The political climate was bad enough as it was, and then the rent subsidies for ministers came along to make matters worse.
The Metron Analysis Poll that To Vima published on Sunday registered and ever growing gap between society, on the one hand, and political parties and politicians on the other. There is a general sense of disaffection and an anti-politics stance in a substantial segment of public opinion.
Trust in the government and in the opposition is at exceptionally low levels. But there are growing extreme right and anti-systemic forces, with untrammeled populism, that pretend to be the uncorrupted parties which will clean up political life.
That trend is bolstered by the climate of polarisation and division in the political arena, with a focus on scandals and corruption.
The ministerial subsidies affair may seem insignificant, but in fact it undermines the credibility of the government and of politicians more generally. This is all the more true when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Syriza have highlighted as a main plank in their politics the much-touted moral advantage of the left, and the clash with the “old” political system.
When society’s trust in politicians has reached its nadir, as the recent poll suggests, obviously an event of lesser importance, but especially symbolic, is enough to aggravate the climate of disgruntlement.
At a time when the country faces major internal and external challenges – completing the bailout memorandum, the Macedonian naming issue, and Turkish provocations – a polarised climate and mounting social dissatisfaction are a disastrous combination.
It is tragic that after nearly 10 years of economic crisis, we continue to generate the same ills and misery, and to recycle political and social division. Understanding and dialogue are always lacking, despite all that has transpired.
With this political atmosphere, and a divided and disappointed society, the country will go nowhere. We will continue to be in limbo, without momentum or a plan for tomorrow.
There is no more room for lost opportunities, and the government must be the first to understand that.
If they believe that with a cabinet reshuffle they will change the climate of political wear, they are mistaken.
Courageous and bold initiatives are required – and not opportunistic political games and moves of fleeting sensationalism – to shape the climate of stability that the country needs.