Monday, February 22, 2010

Time for Greece to change? Don't hold your breath.

You would think that after a monumental failure of governance such as the one that Greece is experiencing in the wake of an unprecedented financial crisis that those responsible would be at the very least keeping a low profile or even furtively fingering their passports should the need to rapidly exit the country become apparent.

On the contrary the conservative New Democracy party that ruled the country for the last five years and in large party morally resonsible for a substantial portion of Greece' massive foreign debt has doggedly refused to accept that it is to blame for the worst crisis Greeks have faced since the tanks rolled into Athens in 1967.

Instead of heading for the hills to avoid lynch mobs the new leadership headed by reformed ultra - nationalist Antonis Samaras has led a media attack on the present PASOK government's handling of the meltdown that threatens to condemn Greece to penuary for the forseeable future. There has been little or no mention that his party one not one, but two general elections and helped pile up a mountain of unpaid bills that now have to be paid by the 11 million citizens of this country unlucky enough not to be MPs with salaries that start at 6100 euros a month and are guaranteed a pension for life after just one term in power.

Can there be any more galling sight that that of politicians who managed to rack up more than 50 major scandals in the space of five years lecture us on good governance? Now Samaras has argued that attempts by PM Giorgos Papandreou to set up a parliamentary committee to investigate the current debacle are premature as they would damage Greece's credibility.

I'm not sure which part of the South Pacific Antonis Samaras has been marooned upon for the last month but obviously no news of how the New Democracy party has dragged Greece's name through the mud internationally has managed to reach his ears.

If Greece has any credibility left with international political and economic circles is open to debate and if it is to regain any the first thing it has to do is find any punish those responsible for the fact that the country lies on the brink of disaster.

However, its is a also a matter of debate whether MPs will be willing to investigate fellow party members and get the bottom of this case which involves both major parties. If previous enquiries such as those into the Vatopedi land swop scandal or the Siemens corruption case are anything to go by then I believe no.

In which case can the present political structure be trusted to reform itself to avoid a repeat of this disaster? My view is that it cannot as the disfunctions that have led us to this present pass are hardwired into the system and that any attempt to change it is doomed to failure.

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