In his pre-election campaign, Alexis Tsipras set some indelible red lines that his government could not and would not cross. There would be no increase in taxes, unfair laws would be abolished, benefits would be reinstated. The European Institutions insinuated that he shouldn’t promise more than he could deliver, but Tsipras was adamant. These were his uncompromising red lines and no one could bully him into changing them. He refused to do the math.
And then, Tsipras was elected, and the red lines started shifting around or disappearing altogether. The non-negotiable red lines...
became negotiable when reality set in, and the reality was that the numbers just didn’t add up for less taxes and more benefits.
The ENFIA property tax would have been the first thing to be abolished. Well, it remains intact for 2015 as one of the bailout concessions enforced by the European Council. That red line was crossed with one big leap.
Another example is that of the 13th salary which was to be reinstated to low income pensioners as soon as SYRIZA came to power. Instead, because of Greece’s European creditors vetoing the move, it was renamed. Pensioners would be given a ‘gift’ not a salary. In the end this too was axed because Tsipras cannot afford to play the role of Santa Claus yet, and Christmas is a long way off for Greeks to expect any presents.
There are very few red lines left to be crossed. One by one, the government has gone back on all its old promises that couldn’t be kept or on all its new promises that couldn’t be fulfilled. The red lines have shifted around so much that Tsipras is practically playing hopscotch with the ones that are left. Let’s hope he doesn’t trip over them and come crashing down.