Members of Parliament offside

It’s been some time since we’ve seen a member of Parliament so earnestly impassioned, stepping down to the level of the people, and not for the benefit of the cameras. The last occasion was when PASOK MP Yiannis Tsaklidis attacked the now-famous referee Giorgos Kasnaferis over a penalty when the Kavala soccer team was playing in the neolithic predecessor of the Super League. That was back in 1997. New Democracy MP Theodoros Karaoglou, in similar didactic spirit, stormed the pitch of the Kaftanzogleio Stadium in Thessaloniki last weekend to reprimand referee Lazaros Polatian over an offside call, after Polatian had interrupted the Iraklis-Olympiakos match. The hot-blooded MP naturally went on to apologize, saying that his behavior was «out of character.» It’s like Heraclitus said, «a man’s character is his demon.» The problem, however, as we well know, is what is going on with all the other little demons, those legions of unruly demons looking to push their way into our souls and our minds. Whether Karaoglou is a rabid fan of Iraklis, suffering from ballot insecurity, or feels himself to be the sole champion of the rights of all Thessaloniki soccer clubs is something I cannot answer. The fact is that in order to succeed as a politician, in order to be elected and to keep your seat in such a competitive environment, you must adapt and create bonds that you never would have thought to do before. As a rule, though, you have a duty to do whatever you do before the cameras so that your actions can go down on public record. Even unruly behavior, such as, say, attacking a referee, will eventually work to your benefit – and the moralists who will find an excuse to spout on and on about the details of your behavior probably don’t vote anyway. Everyone else, anyone who likes a bit of chest-thumping, especially when it takes place on a soccer pitch, is sure to remember you at the crucial moment they cast their ballot. At the end of the day, storming a soccer pitch is such a petty offense, especially when you are in the grips of passion (whether staged or not), compared to the recurring absolution of sins and debts – the monstrous debts of various soccer clubs – by invoking their historical value while seeking the vote of their supporters. The mathematics of politics, at least of this kind of politics, is rudimentary.