The ring of de­feat

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS XYDAKIS

The lat­est gov­ern­ment reshuf­fle – which took place af­ter talks be­tween the two main­stream par­ties on a coali­tion failed on Wed­nes­day – once again finds Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou at the helm of the coun­try and the gov­ern­ment in the hands of PASOK. Pa­pan­dreou’s openGov vi­sion is col­laps­ing un­der the weight of the bur­geon­ing cri­sis, as vet­er­ans of the party founded by his late fa­ther strug­gle to save all they can from a move­ment they have treated pretty much like a cor­ner shop. The in­stinct of sur­vival is keep­ing the So­cial­ist folk to­gether around the pole of power, even as the newly bap­tized ad­min­is­tra­tion seems des­tined to sign the debt-choked coun­try’s bank­ruptcy. Sur­vival – un­der a rec­og­niz­able po­lit­i­cal banner – for a ca­reer politi­cian is top pri­or­ity. Evan­ge­los Venize­los finds him­self deputy prime min­is­ter and fi­nance min­is­ter at the time of the midterm fis­cal plan. Venize­los has re­ceived the ring (my pre­cious!) at a very dif­fi­cult mo­ment, when a hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feat for the rul­ing So­cial­ists looks all but in­escapable. Venize­los knows all that. But he is tak­ing the ring now to make up for his greedy mis­take in 2007. He hopes to be the one to lead PASOK fol­low­ing the next gen­eral elec­tion and play a cru­cial role in the fu­ture. In fact, most of the politi­cians who are par­tic­i­pat­ing in this most frag­ile one-party gov­ern­ment of the post-1974 pe­riod are an­i­mated by sim­i­lar sur­vival-first in­cen­tives. How­ever is any­one in Greece re­ally in­ter­ested in the sur­vival ma­neu­vers of this bunch of ca­reer politi­cians and nobles? Af­ter all, this is the gen­er­a­tion which gen­er­ated the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic cri­sis. Can the one who in­flicted this wound also be the one to cure it? No one re­ally thinks so – not even the des­per­ate mid­dle class. The masses, who are now suf­fer­ing as a re­sult of soar­ing taxes and spend­ing cuts, will con­tinue to feel con­cerned and fu­ri­ous about the present. Some of them will re­act. The pres­sure from a Euro­pean Union in dis­ar­ray will grow, Greece’s debt will soar, re­ces­sion will deepen, un­em­ploy­ment will grow. There is no so­lu­tion with­out pain – just as in “The Lord of the Rings.”

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