SYRIZA’s electoral campaign is evolving into a string of flip-flops.
Stunned by the results of the recent European and local elections, the ruling party is in vain seeking a way out with machinations, pronouncements, threats, and promises that have all boomeranged.
The most characteristic example is the cottage industry of patronage appointments in Parliament and elsewhere to benefit relatives, friends, and buddies.
The entirely predictable outcry following revelations of a slew of unabashed political favours caused a panic in the PM’s office, which scampered to save any remaining shred of the “moral advantage” of the left. However, the provocation and rage cannot be swept away.
Another example is PM Alexis Tsipras’ frantic effort – after the release yesterday of the European Commission’s quarterly enhanced fiscal surveillance report – to again don his anti-bailout memorandum garb and to revive his rhetoric about EU neo-liberal circles that undermine the people’s love for him and plot new austerity measures.
Following the PM’s protracted honeymoon and complete alignment with Brussels, Angela Merkel and others, he belatedly and unconvincingly discovered that they cannot endure his popular policies.
The third example involves the pledges of handouts in an effort to regain some of the electoral base that abandoned SYRIZA.
Having before the recent elections passed in Parliament a series of relief measures for the middle class, the PM is now doing an about-face and returning to the rhetoric of support for the nouveau poor and recipients of benefits, whom he views as the core of his electoral base.
Hence, he is focusing on measures to rescind a legislated cut in the tax-free threshold, to reduce the ENFIA real estate tax, to lower taxes on the lowest tax bracket, and to cut the solidarity tax.
Unfortunately for Mr. Tsipras, it has again been demonstrated that he has an uneasy relationship with the concepts of political responsibility and economic common sense.
Opportunisms, populism, and demagoguery remain his basic traits. It is with these that he conducted politics all these years and it is with these that he expects to reverse the political tide that has turned against him.
The problem is that citizens have now got his number and the paltry handouts that he is offering them cannot change their views on his record and character.