Deflecting the blame

Any politician who wishes to stand out for his modern-minded views and his sincere public language these days will use any opportunity to raise the issue of corruption that bedevils Greece’s public administration and to underline the need for drastic measures to eliminate the phenomenon. The problem does, in fact, exist and it is an acute one too. No good citizen would ever be at odds with those politicians who howl for the need to crush the tentacles of corruption that poison our public sector and society. But what’s the point behind this broad consensus? Every year the responsible monitoring bodies examine the extent of corruption in the various sectors of the bureaucracy; our political leaders are filled with anger at reading the relevant data; they castigate the widespread graft, while the government of the time says that something has to be done to put an end to this national scourge. Some of them deem corruption in our country to have become also a social phenomenon. What the indignant governing officials are unable to explain is why the legislation and the heavy sanctions against civil servants have not been implemented all these years. And why have the politicians supposedly running the public services failed to tackle the growing corruption problem at a time when the root causes of the phenomenon are known to the very last citizen? The political elite minimizes, if not dodges, its huge responsibilities; it tries to come across as if it were trying to curb corruption in the public sector by making pledges to improve the monitoring system and stick with the legal framework. This time, our politicians have gone further still; they even dare to put the blame on society. Greece’s «tolerant society» is also to blame for the «phenomenon,» the country’s interior minister said yesterday. Having no one else to blame, the guilty seek out accomplices.