Lonely at the top
Along with a big wave of taxes, we also have a procession of strikes coming up. The latter, which had been considerably fewer during the first SYRIZA-Independent Greeks government, are slowly but surely making a comeback as work stoppages and protest rallies take their place alongside the tax hikes and cuts in pensions and salaries. The time has come to settle the bailout bill and the harder the government tries to soften the deal it signed, by going in search of alternative measures for the alternative measures, the worse and more complex the country’s economic situation becomes. The most worrisome factor, which could upset the already fragile balances, is society’s own reaction. Up to now, society’s tolerance reflected a combination of factors: repulsion vis-a-vis the so-called old political system, extreme fatigue, and SYRIZA’s capacity to manage anger and aggression by promising to exit the crisis in due course without bailouts and the consequences of bankruptcy. The party made promises and won successive elections. It distorted reality and found a willing audience. It offered optimism free of charge to a worn-out society. Now that the protective filters are gone, the only elements on the rise are taxes and discomfort, along with the never-ending fear that the problems are multiplying and there is no money, let alone easy solutions. The government’s winning card, which was its relationship with a major portion of society, is also being worn out. It’s not only the price of empty promises which it is being called to pay, but a perpetually aggravating economic situation, as the unemployment rate is stuck above 25 percent and revenues are primarily expected to come from the exhausted taxpaying capacity of the lower middle class. So far, SYRIZA’s most trusted allies were divided into two categories: those who hoped that by voting for the party nothing was going to change and that the country would even return to the 13th salary, and those who believed that they were voting for the country’s first ever leftist government. Both categories are beginning to realize the mistake they made and the dead end that lies ahead. The worst kind of isolation as far as the government is concerned will not be on the international level, from its allies, but the one on the local front, from its supporters.