Alexis Tsipras does not know how to lose, but above all he does not know how to win substantial victories. Instead of exploiting the historic opportunity he was given in 2015 to create a long-term progressive government, he wasted in three years the momentum of the Left and the trust of a large segment of society by constantly playing the same repertory.
What governmental legacy can the PM show when his only work is to create variations of the “it’s either us or them” theme? Repetition underlines his exhausted political capital. The vacuum cannot be filled with the invective of government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos or with the libel of the head of the PM’s press office, journalist Thanasis Karteros, with the skewing of reality, or the constant invention of enemies. Faced with an impasse, he is opting for the last big roll of the dice. Either he will win everything or lose everything. Neither outcome guarantees stability and normalcy.
Blackmail to remain in office
Politicians like Alexis Tsipras do not care about the real lives of people. They seek a way of existing through dividing, the last refuge of every leader with totalitarian conceptions. He is down in the polls and lagging in all the key governmental performance questions in surveys. He counters that there is a “black front” of politicians, businessmen, and publishing interests working to ensure his downfall.
Is there, or is this a smokescreen to hide the “black hole of his government? Is it his pitch black alliance with Panos Kammenos which has resulted in open blackmail in order to remain in power? Is it his joining with a right-wing deep state to slander the government’s political opponents? Is it that left-wing radicals are identifying with oligarchs like Ivan Savvidis, and that there are cozy relations with almost the entirety of the country’s business community?
People in Mytilini turned their back on him
In February, 2015, he was declaring that his government is the “voice and will of the people, and then one saw the luxury life, expensive suits, cigars, villas, yachts, state appointments of relatives and friends. Now he pretends he does not see New Democracy’s 10 percentage point lead in the polls.
What does the voice of the people say when he tours the provinces in the few instances when he can leave Athens protected by a small army of riot police? In Mytilini, he was met with caustic irony, which is worse than the biggest protest.
“I admire you for cutting my pension,” a retiree told him. “What can I do buddy?” was the apologetic response. “Will you tell us to further tighten our belts?” a lady asked. “No more belt tightening, only gritting teeth, as we’re at the end of the road,” Tsipras said. “If you say so, we believe you,” the woman said laughing. Now he will try to paper over the discontent with handouts from the large surplus derived from drying out the real economy.
Perhaps Mr. Tsipras will sacrifice everything, even his core beliefs, for the sake of fiscal stability, so the country can enter post-bailout development. The economy shows signs of rebounding. Yet the home-grown growth plan presented by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos at the Sofia Eurogroup was seen by his colleagues as too general, without specific targets, without a timetable for actions, and without incentives to bolster the seven sectors of the economy chosen by the government as engines for growth.
What will the next day be like after the completion of the third bailout memorandum on 20 August? Will there be harsh oversight, perhaps with additional fiscal measures? No one knows.
Main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis says he will not recognise a plan being secretly discussed with creditors and he demanded “liberating elections” for the country. Movement for Change leader Fofi Gennimata also demanded snap elections, before Tsipras commits the country’s future. The PM replied that this is opposition “shadow-boxing in the trenches.