Politics as a PR exercise

PASOK leader George Papandreou’s censure move against the conservative government yesterday was grandstanding, pure and simple. The opposition stands no chance of winning that vote. The event is a typical symptom of our political conundrum, in which image overshadows substance. Such sensationalist acts may offer one short-lived political gain but, in the long term, they are doing a major disservice to politics. So we get key government ministers (obviously driven by vanity) announcing future administration policy on television windows. They end up as regulars on morning chat shows and, worse, they undermine the government’s work as they undercut the policies’ communication impact. Such PR exercises are only a part of the political process – but by no means the most important one. One can understand politicians’ concerns about re-election. But policy cannot come second to communication needs.