OPINION

A misdirected search for dialogue

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis insists that «consensus» is necessary to push through legislative changes in public life. «Dialogue» is crucial, he says, because otherwise any new legislation will not be implemented and there will be no real change. It would be ideal if Karamanlis could answer the following question directly: Is he seeking the consensus of society or that of party-affiliated trade unions? In theory, he already has social consensus as his party amassed a clear majority in the last general elections. If he wants a clearer popular mandate for particular reforms, why not hold a referendum? The particular form of «dialogue» that the government has been pursuing has driven the country into a crisis, to daily outbursts of violence in the streets, vandalism and aggressive self-interest. And this is because the government is not satisfied with its popular mandate. It wants to bargain with trade unions and party-affiliated groups, to enter into dialogue with unbridled anti-social arbitrariness. In this way, the government is abolishing what is left of democracy in this country, so-called dialogue is canceling out the citizen’s vote and allowing the prevalence of an often fascist-minded group of minorities. The only weapon the citizen has within a parliamentary democracy is his vote; with his vote, he entrusts the government to protect his life, his living, the studies of his children and his constitutional rights. The citizen’s vote is an order to the country’s parliamentary institutions to oppose the insolence of every career unionist who attempts to blackmail society as a whole; to oppose the groups which encourage university sit-ins and cause students to miss crucial lessons and examinations. If the prime minister wants a clearer consensus from those who gave him his majority, he can always hold a referendum – on the introduction of bold reforms, though, not the enforcement of existing laws. The various sit-ins in public areas and the destruction of public property we have witnessed of late are crimes against society, typical examples of fascist, anti-social violence; in these cases, there is no need for a referendum to ensure that the judiciary reacts to the problem as it should. The same goes for the much-discussed institution of university immunity, banning police from entering university grounds; all that is needed to protect this institution is the implementation of the existing legislation, as long as the university senate serves the university and not the trade unions of their electors. In general, all the current problems for which the government is seeking «consensus» are products of evident government incompetence. Essential political preparation and a modicum of talent in planning strategy could have solved them all.