Party-colored journalism

It’s been eight years since I returned to live in Greece and being asked what party I vote for still sounds strange to me. I used to think journalists held political views but they kept them to themselves or, at least, within a narrow circle of friends. The average Greek no longer sees politics in the same terms as football, even if the country’s two mainstream parties and especially those of left-wing parties are full of hooligans. On the one hand, you get the iconoclasts of the Polytechnic generation who try to justify the impossible with bankrupt ideas, as if they are trying to legitimize the power or wealth that they are ashamed of. On the other, there are the hard-core New Democracy politicos who are entrenched inside the limits of the Athens besieged by the Communists in 1944. Key election battles are thankfully decided by people like my friend George, whom I like to call Mr Common Sense. In 1981 he voted for PASOK because he wanted change. In 1990 he picked ND to do away with the corrupt Socialists and in 2000 he cast a ballot for the Simitis-led PASOK, taking faith in his reformist vision. In 2004, after short-lived excitement over Papandreou, he voted for Karamanlis. Now he is at a loss. He awaits Karamanlis’s next move on education and other issues. He also feels that Papandreou is becoming more isolated within PASOK. He often says that if Papandreou was breathing down Karamanlis’s neck, things would be much better for both. He belongs to that growing sector of society for whom extreme ideas are a thing of the past. All we need, he deems, is sound and transparent management – with a dose of modernization. A few people may watch news bulletins for fun but they know what goes on backstage. These are the people who would like to see more of Manos Andrianopoulos and less of Vyron Polydoras in the government.

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