When Borut Pahor took over as PM, pengovsky (a self-important asshole that he is) wrote a public appeal to Pahor, which included the following:
[Y]ou were always big on words. Admittedly, you recognised that at the time you yourself lack specific economic knowledge to tackle the crisis, but will rely on your all-star team instead. However, you should bear in mind that you were not elected to snow us with big words, but because you flat out promised to do a much better job than Janez Janša. Even more – you echoed people’s worries about the economy, while Janša refused to admit that there is a crisis approaching, and this too got you elected. What I am trying to say is, that you will have to deliver regardless of the crisis. You will not be able to feign ignorance four years from now and say “I didn’t know it was going to be that bad”. You knew, we all knew. Except Janša. But that’s why you’ll be the one answering during Q&A sessions of the Parliament.
PM Pahor during Monday’s Q&A session (source)
Monday last, after six months at the helm of his government, Borut Pahor took part in one of those Q&A sessions, where – among others – he talked about how the government is tackling the crisis (transcript, Slovenian only):
We find ourselves in a difficult position, but Slovenia is relatively successful in tackling the crisis. Success will be complete when the crisis is finally overcome and today I say to you that we shall overcome. We shall.
In the last six months at least 25,000 people lost their jobs. Companies are going bankrupt. The credit crisis hasn’t abated. GDP dropped as much as 4 percent in the first quarter and some projections say that it will dive even lower. State and municipal budgets are hardly worth the paper they’re printed on. Quality of life has fallen again, as people are cutting back even on the quality of bread they buy, to save money.
Without trying to sound too cynical – if this is success, one wonders what does failure look like?
At the same time, this government is wasting time by non-transparently appointing CEOs of state-owned companies, obviously as a result of political deals, and then – when shit hits the fan – removing them the very same way, and is bleeding much-needed credibility in the process. This is not just the case of Nova Ljubljanska Banka. The same thing occured when appointing a new CEO of Slovene Railways, ditto for appointing CEO of Hit Casions and will probably happen when naming a new CEO of Petrol – to name but a few examples.
Don’t get me wrong. Obivously no government – let alone this one – can work miracles. Things have been done. Or – at the very least – will be done, apparently rather soon. Today, the government will approve additional guarantees for DARS to continue constructing the highway system. The very same thing which added to overheating Slovene economy four years ago might now prevent it from dropping dead completely. Ministers for Development and Finance, Mitja Gaspari and Franci Križanič promised to introduce a scheme to back up banks lending to businesses by the end of the month.
But trying to placate the people by Churchillesque phrases will not work. The old fart knew exactly what to say and when to say it. For example, when British expeditionary forces (the bulk of British armed forces) were successfully evacuated at Dunkirk, people were thrilled, but instead of lulling them into a false sense of success, Winston told them that rather than a victory, Dunkirk was an epic defeat and that wars are not won by evacuations. So instead of idolising Churchill, Slovene PM would do well to imitate him and present the true state of Slovenian economy, its strong sides as well as its weak points. So that facts will be known and the government’s acts judged against them.
This government will not get us out of the crisis. Not by itself it will not. It must win cooperation, respect and trust both by businesses as well as employees. This is done by laying out bare facts as well as guaranteeing that suffering of those who will get the long end of the stick (businesses and employees alike) will not have been in vain. People must know that it will be worth it. Only than shall we – perhaps – overcome.
Thursday, May 21st, 2009