Action needed to defuse tension

The government’s major worry at the moment is the upheaval in the education sector and the unpredictable developments which could aggravate the situation further. Those in government also give the impression of thinking that recent scandals related to alleged cartels in the dairy sector and nepotism on various levels will become «manageable» after a certain period of time. And they seem to hold the same opinion about a series of allegations about current and candidate local authority leaders. Even the widespread damage wreaked across northern and central Greece by the recent heavy rainfall and the lack of necessary anti-flood measures in place to avert the disaster – a subject that has dominated news coverage for the past few days – will invariably be forgotten as soon as another big story pops up; citizens remember very similar occurences under PASOK governments so the recent events are unlikely to influence them, even a few days prior to elections. What is really «unmanageable» for the government, however, is the burgeoning problems in the state education sector. And the most worrying aspect of the whole affair is the sense that the government has learned nothing from its clash with educators a few months ago – not even how to avoid making the same mistakes. It is nearly mid-October and primary schools have not really opened yet. No sooner had the academic year been declared to have started than teachers staged their first walkout. The official government line is that the series of protests and sit-ins we have seen of late have been incited by political parties. But whether these sit-ins have been incited or not, if they continue they will start appealing to youngsters who may get swept along in what they regard as a new trend. There are certain measures the government could implement now – at least to defuse the mounting tension, if not to solve the problem once and for all; and it really should take action now before the chaos spirals out of control.