Voice of reason

One may agree or disagree with Theodoros Pangalos. But you have to hand it to him – he is not afraid to step into the fire. Although bordering on the self-destructive sometimes, Pangalos speaks out when others shy away from the hard stuff. In his interview with Kathimerini on Sunday, the former foreign minister attacked many of the post-1974 strongholds of political correctness. Pangalos took to the streets of Athens when he had to, he was in Paris during the uprising there and his militant credentials are beyond doubt. Pangalos has worked in his life, he knows real people outside the Kolonaki scene and has much common sense. Some might say that Pangalos can afford to push the limits of Greek political correctness because he harbors no political ambitions. But this is not a case of political cost. Even when his position was at stake, Pangalos has proved to be made of the same stuff that leaders are made of. He was behind Greece’s U-turn on Turkey’s EU bid. He was one of the first people to say that Turkish EU accession is in the interests of Greece. After the Ocalan fiasco, he alone dealt with the hot potato tossed to him by the prime minister when others would have merely cursed their bad luck and run around in panic. Sure, Pangalos has at times overstepped the mark. Many people believe that had he held his self-destructive urge in check in the municipal race against Dimitris Avramopoulos, he would have been a favorite to succeed late Socialist leader Andreas Papandreou. The political system should allow room for people like Pangalos. People like Constantine Mitsotakis, Giorgos Souflias, Stefanos Manos, Michalis Chrysochoidis and Alekos Papadopoulos speak their mind without taking refuge behind cliches. Without their often irritating voices, Greek politics would be worse off.