Saying no to cost-free populism

Some of the Socialist ministers are naturally trying to be likable to the country’s voting public by announcing pleasant-sounding measures while taking refuge behind PASOK’s pre-election statements. However, these cadres should take the tough fiscal reality into consideration and realize that they cannot act as individuals. In a surprise move, Andreas Loverdos, the Socialists’ newly installed labor and social insurance minister, has pledged not to enfore a rise in retirement ages. It should be noted that the former, conservative minister for employment, Fani Palli-Petralia, was not an advocate of early retirement and had in fact increased the age at which workers qualify for pensions. Loverdos tried to put on a good show for the media and went as far as to criticize the police for protecting his ministry against protesters who tried to force their way into the premises. The minister should bear in mind that the prime minister, George Papandreou, put him in charge of a ministry that demands political guts and nerves of steel, not cost-free populist sound-bites.