OPINION

The Left’s ideological war

The «reformist» Left is taking the country’s political scene in rather dangerous directions with its strong protest against a statement made by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece at a gathering of Church radio officials that the electoral gains in the local elections by Giorgos Karadzaferis did not come from supporters of the non-existent «extreme right» but from «good Christians» reacting to the New Democracy-supported candidacy of Yiannis Tzannetakos in the Athens-Piraeus super-prefecture. The protests and criticism could, of course, have been expected had the archbishop made political statements in public or from the pulpit during the campaign itself. However, an outburst of anger against views expressed to an extremely limited audience of people closely linked to the Church is an attempt to impose restrictions of the worst kind. The next stage will be to censor people’s thoughts, something that not even the harshest dictatorship has managed to do. In the view of some left-wing «reformists,» neither the Church, its lay members nor, still, its flock have the right to become involved in issues that are not directly related to the hereafter. Of course, no one – not even the Church – wants to form a religious party with representation in Parliament. But the attempt to ban the Church and its supporters from having any political or social beliefs, particularly when they are not publicly expressed, cannot be tolerated. What is not taken into consideration is that the reformist group headed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis is a minority even within the ruling PASOK party, while its influence outside the party is negligible. This group aims to restrict political debate to the limits it considers permissible, which is why any deviation is condemned as either coming from an inappropriate source or as being dangerous for the democratic regime, or worse. The Greek people’s desire, irrespective of their individual views, is the exercise of an effective policy that will improve their daily lives, no matter which party is in power. The failure in administration by Simitis and the «reformist» Left around him is all too apparent. With accusations of corruption flying in all directions, they are creating powerful and dangerous ideological conflicts, raising the specter of «nationalism,» «the extreme right» and the «anachronism» of the Church’s involvement, or that of the «April (1967) juntists.» It is within this climate of confusion and artificial ideological conflict that the «reformist» Left is trying to conceal the very worrying economic situation and has resorted to «creative accounting» to hide deficits from the European Union inspectors, laying the groundwork for major economic and political distortions. The unfortunate thing is that, faced with the stalemate which they themselves have created, the «reformist» Left will continue to intensify its attacks on the ideological sector, indifferent to the dangerous dead-end where it is gradually leading the country.