Politics: A game for the big boys

Stefanos Manos, Thanos Veremis and Yiannis Boutaris are among a group of serious folk who announced the formation of a new political party. These are people with the drive to bring change. They are stubborn and they are known for their constant quest for something new. I am not at all certain that they will succeed, but that really doesn’t matter after all. The greatest danger they face is their party ending up doing little more than lamenting the country’s fate. We can only wonder why neither of the two big parties have room for people like Veremis or Boutaris. What would George Papandreou of PASOK have lost if he had chosen Boutaris for Thessaloniki mayor rather than opting for the lackluster selection of candidates put forth by the party mechanism? Or, what would Costas Karamanlis, the prime minister, have lost by inviting Boutaris to work with New Democracy? As far as Veremis is concerned, it is obvious that he believed in New Democracy’s reformist vision and he took his fair share of risks before realizing that the government did not have the gumption to move ahead with any real change. Manos is what most people would call a difficult kind of guy, but he has brains and could certainly have made a meaningful contribution. Neither of the two leading parties were ever able to assimilate him into their ranks, either because they saw him as a killjoy or because he simply raised the bar even higher than he himself could handle. The new party will go on its way. It may even develop into a useful think tank, but the real game for Greece’s stability and development lies in the hands of the two big parties. And on the one hand New Democracy is paying the price for not protecting itself with serious politicians and a serious plan, while on the other PASOK is little more than an anachronism from the 1980s. The game, whether we like it or not, is played in the political arena and not in the parlors, where, however, you may still hear a few good ideas.

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