Blaming the players

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s mood these days has been fluctuating between irritation, disappointment, anger and rage, according to so many headlines and news bulletins. But what political significance does the prime minister’s distress have? What are the consequences of the leader’s fury? And when did they ever translate into a policy that concerns people as members of society rather than as the subjects of inept psychological profiling? Even more importantly, what does Karamanlis’s dismay mean when the party’s internal problems have become even worse within just one month of a reshuffle aimed at putting his Cabinet in order? Immediately after the reshuffle, Karamanlis gave his Cabinet instructions which were very similar to those issued after each of his electoral victories. Only the terminology was somewhat different, as he demanded «seriousness and responsibility» instead of the much-ridiculed catchphrase of «modesty and humility.» He even warned his ministers that he would no longer tolerate phenomena of navel gazing, personal agendas and inter-party squabbling. Great. Within one month, personal ambition blossomed (as ministers assumed the role of prime minister), the backstabbings multiplied and navel gazing spread among those who didn’t make minister or wanted a more prestigious portfolio. Naturally, we are told, the prime minister is irritated, disappointed and enraged by all this. His feelings may be of interest to his future biographers. But the big question is why should they be of any concern to the people of Greece when even his own people don’t seem to care? A coach, who is not on the playing field himself, can always blame his players. However, this is not the case with prime ministers.

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