Lonely at the top

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY MARIA KATSOUNAKI

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.

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