“Is Greece not a democracy,” asked a friend who is visiting the homeland after a long time.
“But of course it is,” I answered him. “What kind of question is that?”
"I do not see any opposition," he said.
He surprised me.
“You are right about that,” I told him.
The opposition is almost non-existent.
Alexis Tsipras, after his defeat, almost two years ago, cannot find his footing. He resorts to populist fireworks, which instead of increasing his popularity, reduce it more and more. People seem to finally be convinced that there are no easy solutions, of the type proposed by Tsipras, and consider themselves lucky that the reins of the country are in the hands of Kyriakos Mitsotakis and not the SYRIZA leader’s.
The most common utterance is, "can you imagine what things would be like today if Tsipras were the country's prime minister?"
Moreover, it is easy to see that today there is essentially only one politician, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who stands out above all others. And this applies to both the government and the opposition.
The recent attempt of a minister to create a patriotic profile at the expense of national issues, in retrospect, seems like a desperate attempt to manage the gap separating the Prime Minister from the rest.
However, if it is true that it takes more than one political leader to govern a country, then this situation does not inspire optimism in the long run.
Still, it seems that the coronavirus has put an end, at least temporarily, but unquestionably, to the ideological wars waged in recent decades between the right and the left.
What counts in public opinion today is the ability of a leader to manage problems and not the affixing of a left or right label.
And this important battle was won by an overwhelming margin, by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who proved that he can manage big problems in the best possible way.
However, the first threatening cloud in the image of the government and Greece was caused by the recent interview of the Minister of Tourism with a reputable BBC journalist with a large audience.
The journalist ‘opened holes’ in many of the achievements of the Greek government in the field of tourism, but also in general, such as the issue of refugee treatment.
Undoubtedly, it was an unusually harsh, almost unprecedented attack-criticism of the journalist on the Minister.
However, it is known that this journalist has built his career upon the ruthless way in which he presents his question to those who agree to give him interviews.
I would say that the Minister of Tourism, given the circumstances, did not do badly and that he calmly and in very good English tried to deal with his attacker.
However, he could have been even better, more effective, if he had been better prepared, if he had taken into account that in front of him was not a random journalist from Athens on duty, but a tough professional whose only concern is to secure the interest and the applause of his listeners and not the appreciation of a minister.
Of course, the damage to tourism and the image of the country was done.
Nevertheless, these perspectives in the daily discussion of the travel and tourism issues among journalists and opinion leaders impacted by the BBC and this journalist should not be allowed to be consolidated and become embedded in the public mind.
In the absence of more appropriate representatives of the government, the Prime Minister will have to undertake this mission as well, to overturn the impression that was created and to preserve the image of his government and Greek tourism.