By Dimitris Bekiaris
The title of this article may as well have been: ”Same…stuff, different day”
Those in SYRIZA, they seem to never learn. And we are not referring only to the absurdities that are taking place within with the ”trends”, the groups, the factions, the intra-party sects, the ”umbrellas”, and the radical movements that have turned the transformation of the official opposition party, from a… general assembly to an actual party, into the joke of the decade (quite literally ”of the decade”).
Those in SYRIZA also seem incapable of making a correct evaluation of the polls, unable to realize the conservative “turn” that society has taken – through systematic brainwashing – during the last years and to understand the demands of Greek society, which came out of the memorandum era crisis, only to fall into the multidimensional and multifaceted pandemic crisis.
A few days ago, a former top-ranking minister of SYRIZA told me during a phone (owing to quarantine) conversation, that the weakest point of the official opposition party is the articulation of programmatic speech. That’s right. However, contradicting himself, he considered that the difference between New Democracy and SYRIZA was about four to six percentage points.
It is highly likely that this – remarkable, truth be told – former SYRIZA minister has fallen victim to the so-called “cyber institutionalization”. What does this mean? Various zealous SYRIZA supporters are gathering on social media “groups”, where, in the light of their own perspective on what is going on in Greece since the summer of 2019, when Mitsotakis and New Democracy rose to power, express the belief that the current system of government, the current governing body, is, somehow, magically “collapsing”. Their perception even goes beyond the “ripe fruit” theory, according to which a government will eventually always fall or be defeated in elections due to gradual corrosion. The misguided “herd” fails to realize that a government of only two years, which has received a strong popular mandate, while wielding unprecedented power and superiority in the media and being the “political arm” of the elites, is not going fall just because a few SYRIZA supporters think that its policies – which are indeed disastrous and criminal – will inevitably lead to the alternative choice, that is, SYRIZA.
Even if the Mitsotakis government is indeed wearing out, SYRIZA is definitely not reaping any benefits and its poll ratings are not only decreasing, but are shrinking dangerously, with people’s engagement being nothing short of disappointing. In order for SYRIZA to gain something from the corrosion of the Mitsotakis government, it has to offer solutions, in the present case a solution regarding the issue of the pandemic.
In the institutionalized environment of the “trolls” and the zealots, the view on the social situation and political affairs goes way beyond the above theory. A small part of Greek society believes that the lives of millions of Greeks revolve around SYRIZA. In fact, their opinions are relevant only among themselves.
What is worse, is that the erroneous assessments that prevail in the arena of social media become actual sources of information used by top-ranking SYRIZA executives and journalists, who insist that SYRIZA and Alexis Tsipras should raise the issue of the opinion polls and challenge their reliability once again.
What is even worse is that these assessments are conveyed to Alexis Tsipras by consultants and journalists. The president of SYRIZA may actually believe all this. Who knows?
A vicious circle.
Indeed, the credibility of the pollsters has been questioned in the past, culminating in the opinion polls fiasco of summer 2015.
On that basis, during the European elections and the national election of 2019, some people conveyed to Alexis Tsipras that the difference with New Democracy was supposedly small and that Mitsotakis would not be able to achieve parliamentary majority. The case of another top-ranking SYRIZA minister comes inevitably to my mind, who told me in his office – a few months before the elections – that he believed in the turnaround of the poll results, even in victory.
It goes without saying that no one in SYRIZA considered the polls that showed a clear victory of ND by a large margin to be credible. Eventually, in 2019 the polls were confirmed and some advisers of Alexis Tsipras were trashed.
In SYRIZA headquarters, however, they never learned from their mistakes. On the contrary, they keep repeating them. Instead of being self-critical, seeing what went wrong, and trying to fix it, they instead bury their heads in the sand choose the easy solution of demonizing polls and challenging their findings. This way, nevertheless, SYRIZA will not improve in the field of exercising political opposition and will never focus on the crucial issue of developing a convincing plan of exiting the crisis. And the worst thing, mostly for the country and secondarily for Alexis Tsipras’s party, is that SYRIZA will be defeated again, whether the elections take place soon or at the end of the government’s four-year term.