Friday, April 01, 2011

Lack of trust in Greek government fuelling popular protests

With virtually every economic indicator in Greece showing an ever worsening situation the ruling PASOK administration and its supporters in the media have been desperately trying to convince Greeks that the worst is already over. With phrases such as the "light at the end of the tunnels" and the "first green shoots of recovery" prime minister Giorgos Papandreou has been embarking on a concerted campaign of turning around public perceptions.

With this in mind Athens has been announcing new measures to promote development on an almost daily basis with ministers hoping that people will be convinced to accept the massive cuts in spending that have crippled the economy not just in Greece but Ireland and Portugal as well.

However, the grandiose policies being promoted so assiduously in the media are as real as the phantom armies Hitler ordered to counter attack the Red Army as it surrounded Berlin. Hunkered down in his bunker the nazi leader sent units that existed only on paper to counter the Russian divisions closing in on the Reichstag.

Similarly, a beleagured Papandreou and cabinet members have been promising large scale projects for education, economic and ecological devlopment , yet for which the funding simply doesn't exist except on the pages of glossy PR handouts.Case in point being last month's ambitious life long learning project with an estimated 2.4 billion euro budget. This at a time when the country is being obliged to close or merge nearly 2000 schools and hundreds of others are without heating due to unpaid fuel bills.

As time goes on the gap between the reality of everyday life for most Greeks and the optimistic pronouncements of the government drift ever further apart.Just as the downgrading of Greece's credit rating by both Moodys and Standard and Poor's reveals the money markets lack of faith in Athens to deliver what it has been promising so Papandreou's lack of credibility at home is becoming ever moe apparent in the opinion poll figures that show support for his PASOK party at historically low levels.

A seemingly endless list of broken promises, botched polices and an ever present stench of corruption have made the vast majority of voter wary of any promise made by government officials. This lack of faith means that most negotiations between ministers and groups such as trade unions, business leaders and others become infinitely more difficult as few believe that the government will keep its word and whenever the country's creditors decide to impose yet more austerity measures any agreement will be void.

Such lack of faith is stiffening resistance to any kind of change proposed by officials leading many to believe that only a show of force in the form of strikes or street protests will stop PASOK from reneging on deals.


Jay Schwartz said...
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Jay Schwartz said...

As in all relationships, trust, honesty and respect are a must. A government and its people are no exceptions. Citizens vent bile when speaking of the 'government' as if they aren't actually joined at the hip. It's easy to blame the government for party politics and policies that are all smoke and mirrors, but look behind the curtain and you'll no doubt find the propagators of illusion and self-delusion are indeed the collective unconscious.