When the British despair over their political scene, us Greeks can’t help but giggle. We have seen it all; corruption to the point of selling your soul to the devil (Siemens scandal), bitch slaps on 8am national television (yes Mr. Kassidiaris it was a bitch slap), MPs on hunger strikes for inconsistent bundles of reasons (including fired workers and the greenhouse effect). Finally, this past Sunday we broke every record of political absurdism by electing the sassy Mr. Alexis Tsipras as our respectful Prime Minister to lead us in these turbulent times.
For the time being, public opinion seems to have focused on the implications of his wife’s name. It translates exactly into “Pigeon”, which some stipulate could create confusion amongst political leaders in that introducing a woman as a bird is somewhat difficult to digest. The extent to which he actually can introduce her though, is an entirely different matter. In past interviews he has confounded the global community using highly symbolic, yet seemingly grammatically incorrect, phrases such as “Yes I does”. The perfect exemplar of Mr. Tsipras’s lyrical and literary genius is the name he has given to Angela Merkel; Madame Merkel. This he pronounced with an alloy of Greek, Russian, French and German accents of his own invention. Critics have still to determine the reading between the lines, but most seem to converge in the following interpretation. The transnational nature of this name is a satirical take on the futile, in Mr. Tsipras’s opinion, political, economic and cultural unification of Europe. Furthering the evidence on his political strategy of disorientation are his statements on the notorious memorandum. Employing the mantra “If you can’t convince them, confuse them”, he baffled the Greek populace by announcing that we will absolutely and most definitely exit the Eurozone and scrap the imperialists’ plans one day and “We’ll talk about it” the next.
You may have guessed, I am not his biggest fan. And I haven’t even talked about his hair yet. All jokes aside though, the situation in Greece is very serious. This may be stating the obvious, but the obvious needs to be addressed. I will not indulge in a rant against his policies, especially given that no one is exactly sure what they are. The election of such a clown indicates some deep problems.
We all know the economic reasons why Mr. Tsipras is so popular. The Greek people have been dragged around and brought down by a high-powered political struggle over how to DIY save an economy. They may be partly to blame, but they have been reduced to a desperate electorate that will vote for anything that promises change. Anything that hasn’t promised it already only to deliver nothing.
We were spoiled by an illusion of bipartisanship that looked like the deep-rooted one in the US, but was only a result of the relative affluence and, dare I say, party that was going down for the past few decades. We let ourselves believe that politics were stable. Election after election, parties’ political will and capital for actually addressing issues has decreased. And the Greek people went back to voting as they should. Not according to who will give their cousin a job in the public sector, or what their family votes for, but voting who they think may have the guts to turn things around. In this sense, the panic we saw in these elections was but a little too late. All parties should have been respectful enough of their voters to actually carry out their promises.