not really change their economic condition. That, of course, never stopped the pro-government media from printing big headlines about the so-called «Simitis packages,» playing into the hands of government spin doctors while blanketing the country’s deficits. The premier should avoid taking the beaten track. He must offer new measures to create new jobs instead of promising to distribute wealth that does not exist. In essence, he must talk about the future.