Never a dull moment

The summer is turning out to be a period of tense apprehension. No one can predict what things will look like in September and no one is in any position to make plans for their lives or their work more than a few weeks ahead of time. Everyone is waiting with a sense of foreboding to see what will happen come September; everything is being put off until then, as though we all need to take a break now to gather some strength and courage, to collect our thoughts. In the meantime, the political arena is coming apart at the seams, throughout its breadth and depth. The left is crumbling to pieces. On the right, politicians are stepping down; the prospect of a new party is looming and a restructuring of New Democracy seems very likely. In the center, the governing PASOK party’s strength is being tested until the next round of austerity measures are implemented and the municipal elections in November. The parliamentary committees investigating scandals are more focused on settling differences, on a process of saving the political system rather than purging it. This is the most dominant trend right now: The political system trying to salvage itself with minor concessions, some light housecleaning, small sacrifices, attempts at restructuring and buying time. But there is no time to buy, and the questions that arise each day amid the deepening recession cannot be adequately answered by the existing political body. The period that stretches ahead promises not just a profusion of insecurity, but also of political instability. The economy will keep searching for a new state of equilibrium, and it will certainly be at a lower level than it is today. The political system will also seek ways to balance itself out and nothing will be smooth about the process. We should expect instability, shake-ups, the disappearance of old groupings and the emergence of new ones (truly new ones as well as new expressions of old ideas). All the important issues will be played out in the open or behind the scenes: sovereignty, geopolitical alliances, national wealth, social cohesion and social order. Everything is possible and only one thing is certain: There will not be a dull moment.