OPINION

Moments from the fair

What we have gleaned from the fact that during a meeting with his ministers on the fringes of the Thessaloniki International Fair, the prime minister urged them to stand against the establishment from their position within it, is that when he told them to the same thing a year ago, it went in one ear and out the other. We also learned that power is not something to be shared, voluntarily ceded or undermined by the very people who wield it, at least if we are to go by the friction that was apparent between various ministers and government officials when they were deciding their areas of authority. The second interesting fact from George Papandreou’s appearance at the Thessaloniki event is that he said it pains him to see the weakest members of society having to pay for the wreckage created by others. Again, this is something we have heard before. In fact, one government official confirmed a while back that the premier has trouble sleeping at night. And it’s not just Papandreou who’s hurting; the tears of Health Minister Andreas Loverdos have been fogging up our television screens for months. What we can conclude from this is that all the emotional turmoil and anxiety, however heartfelt it is or not, is not enough to reshuffle a government’s policies, to make it change its mind or free itself from its self-propagated bonds. The third nugget is the prime minister’s assurance that he is against violence from whichever direction it comes. His statement came in response to the hurling of a shoe in his direction that confirmed earlier fears that the protests against him and his government in Thessaloniki would be full of incident. Violence, however, does not come in just one shape and size. The slashing of salaries and pensions is an act of violence, as are mass firings and the storm of new taxes, especially when it is committed on the promise that it will get the country out of the quagmire. So, what we conclude from the prime minister’s overall appearance is that he wants to preserve his monopoly of violence, as is the duty of all government leaders, and as Greek mythology taught us.