OPINION

Political trickery

Outgoing Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos emerged into the political spectrum lashing out on all sides. He was neutralized within a year. Socialist party secretary Costas Laliotis, however, has always been on everyone’s side, and his political career has flourished for nearly 30 years. Serving as a minister or senior Socialist figure, he has in the past sided with protesting farmers, with workers and pensioners protesting against social security reform, with quake victims and flood-stricken citizens. (What is most interesting is that Laliotis was the responsible minister in the last two issues.) Yesterday, Laliotis managed to surpass himself. From occasional guardian of troubled sectors, classes, or population groups, he turned into a self-styled national father spearheading the popular campaign against profiteering and unfettered price hikes, not only by private businesses but also by public utilities. Laliotis thereby appeared to attack the Public Power Corporation (PPC), the state telecom system (OTE) and so on, whose excessive price hikes were decided by the Socialist government. Is Laliotis really dissenting against his own government? Or is he, rather, trying to protect the government against public discontent, especially in view of the coming municipal elections? Indeed, Laliotis’s attitude is reminiscent of an anecdote dating from Greece’s war against the Italians. A reserve officer had the misfortune to have his only son, Harilaos, transferred to the company he commanded. Holding his pistol, the paternal officer launched forward shouting, «Forward, lads!» Immediately afterward, however, he turned to his son and whispered, «Harilaos, step back.» It’s certain that neither died in battle. They were most likely spotted by troops who hooted and expelled them for military incompetence. It’s time Laliotis realized that political trickery has a similar price.