OPINION

One’s opponent as an alibi

Whether they mean it or not, the political parties agree, with differing degrees of enthusiasm, that opinon polls (those that are scientifically sound) clearly and faithfully reflect current social and poltical trends. Yet what happens when what is current acquires the characteristics of permanency? That is, what happens when one, two or 10 opinion polls carried out over a period of more than a year, indicate high levels of dissatisfaction with both the ruling New Democracy and the opposition PASOK parties? How willing are the party mechanisms – and how mature – to accept that such a general, persistent and unbending criticism of their work cannot under any circumstances be viewed as the apolitical outcome of an anger that will easily abate? The bitter truth is that both ND and PASOK have excellent creative accountants. People capable of juggling the GDP, for example, shouldn’t have too much trouble eliciting positive facts from even the most disappointing poll results. Are seven in 10 people shown to be displeased with your government’s record after comparing your generous promises with your tight-pursed policies in practice? No problem. The poll forecasts are in your favor – so there is no cause for real concern, no real cause to reconsider policy. You can continue, confident that you are doing «the best possible in the best possible of worlds.» Are seven in 10 people displeased with your opposition tactics, and seeing you slide from a «position of responsibilty» to clumsy populism? Again, no problem. Illogical as it may seem, when the polls are clearly going against both major parties, it only results in deluding them rather than shaking them awake. It is as if each uses criticism of the other as an alibi.