Polls won’t help us now

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY COSTAS IORDANIDIS

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.

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