Dionysis Savvopoulos, the ingenious songwriter whose musical creativity was uniquely combined with penetrating social and political observation, made a statement which incisively described the current political situation: “I think that a failed version of the left-wing is governing. The ventriloquists of Andreas Papandreou are governing – people who imitate him.”
Naturally, Andreas Papandreou’s imitators were not at all pleased with these remarks and as is their wont they attacked the great artist in an unseemly manner.
The truth hurt. It hurt because Alexis Tsipras, a young politician who has attempted to copy a number of elements of Andreas Papandreou’s public persona, failed in his aim - if not to imitate the late PM at least to establish any meaningful comparison to him. Indeed, his efforts failed miserably.
There are many reasons for this. First of all, Andreas Papandreou came to power by uniting the Greeks, in contrast to Alexis Tsipras who won by dividing and governed with the same divisive rhetoric.
Andreas Papandreou also played a role in unifying the country’s progressive democratic forces, from which he emereged politically. He would never have considered governing with the nationalist Right, as the current PM did.
Andreas Papandreou undoubtedly made mistakes. He made promises which he did not keep and tolerated behaviours which harmed him primarily.
Yet one cannot but acknowledge that he played a catalytic role in bringing about a deep transformation of Greek society and in bolstering Greek democracy. That is why he was loved by the masses.
In contrast, his imitator has a strong footing only in his own narrow, partisan base.