A familiar lack of political initiative

We are witnessing a very familiar scenario. The pre-election countdown is in full swing, with polls due next March at the latest, and public life has been crippled by scandals and by the scandalmongering of the press and television channels. The government has virtually abandoned its work – namely productive governance – and is trying to defend itself despite being totally divided, with individual politicians trying to shift the blame onto others. But all this is taking place without anyone having any real grasp of what the responsibilities are, without anyone having really defined them or explained what is at stake. The citizens, who chiefly get their information from television, are convinced that there are responsibilities to be shouldered but they are unsure of who is to blame. They do not know whether the responsibilities are political in nature or whether crimes have been committed, and they mutely watch as ministers talk about collective responsibility, on the one hand, and pass the buck on the other. The ruling party’s MPs, who have «front line» contact with voters, make no great effort to conceal their disappointment. The opposition, especially main opposition PASOK, is in an even worse state. Hacked up into small groups led by aspiring leaders, it appears to be surviving under the delusion that some major scandal will sweep them to electoral victory. And so the opposition has been trying to inflate the ongoing structured bonds scandal with exaggeration and inaccuracies and has been relentlessly moralizing as if it itself has a peerless record. It seems to believe that such an initiative will get it into power, without any program, without credible representatives, without even a whiff of renewal in its cadres, ideas or structure. The ideological and political nakedness of the opposition in general, and main opposition PASOK in particular, was revealed during the clash over education reforms where it did not even manage to present a viable counter-proposal. As a result, the government triumphed with its program, with all its inadequacies. Overall, with a weak opposition and an inadequate government, we are experiencing a period of political decline and paralysis. Citizens are losing trust in politicians and are querying the effectiveness, even the usefulness, of politics. And despite being disappointed with the government, they cannot bring themselves to support the opposition. The bonds scandal has ensured that the prevailing confusion and mistrust has become a general phenomenon. And no one is ready to assume responsibility for the scandal or admit to its scale. The only logical initiative we can expect from the government, opposition and judiciary is to probe and reveal all aspects of this strange affair. Everything else will follow naturally.

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