The real win­ners

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY PANTELIS BOUKALAS

Two types of mes­sages are in­vari­ably heard in the wake of ev­ery reshuf­fle, regardless of the gov­ern­ment ex­e­cut­ing it: praise and con­dem­na­tion. The first cat­e­gory con­sists of com­ments made by the prime min­is­ter con­cern­ing his de­ci­sion. Any prime min­is­ter – un­der obli­ga­tion to show that ev­ery move is dic­tated by a lu­cid and well-formed po­lit­i­cal plan and not as a re­sponse to par­ti­san pres­sures or in an ef­fort to make an im­pres­sion – will try to im­part the no­tion that his choices are in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant. This ex­plains the use of such strong ep­i­thets as “rad­i­cal” and “struc­tural,” for ex­am­ple. In short, the head of the gov­ern­ment is quick to trans­late his own de­ci­sion be­fore it is even made pub­lic and to give (or im­pose) his own in­ter­pre­ta­tion as be­ing the only real one – a fact which is al­most never the case. The mes­sages in the lat­ter cat­e­gory come from the op­po­si­tion and con­sist of snap judge­ments on the reshuf­fle. In the lat­est reshuf­fle what we heard was big words, snappy one-lin­ers and plenty of wordplay. And all of this – which is lit­tle more than the re­sult of in­tel­lec­tual sloth – ac­tu­ally started com­ing out be­fore the reshuf­fle was even for­mally an­nounced to un­der­mine the process from the on­set. This is an un­der­stand­able de­sire, but ex­er­cis­ing op­po­si­tion by re­hash­ing old crit­i­cism is no way to snag the po­lit­i­cal clout you so de­sire. We’ve al- ready re­al­ized that politi­cians are no longer hir­ing good writ­ers, just ad­men and slo­ga­neers. Is the reshuf­fle as rad­i­cal as Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras would have us sug­gest or was he just spout­ing mean­ing­less stereo­types? Is mak­ing Ster­gios Pit­sior­las a min­is­ter after he man­aged to irk half the pre­vi­ous cabi­net when he was head of the TAIPED pri­va­ti­za­tion fund a way of en­sur­ing unity, as Tsipras claimed? And what kind of rad­i­cal change is such a bla­tant ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the fact that while left­ist SYRIZA is by far the big­gest party in the coali­tion, it still re­mains a prisoner of its na­tion­al­ist part­ner In­de­pen­dent Greeks (ANEL)? Panos Ka­men­nos’s party is in fact the big­gest win- ner after the reshuf­fle, both from an ide­o­log­i­cal and a po­lit­i­cal stand­point. There is proof enough of this in the re­moval of for­mer ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Nikos Filis (the sup­port he en­joyed from the party’s mem­bers was ob­vi­ously deemed in­con­se­quen­tial com­pared to the pres­sure be­ing ex­er­cised by Kam­menos) and the nam­ing of Costas Zouraris as al­ter­nate ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter, the man be­hind the idio­syn­cratic cit­i­zens’ move­ment “Blaz­ing Greece” who also ad­dressed Par­lia­ment in An­cient Greek. The other big win­ner was the Church of Greece – in its most con­ser­va­tive ver­sion – which is be­hav­ing like a reg­u­lar op­po­si­tion party or, rather, as if it were co-gov­ern­ing the coun­try.

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