OPINION

The serpent deceived me

If anyone manages to stay remotely sober after consuming the powerful brew that politicians and television stations serve up in the place of news, they would observe that so far New Democracy’s defense in cases of corruption takes three forms. The main exponent of the first is Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis. In the mind of the prefect – as is true of the fanatical followers of that city’s teams – the «Athenian state» is to blame for everything. He sees it as run by «frappe-swilling, salon-dwelling tough guys» and, of course, the «riffraff of the press.» The second explanation, of a para-psychological nature, was presented on television by Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis. Are we to blame, he asked, «if someone suddenly lost his head, fell for a young woman who interested him and wanted to take the money so he could buy her a gift?» Love conquers all, but such interpretations (which omit politics and responsibility) are to be shared with a sly smile, perhaps a little envy, in a taverna with friends. At any rate, none of the accused has visited a psychoanalyst to prepare his defense. They all went straight to the usual criminologists. According to the third version, the most official one, what is responsible for the moral decline is «the mentality of greed cultivated by PASOK.» Greece was certainly no land of angels in the days before PASOK but, due to the established rationale that came to prevail during its term of office, the ethics of «eat, drink and be merry» became king. But since none of those accused of causing the scandal have declared themselves to be members of PASOK, a clearer, more direct reading of events is needed – meaning something more responsible and self-critical. «The serpent deceived me» (the original form of the minister’s comment) exhausted its usefulness in paradise, long before the days of politics.