Naive electorate

The low credibility of the political class is not only the result of the blatant discrepancy between their words and deeds or of the violation of their pledges. A more common, and therefore more harmful, phenomenon is the contempt shown for common sense, and the underestimation of public intelligence echoed in the use of baseless arguments and selective evidence. Within two weeks, top PASOK officials invoked revelations by retired Gen. Nikos Gryllakis as if they were accurate, unimpeachable and irrefutable. When the purported list of November 17 suspects was released, which included the names of PASOK officials, the same figures rushed to portray the infamous general as a disreputable and untrustworthy spy. In both incidents, the two extreme descriptions of the same person had the same audience: The average Greek citizen, who might have temporarily been plunged into confusion, and perhaps might still have some questions over Gryllakis’s identity, but now has definitely formed a clear view of the ephemeral defenders and advocates of the retired general. Let’s move on to a second example. Do people know that PASOK’s main advantage in its bid to win back the Athens municipality at the coming local elections is the electorate’s weariness stemming from the 15-year-long rule of the capital by New Democracy mayors? This was actually said by PASOK deputy and former minister Christos Papoutsis in an interview with the Eleftherotypia daily yesterday. Thus, after ND’s three consecutive victories since 1988, Athens’s citizens have come up with the demand for change. What’s the first, inevitable association that the reader of this interview will make? «Have the 18 years of PASOK rule not wearied voters? Don’t they generate a similar demand for change in the body that rules not only a municipality but the entire country?» In the coming parliamentary elections, Papoutsis and all PASOK officials will certainly not only avoid using their (old) slogan of «Change» but will even do their best to play down this desire. Their long stay in power seems to have nourished an illusory sense of self-confidence. It has also generated complacency, leading politicians to believe that the ordinary citizen is thoughtless, spineless, and credulous of the things they say, disclose or distort. In the same spirit, each time we vote for change, we are subjected to contradictory characterizations. Losers call us immature and ungrateful while the victors praise us as wise and far-sighted voters. According to his wife’s application to the court, Mr Adali «had received several death threats because of his articles and political opinions.»

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