Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was in part correct when he asserted that the “political courage” award that he received in Paris belongs to the Greek people.
It is the people who have had the courage to tolerate the lies, hypocrisy, and incompetence, and to endure the ever greater burdens piling up on their backs.
One of the main culprits is the prime minister. Thanks to the “tough” negotiations he conducted with creditors, Greece ended up with yet another harsh bailout memorandum, so that today the prime minister can boast about his courage and pro-European stance.
Greek society has demonstrated truly admirable patience, although the limits of its endurance are gradually being exhausted.
That is because Mr. Tsipras’ courage is limited to the imposition of increasingly higher taxes and contributions, with which he can prove to the Europeans and the IMF that he has learned his lesson and that he has no compunction about adopting measures that he vehemently denounced before he discovered the allure of power.
Just yesterday, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released data demonstrating that Greece is the champion among all 35 member-states in terms of its ration of tax collection to GDP.
The data show that tax revenues in Greece rose by 2.2 percentage points in 2016, reaching 38.6 percent of GDP, whereas the average increase in the same period among all OECD countries was 0.3 percent, rising from 34 percent to 34.3 percent of GDP.
Addressing parliament yesterday, the finance minister conceded that the budget is unjust.
“We could have said that because it is unjust, we too will vote it down, in order to go to elections that will produce another coalition government. We did not choose that path,” he said.
The only thing is that the stance of struggling for something better that the government constantly invokes, as an alibi and excuse, does not reverse the injustices, nor did it ever lead to a positive result for citizens, who see that their situation is constantly worsening instead of improving.
So let Mr. Tsipras enjoy his award, even if it confirms his political amoralism, but he should not expect to be awarded by the people, who saw the hopes that he indiscriminately cultivated cruelly dashed.