The politics of sadness

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What motivates policy making? Is it the practical recognition that courses of action can have beneficial outcomes? Is it an ideological commitment to a cause of action? Is it, perhaps, the desire to stay in power for power’s sake, through the use of lies, diversion and distraction?

I have often wondered in this blog what is the point of the self-proclaimed ‘first time left government’ of Greece. This was a pertinent question ever since the compromise was made in the summer of 2015 to accept the new bailout and keep the country in the Euro. It became a pressing question in the September 2015 election (which returned said government). It is an urgent, some say desperate question in the spring of 2016.

After Syriza changed course away from memorandum bashing in favour of memorandum acceptance (in practice if not in rhetoric), it ditched its ideology and long practice of ‘resistance’ in favour of a new type of pragmatism. Why would anyone consider Mr Tsipras though different from Venizelos and Samaras who espoused the same type of pragmatism? This presented a critical problem for Syriza, as the recognition that there is no alternative to Euro membership and Troika cooperation would negate their political presence.

Syriza is a party with an activist base that grew from 4% of the vote to above 35% on the assumption that they were ideologically different and did not share the same ‘pragmatism’ as the hated ‘memorandum’ & Troika-controlled governments that came after Papandreou absconded the ‘throne’ in 2010. How does one traverse the thin line between ideological difference and pragmatic acceptance of a reality defined by ‘others’?

The answer, laughable as it may be, was to accept to implement a programme (pragmatic choice) that Syriza is ideologically opposed to and continuously promises to resist, but -wait for it- be sad about it. There it is therefore, the political capital of Tsipras rests on the government being sad about what it is doing to its people, regretting the necessity of implementing horrible measures, being unhappy when signing the laws that prolong the ‘austerity’ this government was created to fight against.

There is an endless series of examples of Ministers signing austerity measures with grief. The PM announces every opportunity he gets that he is sad to do this, that he has been blackmailed by the Europeans. When faced with the question: Don’t you think Samaras and Venizelos were also blackmailed, Tsipras answers: Yes, but they thought these measures were good, they were going to help the country. We (Syriza-Anel) do not think these measures are good, we don’t think they will help, yet we do them, in sadness.

The question that immediately comes to mind to anyone not brainwashed by ‘anti-austerity’ perpetual-protest nonsense is: How could a government that thinks it is doing the wrong thing govern? How can it implement the measures it decries as wrong? How can it successfully pass evaluations by external bodies (ie Troika)?

It cannot is the short answer. This explains why Syriza-Anel are unable to govern on any level. They are paralysed between an ideological commitment to resistance and serving their client-base whose very survival depends on the continued disbursement of bailout funds. The inescapable conclusion is that this study in contradictions (too many to recount here) has failed. In failing it is dragging the country further down the hole it is in.

Does Mr Tsipras and Mr Kammenos care? Many believe they do not. They are glued to their chairs and will do and say anything to stay in power. The result is lies, diversion and distraction to maintain support while the country sinks.

Tsipras being sad about implementing ‘necessary’ measures he thinks are wrong is like a rapist regretting raping a young girl. He has to do it, as he cannot satisfy his urges otherwise, he knows it is wrong but it has to be done. He is sad about it.

Mr Tsipras and Mr Kammenos need to offer an alternative plan for Greece with honesty. If they cannot, they need to leave. As they will not leave of their own accord the Greek people need to choose others to ‘save them’ next chance they get. Everything else is a dangerous waste of time.

kolos tsipras



2 thoughts on “The politics of sadness

  1. Ah ha, my good friend, the wheel has nearly turned a full circle.

    And, in the final analysis, it all boils down to having the guts to admit when one has been wrong and the motivation to do something about it. I have also changed my mind in the past about views that I once held and believed to hold all the answers. I sense that maybe you are too. I agree with you that, all too often these days, it just seems to be about politicians wanting to hang onto power rather than having the guts to do the difficult, but maybe better thing. We will never really know if another course of action may bring about the changes and improvements that we desire unless we have the courage to try.

    Remember your post “Basta Yanni” when you advised Yanis Varoufakis to end his relenting opposition and sign up to the new troika deal for Greece. This would also have been another case of the “politics of sadness”. But he did not. He admitted defeat and resigned. For all of the Yanis bashing that still carries on today (and may I say that I do not always agree with everything that he says), I have to stand up to his critics with regard to his integrity. He bowed out rather than caved in! And Tsipras should have done the same rather than betray the principles and promises of Syriza. That would, at least, have got him a reputation of a “failed, but honest” politician rather than where he stands today…..sad, discredited and untrustworthy.

    The political “Left” in Europe has crumbled without putting up a proper fight. Now everyone just laughs at them and cannot take them seriously. The citizens are in despair, paralyzed with doubt and indecision every time an election comes around.

    To use a well worn cliche….Quo Vadis!

    PS – I note that in a group of bloggers that I have followed, writing on these subjects, that you are one of the very few left, still trying to wake people up and make a difference. Well done. At least a few of us have the spirit not to give up so easily. You and I may not always agree on every subject, but a healthy debate always sharpens the mind and forces one to think outside of the herd.


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