Hopes for divine inspiration

This time every year we are treated to the same ghosts of the past, the same stilted, bombastic speeches trotted out by the government, the same demagogy on the part of the opposition and the panic spread by the populist media, all because of the imminent Thessaloniki International Fair, when the prime minister makes his keynote speech on the economy. He is always expected to announce handouts and give an indication of new economic (read «taxation») measures that will maintain fiscal equilibrium and avert any further supervision by the European Union. The institution of the Fair goes back 40 years to when the world’s economies were protected and national production had to be promoted in some kind of showpiece to attract foreign interest. This is now unnecessary for the private sector so all displays are by state organizations, resulting in an enormous waste of public funds. Huge sums are spent to transport government officials, advisors and hangers-on to Thessaloniki to hear the prime minister give assurances that in the midst of an international crisis, the Greek economy is doing well, bolstered by the government’s paltry reforms. The same waste of money is repeated the following week when it is the turn of the main opposition leader to state precisely the opposite – the economy is foundering and the people starving. Meanwhile the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) leader Alexis Tsipras is there standing by. This farce should stop. We have a Parliament that drafts a budget every year and that is the appropriate place for the government and the opposition to state their views. The people hope that when the prime minister and opposition leader go to the island of Tinos this weekend to mark the Dormition of the Virgin, she will see fit to inspire them to find common ground regarding the country’s major problems.