OPINION

A new type of politician

Less than two days after Health Minister Alekos Papadopoulos lashed out at what he called «TV democracy» – a situation for which the government is largely responsible – came a training seminar for New Democracy officials that confirmed the overall degeneration of our political system. Ostensibly thirsty for knowledge, experience, and political insight, the ND officials watched a well-known spin doctor giving simple lessons on television appearance, putting forward one basic principle: «What matters in television interviews is less what you say and more the manner in which you say it.» The training session continued with style tips and other useful advice such as: «Of fundamental importance is the facial expression, hand movements, and posture. Try to win over the audience on a sentimental level. Avoid irony. Never argue with the journalist who is interviewing you, disputatious as he may be. If you have not prepared an answer, you can win some time by making an introduction; for example: ‘The issue you have just raised is a very important one.’» (Quote from the Ethnos daily.) The spin doctor is no doubt thoroughly knowledgeable on the subject and his instructions are accurate. The question is whether his advice is something that new politicians should heed or should avoid. Indeed, we have to question whether we wish to promote a type of politician who places more emphasis on how he says things rather than what he says; a politician who hides his ignorance and lack of judgment with empty talk and smart punch lines; a politician who disguises the emptiness of his ideas and the absence of critical thinking behind a neat outfit and delicate hand movements. Of course, many government figures have already adopted this international pattern. These, however, were self-taught. From now on, and thanks to party initiatives, we will have certified politicians of this kind.