Can Pangalos shake things up?

Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos’s made quite a splash on the political stage on Tuesday with his 200-page tome of responsibilities for the Cabinet. When first appointed by Prime Minister George Papandreou, the Cabinet was hailed as a positive amalgam of new and old faces, though so far it has failed to produce any real results. The newest members introduced a better sense of fashion to the government, along with a new lingo that may sound strange to the common folk and to PASOK’s own voters. Gradually, the Socialist party acquired a class of «princes» who tried to introduce an affected vocabulary into the language of governance. Their charisma began to fade and soon the advantage of a «bourgeois» background that had so impressed failed to bear fruit. So Pangalos was brought in, not for his background in politics, on which he has certainly left his mark, but because he can be relentless and he remains unimpressed by the princes and princesses who got their first taste of Greek reality upon accepting their portfolios. The lack of action on the part of the ministers who form the government’s new «aristocracy» provoked the ridicule and envy of the old guard, and they too are people Pangalos is perfectly capable of dealing with. However, the real problem facing the government is not about making the newbies see the reality of Greece through the eyes of those who elected PASOK to government last October. It is the sense of arbitrariness and reckless euphoria that permeates every level of Greek society. This attitude was introduced by the first PASOK administrations, entrenched by the later ones and then also adopted by the conservative New Democracy party. The «modernist» Costas Simitis could do nothing about it, former ND Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis could do nothing about it and now Papandreou’s «princes» have also failed to turn the tide. Now that Pangalos has been sent in to shake things up, we can only hope for results.

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