Waste and communication

At some point, we will have to ask ourselves one very simple question: What makes a successful or good politician? At a time when so much depends on public relations, we seem to have lost our sense of moderation. And we should ask ourselves why it is that reality so often fails to live up to what the media projects to the public. Take the present Athens mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis, for instance: For many years he was portrayed as an excellent communicator, mainly because he was good at flirting with the media. He won an easy victory as a result. Now it appears that during his tenure as health minister, spending went through the roof. But his failure as a manager does not allow us to call him a successful politician. A stroll around Athens’s city center will convince you that the capital faces a very big rubbish problem. I am aware of all the usual excuses about unionists who work fewer hours than they should or about drivers who refuse to operate the new waste-collecting equipment. But these are the sort of problems a mayor has to deal with. What really gets me is that, like most ministers or deputies, when the mayor reads this, he will probably think that «somebody must be behind all that.» For those who blame their tactical mistakes on conspiracies or communication flops, there is only one answer: The truth, whether it’s rubbish or a huge fiasco, cannot be disguised by PR exercises. P.S. Vyron Polydoras often came under fire, also on this page. But it should be acknowledged that if the Public Order Ministry was a mess it was largely because of his predecessor. And, secondly, Polydoras was indeed motivated by a strong sense of duty, even if he acted in his own, inimitable manner. And that is really hard to find these days.