Convenient tale

The power game always has a filthy aspect to it. The filthier it gets, the worse for the standards of a democracy. We were reminded of this rule by the ongoing propaganda campaign that tries to convince people that the «great leader» fell victim to his in-party saboteurs. It’s the same old recipe. Turning politics into a witch hunt aims to shift responsibility for PASOK’s frustrating electoral record from the throne holder to the contender. It’s no surprise that George Papandreou’s self-criticism has been toned down while the sabotage claims are spearheading his campaign. Sure, Papandreou cannot be blamed for the 2004 defeat. But the same cannot be said about the last election, in which PASOK not only failed to capitalize on New Democracy’s decline but in fact saw its own ratings plummet at a time when the political context could not have been more in its favor. It’s too hypocritical to attribute the loss to officials’ statements that created ambiguity over the party’s policy line. Despite the ephemeral impact – positive or negative – that such statements had, they played a marginal role in the final outcome. If the Papandreou camp’s sabotage theory had any value, the real villain should be Theodoros Pangalos. But the outspoken cadre happens to be on the right side, as it were. There’s no doubt that Evangelos Venizelos waited for the electoral defeat to raise the leadership issue. After all, he had long been building a leader profile. But this does not mean to say that he undermined Papandreou. It’s part of the game and a normal phenomenon in big parties. Papandreou’s conspiratorial talk smacks of Stalin-style tactics and risks criminalizing politics. He went as far as to imply that those who question him will be ejected from the party. He should keep in mind that he has himself done in the past what he now slammed as a bid to undermine him.