Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis no longer surprises anyone.

He used the social media to shout “SHAME” at an opposition European Parliament Candidate (Stelios Kimbouropoulos, New Democracy) and psychiatrist who is paraplegic because he dared to say that disabled people do not want handouts but rather seek equal opportunity.

Polakis blasted him because he availed himself of an affirmative action measure to be hired as an attending physician in the National Health System and thus, in the minister’s mind, should not have spoken of equal opportunity being above handouts and affirmative action for the disabled.

Hence, it is no surprise that his clarifications after he stirred rage even in his own party, showed no sign of regret, let alone remorse.

What is a surprise and a very unpleasant one at that is the support that PM Alexis Tsipras offered his minister. It showed that he identifies with him. The PM did not distance himself in the least from the horrible behaviour of the alternate health minister.

The Left has always been proud of its moral stance. That moral stance was demolished by the left-wing SYRIZA government.

The minister’s unseemly comment and the PM’s unbefitting support for him do not concern just the left-wing.

The minister’s statement was undemocratic, and the PM is now responsible for legitimising that undemocratic – indeed fascistic – behaviour.

The government has repeatedly demonstrated that it will sacrifice anything to remain in power. To that end, it has adopted and served policies which have nothing to do with its stated ideology.

The issue transcends politics. The government’s sole concern is to survive politically, even when its members flout the basic principles of humanism and engage in reprehensible behaviour that offends the essence of the human person.