OPINION

Politics distorted

In observing the development of political antagonisms and the particular characteristics they assume on every occasion, one gets the impression that political parties are not guided by ideas or principles but rather are dominated by circumstantial and opportunistic objectives that are inconsistent over time. This distortion is a result of the complexity of our times, and of the parties’ need to preserve their broad catchment while penetrating enemy turf. In effect, PASOK tries to come across as socialist while it pursues liberal policies, invokes its socialist credentials to sway leftist voters, engages in some America-bashing for the same reason while it is actually on good terms with its ally, and honors all its commitments with business interests so as to be on friendly terms with the «system.» At the same time, in its attempt to return to power and counter the truly efficient PASOK party machine, New Democracy compromises its liberal orientation, makes concessions to people and circumstances that do not suit its character, indulges in easy rhetoric, oscillates between new and old, and misses the opportunity to present a dynamic and radical program for governance. The same applies to left-wing parties that are stuck in the past and fail to redefine themselves in the modern era. This distortion allows opportunistic figures to play a role in politics, promoting their own falsified version of political competition. This muddled political environment cannot be sustained for long without consequences. Before these become evident, parties should take their positions, clarify their constitutive principles and values, and base their policy proposals on them. So long as they avoid this and encourage public confusion, they will be constantly faced with crises and risk being held ransom to the sirens of populism by all those who use divisive language to serve their personal objectives.