The prime minister yesterday had a duty to rise to the occasion

He had a duty to show Greek citizens – the very citizens who shouldered the huge burden of the crisis, in large measure due to his own errors and memorandum – that he is a leader who unites and does not divide, that he is a leader who can stand above partisan objectives at hours that are crucial for the nation, and at moments full of symbolic charge.

Instead, Alexis Tsipras betrayed the spirit not only of Homer’s Odyssey, but also of the famed poem “Ithaca” by Cavafy.

He appeared divisive toward the citizens, pointed the finger at enemies (including the media that are not to his liking), and targeted public figures who led the country at difficult moments and kept it on its feet.

He offered untrammeled demagoguery, but he did not say a word about his own misdeeds, and the crisis within a crisis which his imprudent policy triggered in the first half of 2015.

Greek citizens were not waiting to hear a new version of SYRIZA’s erstwhile slogan: Either we finish them off or they finish us off.

They were waiting for the prime minister to show courage and generosity, to appear before them not with extreme, aggressive rhetoric, but rather with a unifying speech that recognises and prepares for the difficulties of the post-memorandum period.

Alexis Tsipras failed in his role.

He failed by reminding Greeks that he is not only part of the problem, but rather its basic component.