OPINION

No such thing as a free lunch

The key word in the oral and written statements made by both Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Theodoros Tsoukatos in response to recent corruption allegations is «facilitate.» Siemens allegedly facilitated the needs of the conservative deputy, allowing him to repay the debt in indefinite installments. The payback period would probably have stretched into eternity were it not for the removal of Michalis Christoforakos, the former managing director of Siemens Hellas and the facilitator, as it were. PASOK’s one-time «colonel» was «facilitated by an acquaintance who made no personal gain.» A typical procedure, we are told. The man received 1 million Deutsche marks in his bank account, generously handed to PASOK from Siemens, and again thanks to the mediation by Christoforakos. There’s nothing like a good friend, as we were so often taught at school. In any case, what is most terrifying in this story is not the ease with which Siemens goes about handing out gifts (that’s part of the business) but instead the ease, if not the vigor, with which our politicians have actually accepted the appliances at bargain prices or countless installments. Our politicians obviously seem to have trust in the good will and generosity of people. They think there’s nothing suspicious about their generosity. Similarly, it is obvious that because of the mental strain caused by working for the well-being of the country and its people, none of the politicians that were facilitated ever took the time to think that such a charitable friend could be binding. One gives something in order to get something back – and not in the form of appliances, of course. At some point, the politician will have to return the favor or gift. The hostage politician will do so or else the kind sponsor will find some way to retaliate. Sure, our benign politician will keep uttering pompous sound bites about his duty to the land while inside he must be fretting about returning obligations to his secret sponsors. Language is often abused – as is money.