What you see; what you get

Everyone is looking for a new idea, a new, uncorrupted face amid a slew of cliches and burnt-out faces in our political life. In this sense, Alexis Tsipras adds a fresh note to a tired scene. He does not hail from a political dynasty, he is young and his manner is very relaxed. He is young, at least in terms of years, because whenever I hear him speak or read an interview with him, I can’t really say that I’m struck by the youthfulness of his ideas. Quite the contrary: I often feel that he is regurgitating the usual cliches of highbrow cafe politics – throwing together a bit of Keynes and Galbraith, a dollop of Che and a dash of Chavez, but the mix never quite comes together. Tsipras has the opportunity to express something new. Now is the time, especially as the opposition PASOK party is failing to take a firm stand. Much of society is in turmoil because it sees its way of life slipping from its hands. The head of Synaspismos Left Coalition has, however, opted for stilted oratory, believing the secret to success lies in showing more muscle out in the street than the Communist Party (KKE) or the Socialists. He possibly believes this is the strategy that will make him the next Andreas Papandreou, the political leader whose popularity shoots from 10 percent to 25 and 40 percent. Personally, I don’t see an Andreas Papandreou here. What I do see is a young man gradually becoming a slave of public relations, who hasn’t realized how much he is tainting his image by giving just one more interview on television, by appearing in yet another snapshot. The adage says that familiarity breeds contempt, and Tsipras is running a serious risk of this if he doesn’t learn how to turn down an interview or two. We all agree that we are looking for new faces and ideas, not new faces passing off cliches and has-been slogans as a modern lifestyle.