When Greece had already registered 39 deaths from the flu Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis appeared on a television network and said “This is not a catastrophe.”

Will he revise his assessment now that there are 74 deaths? If not, how many dead would it take for him to feel concern?

These rhetorical questions are an attempt to show how lightly and immodestly the alternate health minister carries out his duties. It also illustrates his stubborn persistence in turning everything into a partisan issue. “This is no catastrophe. Let’s not go crazy,” he said, suggesting that the government bears no responsibility.

His basic concern is defending the government and not managing public health and confronting emergency situations such as the deadly flu epidemic.

The alternate health minister may believe that his behaviour offers good services to his party and himself, but it certainly does not serve the social whole well at all.

It may satisfy a narrow partisan audience to see him in the role of a Javert trying to jail his opponents but he is incapable of satisfying citizens’ need for a functional healthcare system.

His presence in this post is truly a catastrophe.