OPINION

PASOK has protests but no proposals

Opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou declared earlier this week that the current New Democracy government is incapable of reforming either Greek society in general or the state education sector in particular. Fair enough. But Papandreou has never bothered to back up his declaration with any evidence or further argument. And, most importantly, there have been no efforts, either by Papandreou himself or by the competent bodies of his party, to draft an alternative policy for the education sector so that we can compare PASOK’s outlook with that of the government. Instead, Papandreou is trying to exploit public protest for political gains. This is a shame because when Papandreou undertook PASOK’s leadership, he gave the impression of seeking a different political outlook, one more modern and more responsible. But neither his own party nor ND have ever formed such an outlook. When ND was in opposition it also succeeded in drawing all manner of public protests and demands within its policy web, and thus amassed the widespread support which helped it come to power. But the contradictions it incorporated by embracing all these different demands is tormenting the ruling party now. At least from Papandreou, who has experience of foreign universities, one would have expected a well-researched and comprehensive proposal for reforming the higher education sector. But such a proposal has never been made. And despite the fact that PASOK participated in a cross-party education council, and so endorsed an initiative for dialogue on educational reform, it later withdrew; evidently the council was not the right environment to carry out the vote-grabbing agenda that tops PASOK’s agenda.