Tuesday, 24 February 2009
All together, one more time
I hate repeating myself. I hate it.
But while something remains true, it needs to be said again and again. For as long as it takes.
The Greek Prime Minister was quite clear: ‘I am not thinking about elections. End of discussion’.
Well if you say so…
The most ineffectual man in European politics hath spoken.
Predictably, nobody cared. Almost simultaneously the opposition leader announced that he is ready to be judged by the people in an election that he deemed both expedient and imminent.
Mr Papandreou said it was time he measured himself against History (whatever that actually entails). In this most critical of junctures, and sounding uncannily like his dad, Mr Papandreou spoke of his financial vision, which boils down to privatising banks and getting the ‘rich to help out’.
So, to recap, the government won’t tell us what their financial plan entails (see my post Greece 2009: welcome to the dark side), the opposition’s financial salvation plan sounds like it came straight out of a 1950’s ‘socialist government’ manual while the Greek Communist Party’s response to all this was to rehabilitate Stalin. Yes that’s right. And I don’t know what’s more outrageous: the fact that they are not dealing with any of the current problems plaguing Greece but rather speaking of a man who has been dead since 1953 or that they are publicly redeeming the reputation of one of the world’s bloodiest leaders. But then again this encapsulates beautifully the general status of Greek politics: shut the windows, turn off the TV, throw away the newspapers, keep it self-referential and make sure you don’t deal in real issues.
Meanwhile, just to add to the comedy of it all, Vassili Paleokostas and Alket Rijay, serving sentences in an Athens maximum-security prison, have escaped. They were airlifted, to be precise. By privately-hired helicopter, off the prison building roof. Again. Having escaped the same way just under three years ago.
What’s the connection between the escape and the various party preoccupations discussed at the start of this post, I hear you ask?
None. None whatsoever. That’s the whole point.
Those governing don’t even bother to come up with a credible story on why things are bad or what they are about to do to make them better. The opposition is jumping up and down going ‘pick me pick me’ with no real plan beyond changing the wallpaper once they are in office and the smaller parties – that could represent the core or at least the start of civil society – are looking in, looking back and looking lost.
As lost as the security services that manage to be terrified of disruptive and violent elements, outwitted by prisoners who do not even need to vary their routines in order to escape and bring the force of the Force to bear on dissenting students, disgruntled farmers and errant teenagers. Same old, really.
And the government does not feel the need to declare elections; the opposition talk about history; and this particular story is getting way out of hand. Same old, yes.
So, I am deploring the state of affairs in Greece again.
For as long as it’s deplorable, I shall be deploring it.
For as long as it takes.