Sunday 6 November 2011

National Unity Government. Aliki Vougiouklaki.

Aliki Vougiouklaki, a famous Greek film actress once said that “even your children’s children will grow up watching Aliki”. Most of her films had a happy ending usually with a wedding despite all the odds from the family or societal norms. They had to have a happy ending because Greece at the time was not a happy country, mired with poverty, unemployment, outward immigration to the mines of Belgium or gastarbeiters to Germany. Democracy (with a hereditary Monarch not a President) was shaky with multiple coups being planned by various factions and eventually one succeeding.

Heavyweight political names included Mr. Constantine Karamanlis (PM 55-58, 58-61, 61-63, 74-80, President 80-85, 90-95) the uncle of the PM Kostas Karamanlis (PM 2004-09 and 20XX-XX future date not yet determined), Mr. George Papandreou (PM 44-45, 63, 64-65) the Grandfather of PM George A. Papandreou, Mr. Andreas Papandreou (PM 1981-89 and 93-96), father of PM George A. Papandreou (2009-2011 and 20XX-XX future date not yet determined) and Mr. Mitsotakis (PM 1989-92) the father of Mrs. Dora Bakoyianni and Kyriakos Mitsotakis no doubt PM’s at some later, as yet unspecified date.

The current agreement by the two major parties to form a coalition or a national unity government resembles the weddings in Aliki’s films. As spectators we are elated at the happy ending but once outside the cinema reality strikes once more. Everyday problems have not disappeared, jobs have not being created, corruption and nepotism are alive and kicking and the feeling of injustice, helplessness and national humiliation persists. The really sad thing however, is that as in Aliki’s case, we seem not to have a choice. We have to vote for the same old politicians or their mutated heirs. As with Aliki’s films the best we could hope for was to go back and watch another one of her films with a happy ending. No matter what the people of Greece do or want, they see their political elite not just surviving but thriving at the expense of the country and its future. 

For a second, no more than a second, I thought that the PASOK MP’s meant their defiant words after Papandreou’s referendum blunder. I was wrong. One after another, they minced their words and softened their “moral outrage”. The sole purpose was to save the endangered political system of which they are members of. Both major parties have such a grip on their MP’s and the political arena that ordinary voters are pushed to the fringes of politics. It is exactly this sclerotic monopoly that allows the survival of fascist and Stalinist communist ideology in the Greek society. Neither PASOK nor ND, allow political evolution to take hold. Greece suffers from a political stasis. Democracy’s great advantage over most other political systems is its ability to evolve, change and adapt. And as we all know, a species (political or other) if it does not evolve and adapt to the changing environment becomes extinct. This is the fate of most immutable political systems (witness Gaddafi and other dictators). Greece’s political system however, is only called Democratic because we have elections. It should be clear by now that although this is a necessary condition it is by no means sufficient.
For this reason, I am very skeptical at the latest attempt of the political elite to save Greece. I am not entirely convinced that the National Unity Government (or whatever they wish to christen it) is there to effect any real change (other than ensuring the EU installment) and to avoid the path to oblivion.