Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece’s major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party, has spoken at the (so called) International Exhibition of Thessaloniki.
He spoke at length and spoke about everything. He offered “solutions” to pretty much every problem. He did not forget anyone.
Nor did not he clash with anyone, not even with the ship owners or “the others” – as Christine Lagarde said in her interview with the Financial Times.
He was pleasant, but as the saying goes “you cannot please everyone every time.”
He was looking backwards, however. He reminded us of the past. Of the mistakes that led Greece to the current situation.
And most of all he disappointed the young, the talented and the ambitious. It gave then another reason to pursue their future elsewhere, in foreign lands.
His speech had a gift for everyone, and it was not even Christmas.
He seemed to have an obsession with the number 300,000, which came up in different parts of his speech.
1. He spoke of a program to create 300,000 new jobs in the public, private and social sectors…
2. He wants to create a subsidy program of food coupons to feed 300,000 poor families.
3. He called for a card that will provide free electricity to 300,000 households below the poverty line.
Was he persuasive? Did he attract supporters? Is this the way to become – as he insists he will – Prime Minister in the next election?
And assuming he becomes Prime Minister, how will he govern when he will be forced to break the above promises?
He is correct though when he says the debt is not manageable. Public debt, he said, at about twice the GDP.
And there is the additional obligation under the memoranda to produce a $10 billion surplus a year (excluding interest on the debt.) “The end result, he said, can only be adverse. Because, as you know, the circle cannot squared”.
He correctly states that these data call for the elimination of a significant proportion of the debt, if Greece is going to make it. Greece should be given another chance as was given to Germany in 1953.
He is right to say it, but what if it doesn’ t happen?
Why should German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi give this to Tsipras and not to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, whom they know and on whom they can count?
If that doesn’ t happen, how will Tsipras be able to achieve all that he promised in Thessaloniki?
Pity. Speeches like that – like some of Samaras’ to be honest – do damage. Because they mislead the people. They create illusions.
Which lead to even more frustration.