Speaking just two days after an Athens rally on the FYROM naming issue, which was billed as a patriotic defense of the name Macedonia, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras lashed out at his conservative political opponents during a speech to a party audience in Patras last night.
“If there is one thing that our fatherland needs from all of us today, it is a contemporary, decisive and relentless patriotism. There cannot be a patriotism combined with kickbacks and corruption,” Tsipras said, in a thinly veiled reference to the Novartis scandal, in which former New Democracy and Pasok ministers may be implicated.
In that context, he quoted the late, conservative president Costis Stephanopoulos: “One cannot speak of patriotism and honour in relation to those who break the law and violate their conscience, demanding and receiving benefits to which they are not entitled.”
“These words are extremely timely if we consider what we haveseen over the last days,” the PM said in an apparent reference to the Novartis scandal.
“Patriotism is not about statements and rhetoric, nor is it about standing at attention when the flag is raised. Patriotism is the daily act of virtue, contributing to handling the burdens of the state, a condemnation in practice of any phenomenon of corruption and self-interest,” Tsipras said.
Once again, the prime minister attempted to demonstrate that that Syriza has a moral advantage over the opposition. “I know very well that as a government we make mistakes and that there are omissions in our work. Still, I have the right to say that our political and criminal record are cleaner than the clear skies,” Tsipras declared.