OPINION

Vision and supposed realism

Parties, ideas and slogans aside, it’s becoming clear that Greek politics is split into two rival camps: on one hand there are those who think that «that’s Greece, it’s too late to try and change it» and, on the other, those who insist that «Greece could be in much better shape but it’s being unfair on itself.» The two camps cut across party lines. Of course the advocates of the status quo outnumber all the others. Education reform? «Are you serious. We can’t possibly take on academia and the unions.» Curbing corruption in town-planning offices? «Forget it. After all, the system takes care of everyone.» For everything there’s a convincing answer pointing to the easy route of compromise and corruption. Greece has often stood at the crossroads of supposed realism and true vision. Convenience and corruption have always been in conflict with vision and modernity. There are many voters who believe that our political leaders want to make serious changes but their parties will never let them. That is because parties in power rely on alliances with trade associations, trade unions and organized groups that are only looking after their own interests. Many important leaders have understood this contradiction and managed to transform their parties before taking power. Classic examples include Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. Both realized that you can come out on top at party conferences with the support of trade unions but it is more difficult to be voted into power and to govern. The main parties in Greece urgently need more people with imagination who do not reject every new idea with the typical retort: «Such things can’t happen in Greece.» It is time we heard the voices of those who assert that «such things happen only in Greece,» because of their indignation with a status quo that does not allow any political leader to challenge it.