OPINION

The message from a public opinion poll

The truth of numbers is hard to question and it would not be wise for either the government or the main opposition to lightly interpret the figures in a nationwide poll by VPRC-Skai on February 6-7. Nor is this the time to put our trust in the relentless passage of time or oblivion. The conviction on the part of 78 percent of respondents in the poll, that the phone-tapping scandal is a major political issue, should not be taken lightly or with a supposedly cool approach. Nor would it be wise to incriminate the «usual suspect» – anti-American feeling – for the high percentage; 40 percent say the phone-tapping is the work of Greek and foreign secret services, while three in four of those think the USA is behind it. Nor can one ignore the 80 percent who believe that the snooping continues even today, when just 10 percent would swear to the contrary, especially when not even 30 percent would not wager that Greece’s secret services function properly, and 55 percent feel certain that the country’s national security is not at all being safeguarded. Public opinion has been numbed by the scandal. The credibility of the two main parties in our parliamentary system has been harmed, since neither the government nor PASOK has convinced people that they are on top of the situation. The public’s apparent disillusionment is not simply apparent in the figures, nor is this just our observation. When faith in the state is shaken, particularly during a period of a radical and sometimes one-sided, painful re-evaluation of the terms of the «social contract,» and when the governing classes’ reflexes do not function adequately, one can only hope that the worst will not occur before confidence has been restored. The fact that the government did not respond in accordance with the magnitude and serious nature of the problem is clearly reflected in the conclusions of the survey. What can one expect the public to feel except disillusionment, concern and insecurity when such a major political issue is referred to the public prosecutor?