Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Very Unusual Year-End TV Address of PM Samaras

Yesterday, the Ekathimerini published an article about PM Samaras' year-end TV address which I was going to comment about today; today I can no longer find the article. Perhaps it was withdrawn as insufficiently newsworthy; perhaps because the government wanted to eliminate any traces of an unfortunate year-end TV address.

Fortunately, I found a report on this TV address in Der Spiegel. The PM had very good news for the suffering Greek population: Greece would return to the markets in 2014; Greece would no longer need to borrow from the Troika; Greece would thus become a 'normal country'; Greece's primary surplus would be used to strengthen the economy; etc. etc.

I can literally see a suffering Greek family watching the TV address in a barely heated living room jumping of joy about this splendid news! "We will become a normal country!"

The PM was confused about his audience. Had he been addressing an audience of foreign creditors, his speech might have been understandable. Still, foreign creditors would have asked some questions like: What benefit is it to the Greek economy if Greece borrows more expensive money from the markets instead of less expensive money from the Troika? How can Greece use the primary surplus to strengthen the economy when it is contractually obligated to use it for paying interest?

The audience which the PM addressed probably asked a much less sophisticated question such as: What the hell does that have to do with us?

Only a couple of days ago, I wrote an article about the government's reckless ignoring of the soft facts while only focusing on hard facts. To use a year-end TV address to talk about returning to the markets, to talk about the primary surplus etc., well, to put is politely --- that is the epitome of bad taste and/or misguided intentions.

Greece's returning to the markets, if it will be possible in the first place, has absolutely nothing to do with the well-being of ordinary Greeks (unless, of course, 'the markets' would return to throwing tons of money at Greece). Greece's primary surplus has absolutely nothing to do with the well-being of ordinary Greeks if it must be used to pay interest on debt. Greece's becoming a 'normal country' again has, per se, absolutely nothing to do with the well-being of ordinary Greeks

And, most importantly, what the heck are these kinds of issues doing in a year-end address to the nation which address should uplift the spirits of suffering people?

I feel bad about expressing such criticism when, in actual fact, the PM and his government deserve praise for some of the hard facts which they have accomplished during 2013. But the government's job is not only to accomplish hard facts.

The main job of leaders is to provide leadership!


  1. The address is here, fyi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYI8EsVXS2o

  2. The speech underscored the PM's total disconnect from main street and the working place

  3. Happy New Year - Thats why I tweeted a week ago -"The two worlds of Greece 1- Real world of desperation 2- The creditor world of virtual reality"-.

    Your article is very appropriate particularly as he was addressing the now paupered Greek household not Europe nor the Troika.