OPINION

So many ways to command

Spain imposed austerity measures via royal decree. In Britain, Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed the need for spending cuts. Hegemon Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and imaginary emperor Nicolas Sarkozy of France had no problems as their only concern about announcing harsh measures was the blow it might deal to their popularity, for which they have created a whole slew of new image-spinning techniques. Here in Greece, and even though some like to gripe that our democracy has become the realm of two families of heirs, we have neither king nor queen nor an imaginary emperor. This is a country of open governance – and electronic governance no less, for which we have a whole special ministry in what is the epitome of the art of showing off. This is a country of «social dialogue,» which gives all parties the right to either agree 100 percent with government proposals or 99 percent. This is the birthplace of the open parliament, where the toils of our MPs end as soon as the cameras placed to record the prime minister’s monologues and his ministers’ obsequious smiles are turned off. And, of course, this is the cradle of direct democracy and the Eden of meritocracy: Didn’t it take us just six months of reading online resumes to realize that the best people to run our ministries were those who really deserved it all along – our cronies? So? So, we rule neither by presidential decree nor by proclamation. We are not barking out commands for the simple reason that the decisions are not in our hands. It is in the hands of others, of the writers of the memorandum, our overseers. After all, Parliament and the government made it so when they voted for this alternative constitution. They made it so when they streamlined the process of ministerial decrees (for reasons of their pressing nature), by which Labor Minister Andreas Loverdos is allowed to determine our fates without having to go through Parliament and after bearing his soul on television in search of atonement. They also made it so with a presidential decree, an ultimatum on labor reform that violently rends our social fabric. What’s the big deal though? After all, anyone who disagrees with the measures can always post a complaint on www.opengovernment.pasok.gr. Your opinion matters.