OPINION

Witch hunt

All the talk and ink that has been dedicated to Greece’s own «Deep Throat» is a surefire sign of political and intellectual decline. The very fact that politicians and journalists argue that a questionable and anonymous statement by a government insider to some publication is the reason why Greek bond spreads widened to such an extent gives credence to the adage «Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.» A controversial article saying that Athens would make changes to the European bailout plan was the catalyst, but the cause was the fact that markets remain skeptical about whether Greece can deal with the fiscal crisis and this increases the pressure from speculators. The witch hunt in which some media took part in may suit their sensationalist character but it defies the entire concept of informing the public. And that is not all. From the outset we have seen a blatant and systematic effort to undermine Economy Minister Louka Katseli on one issue or another. If the prime minister thinks Katseli is not doing her job he should just replace her. It is unacceptable, though, for the ministry to be exposed to this kind of mudslinging when its attention should be focused on getting the economy back on track. The government cannot afford to add another mistake to its list. Undoubtedly, PASOK inherited an economic time-bomb. However, its early handling not only failed to defuse it but broadened the scope of the damage. When Papandreou grasped the magnitude of the crisis he didn’t focus his energies on the European Commission’s directives, but instead used the opportunity to launch an attack against international speculation. His mobilization did give Greeks the impression that he was fighting hard, but, on the other hand, it also put Greece on the front line of negative publicity and, by extension, influenced the spreads. The underlying problem, however, is the rescue package announced on March 25. And market skepticism will be tempered only when the government replaces rhetoric with policy.