Polls won’t help us now
The proposal by Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) chief Dimitris Daskalopoulos for a referendum over whether Greece should accept a new so-called memorandum shocked those who believed that the “modernization” of the Greek economy would enjoy the support of the business community. What they did not take into account is that the entrepreneurial establishment in this country, barring a few exceptions of course, is literally being swept aside as an anachronistic remnant of an economy that is out of synch with the eurozone. There is no individual or group in this country that is against radical change, on the condition that it is not them who bears the brunt of it. It is largely this manner of thinking that led the business community to misinterpret the memorandum and hide behind the position that the state is the only sector in this country that is seriously ailing. It forgot, however, that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher did not just crush the labor union movement with her policies, but also many businesses and sectors of British industry. The troika comprising officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund may be deeply dis- liked by the vast majority of Greek citizens and the memorandum that was drawn up last year has proved a failure in conception and in application, but it was clear from the onset that its purpose was to impose sweeping changes. That is obviously what certain members of SEV, who feel threatened, are beginning to realize. Whatever the circumstances, there will always be wage earners in Greece – whether paid in euros or drachmas – whose salaries will be slashed and who will have little if any creditworthiness. On the other hand, the Greek “entrepreneur,” the businessman who dodges taxes, demands subsidies and pulls the strings of his political cronies, filled with self-satisfaction, is a dying breed. Naturally, any referendum at this point will come out against a new memorandum, given that a recent poll conducted by Kathimerini revealed that just 15 percent of respondents support the current, and much milder, agreement. But Prime Minister George Papandreou should not be too concerned about whether to call a referendum or not, because under the present circumstances the only real way out for Greece is a renegotiation of the terms of its bailout, something that the government has proved incapable of doing.