Stock-taking

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After a well-deserved summer holiday, we enter autumn with all our eternal and dilemmatic daily issues from which the issue of political doings cannot be absent.

There is an old saying, somewhat outdated and which brings back to mind times that were not too happy, but which can be used – with the same simplistic usefulness as back then – when it comes to good deeds and bad deeds in politics: Hatchlings are counted during autumn.

Obviously, the saying refers to hatchlings that, after the summer months used for brooding and hatching, managed to come to life and also to survive.

In the case of the PSD Government, counting hatchlings can go both ways and with multiple lessons which practically stem from a review of nine months of governmental gestation.

Hence, looking back in time, from the present back to the moment PSD took over power and installed the first of its two Governments so far, a first conclusion of the sum of the left wing’s actions and accomplishments during these nine months of “political pregnancy” full of intense national birth pangs would look like this: a totemic governance platform (the same?) transformed into a “Bible” for the party and the Romanian state, a platform that has gained pharaonic dimensions not through size and span or the speed at which the projects that make it up – in a strictly theoretical sense – are implemented, but through the mindboggling rhythm at which it has ended up changing from one month to the next, or even from one week or day to the next, based on some mysterious encrypted algorithm sealed in the mind of the unique leader Liviu Dragnea, with no possibilities to access it or of real, immediate and especially beneficial applicability.

However, it is known that in the history of modern humanity there are several – not quite fortunate – examples of unique, all-powerful and all-knowing leaders – a kind of mental hermaphrodites of the nations – whose closed, hermetic and self-reproducing vision sooner or later gave birth to real monsters.

So, what was born from the interpenetration between the mind of the maximum leader of today’s Romania and his adopted ideological platform, after nine months in which the Romanian nation waited – with bated breath and with obvious and exasperated impatience, but also with fear – for the much clamoured and long-worked results?

A brief review would look like this: among the last but not least, a rattling blow to the back of the national head and to the foundation of the Romanian judiciary, via the proposed amendments to the Juridical Codes and Procedures, appearing at the initiative of the Department of Justice’s second-in-line Tudorel Toader.

Around two attempts of spontaneous abortion triggered by the Pension Law (Ms Olguta Vasilescu – co-author and midwife) and the Education Law (Mr Liviu Pop – co-author and second assistant).

Budget rehashes and readjustments (none other than Mr Darius Valcov – the already famous “dottore” when it comes to artificial insemination of an economic, financial and fiscal nature into the platform and, in general, collector of art and of anything that is beautiful and especially politically useful).

Some new and spectacular arms procurements that would ensure our success before the world and the position of absolute loyalty to and solidarity with Europe and its long-term interests. Author – the Government as a whole.

Around two Governments (for now). One of which was self-digested by its maker and reborn in a new form and under the name of a new surrogate-father – Mr Mihai Tudose. A veritable whip of Attila for the Government and the country (not the vaguest allusion to the newer but eternal spat over the issue of the unending and unnatural dissensions regarding the identity, rights and state territoriality of the Szekelis and Magyars in Romania).

To all these wonderful but extremely toxic governmental and political intentions, one can add several other ad-hoc ingredients, such as those concerning the timid but significant hike in prices, the growth of dignitaries’ incomes, a new hike of the fuel excise – applicable on September 15 and October 1 –, a new attempt to introduce a new damage threshold in the case of abuse of office, simultaneously with the decriminalisation of conflict of interests, a new overbid for a fairy-tale growth of salaries and pensions at an undefined point in the future and from a budget yet undetected on Romania’s radar in the last 28 years, a VAT cut lost somewhere on the road from Victoria Palace to the PSD headquarters in Kiseleff Boulevard, which, just like the inept Solidarity Tax, has already been filed under “discussed and forgotten.”

Or the ebb and flow of the dispute over the Constitutional defining and redefining of the traditional family as a form of back-up for the other upsurges and collapses of the governance platform and for the ‘cowboys and Indians’ game that Liviu Dragnea and the incumbent (but not the last!) Prime Minister have already consecrated as a left-wing national sport.

What I was able to easily observe with infinite stupor, bitter amusement and fear during these nine months of governance was the amazing inability and lack of imagination shown by the leader of the left wing in masking his true political intentions. And this not only in terms of governance platform and of the completely ossified oligarchic manner in which he saw fit to impose his presence and power within the PSD and in almost all state structures – apart from the scenes of touching and humble political modesty and neutrality in which Liviu Dragnea transposes himself with so much commitment and persuasion – but especially in terms of this ever more transparent and grotesque “nice guy vs. bad guy” game that he stages with the Prime Minister and especially with the members of his Government.

And when I say lack of imagination I’m doing so as an exercise of common sense and respect toward the Romanian nation and people. Otherwise, the terms would no longer sound as gentle and neutral in what concerns the manner and role model that Liviu Dragnea has chosen in order to pull his chestnuts out of the fire by using the hands of his own ministers or of other entities that are apparently hostile and external to his circle of power. An issue that, for Sorin Grindeanu, resulted in an “end game” that left behind a strong smell of fire and several weeks of chaos for the whole country.

The game is as simple as it is dangerous. Let’s take Minister Tudorel Toader for instance.

The incumbent Justice Minister came up – overnight and on his own initiative – with the fantastic idea of firing a full broadside at the foundations of the Romanian judiciary system via several provisions that seek to transfer the Judicial Inspection under the authority of the Justice Ministry and to remove the Romanian President from the procedure of appointing the Chief Prosecutor of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Romania went to sleep at peace and with the appearance of calm and the boundary lines of a judiciary system and woke up the next day at the dawn of a new extremely sombre future for the national judiciary, in which the judicial branch, the fate and careers of magistrates, as well as the entire Romanian judiciary could suffer grave political interference, being placed directly in the courtyard – and hence at the behest – of the political.

As expected, the reactions from the entire corps of the magistracy and from civil society were not at all late in coming.

However, Mr Toader, otherwise an exact person, predictable like clockwork, diligent and proven to be a good party soldier, was late in explaining to magistrates, the press and Romanians in particular this incredible and mindboggling idea of his.

He has not yet managed to reach a conclusion and an answer for the many and long-patient ones who once again took to the streets or who mind their business, the good and fair taxpayers and backers of the Romanian state’s laws.

But lo and behold! Asked – as happens every time when one of his ministers proves once again to have a sickly rich or annoyingly poor imagination, veering out with some new brain wave from the unending list of surprises of the famous ad-hoc governance platform – for his opinion on such an anti-democratic and anti-rule of law initiative coming from the incumbent Justice Minister, Liviu Dragnea was, as usual, absolutely neutral toward Tudorel Toader’s initiative and actions. The latter seems to be some kind of political entity with high-ranking ministerial prerogatives, who can have and does have, as seen, personal initiatives that concern the Romanian state, completely separately from the rest of the Government whose member he is and from the mandatory political line and decisions of the party that anointed him in office.

In other words… testing, testing, one-two-three. The minister proposes, Mr Dragnea does not dispose. Not yet. He observes for days or even weeks on end the effects and the public’s reaction. Since it has been summer and holidays must be piously observed. And, after all, as he was telling Mihai Tudose at the moment of the speech presenting him as a candidate for the Prime Minister’s office, there’s no haste.

Hence, without too much haste and with the same unmistakable look of charming innocence – sending shivers down one’s spine –, Mr Dragnea, while on his way to some folk event such as the Tomato’s Day or the National Folk Costume Day, or while hurrying on his way to his Speaker of the Lower House office, shrugs his shoulders and grimaces, stating to the press that… he has no knowledge of such a thing!! And that he will take a closer look and will decide on the issue. Sometimes with and other times without the aid of his loyal political duo and political barter partner – Mr Tariceanu.

Dissociative personality and multiple personality has a fairly worrisome definition in special medical books.

However, here, one cannot talk about psychiatric pathology. Certainly not. Here we are talking about a little political game born and perpetuated by a willingly elusive personality extremely well-calculated and dangerously accurate in the pursuit of goals. A personality that Mr Liviu Dragnea has helped us form an idea about – no matter how small – during this entire time.

A political chameleon is not a game. It’s a being whose sole reason to be is that of winning and holding power at any cost. Even through an apparent game as simple and naïve as possible, however also very dangerous, a game and being whose good intentions not even the most innocent children of the nation can still believe.

But, apart from these left-wing theatre props and from the countless and ever graver incoherence and backsliding shown by the current Government, one of the most important and worrisome problems facing the current political scene – already for far too long – consists of the complete absence from this story of that factor that – in democratic and as pragmatic as possible terms – should have represented that solid, natural and normal political counterweight – the Opposition.

Because – isn’t it so? – where there is no Opposition there can be no democracy.