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Making excuses instead of policies

Making excuses instead of policies

(Giorgos Zachos/InTime News)

The way in which those who govern divert responsibility from themselves is a pressing problem in Greek politics and society. Governments judge their performance not so much by their successes and failures, but rather by whether their predecessors were worse, or whether their future successors would be even worse. And so we find ourselves in a perpetual twilight between the failures of others and the dangers they continue to pose.

This helps governments and their supporters justify inexcusable errors, omissions and behavior. Worse still, the collaboration between local and foreign interests always complicates matters, preventing us from seeing reality, assessing it correctly and acting on it.

The peculiarities of our ‘system’ transform or undermine the supervisory bodies of the state, of the political system but also of the European Union, as the crisis has shown. On the one hand, bankruptcy was inevitable, on the other hand, no one expected it. That is why we have not adjusted our course, why there is still no general understanding of what caused the crisis and how to avoid such defeats in the future.

Even a quick reading of modern Greek history shows that contempt for rivals is a driving force in our politics, fueling the catastrophic twins of fanaticism and division. This mix becomes even more unstable when it is infused with the input of ‘foreign’ agents, with whom one side or the other will collaborate to increase its power at home. If sooner or later this cooperation leads to failure, it will confirm the distrust we harbor towards each other and towards foreigners, even though they are our allies and partners. During the Cold War, evil right-wing governments justified their actions on the principle that they were fighting communism.

Then the 1967-1974 dictatorship claimed to be saving Greece from incompetent politicians and the left. With the restoration of democracy and the natural reaction against the dictatorship and the United States, a political culture developed in which ‘our mistakes’ are nothing more than the ‘crimes’ of others. This applies when the former government is a dictatorship, and not when it was another democratic party. And yet this is a basic ingredient of our public life. Even EU officials have overlooked the mistakes of allied political parties here (and perhaps elsewhere), endangering the credibility of the European institutions by taking sides.

It would be absurd for the current ruling party to warn of the dangers of an election victory by its opponents, as there is no credible opposition party. Therefore, the government is focusing instead on the threat of destabilization. And it has set several targets for the results it wants to achieve in the European Parliament elections, viewing a strong performance in itself as an affirmation of stability. Using its previous high scores as a benchmark (it won more than 40.5 percent in 2023), the country risks falling short, undermining itself and benefiting its rivals. In this way, she too will look for excuses instead of governing.