Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

A lot to lose

Ralitsa Kovacheva, May 1, 2010

When does the society understand that it has made a wrong choice and how long does it bare the consequences afterwords? This is what I ask myself more and more often. Do you?

Was it wrong GERB (the ruling party in Bulgaria) to win the elections last year? Of course not, because we all are unanimous at least on the issue how harmful the previous government was.

Was it wrong almost half of the Bulgarians to believe in GERB, given the fact that they knew only two people from this party - Boyko Borissov and Tsvetan Tsvetanov? Also not. Bulgarians vote for a change for 20 years now and more.

Was it wrong all of us, no matter whom we voted for, to give credit of confidence to the new government just because it appeared that it won't be worse than the previous one? And not because we all wanted to start anew.

Was it wrong to clear the mess of the previous government and the guilty for the mess and for the turning of the state into a hostage of shadowy interests to face justice? For God's sake no, on the contrary!

And here my arguments in support of the choice of the society start depleting. Because soon the new majority will blow out its first candle but still it is working on credit. Is it time that we assess our choice as a wrong one?

If yes, we have to decide - number one: the choice was good. Fighting organised crime is boiling and active, former ministers are being investigated, in Europe people are no longer afraid only by the mentioning of the name of Bulgaria. Only if it is not for the crisis ... Maybe the new government had no luck, coming into power in the peak of the crisis, especially after inheriting an empty Treasury. The prime minister himself often says that he had not the slightest idea about the scale of the disaster. But had he had it would he still run for the premiership? Or maybe they would have promised less?

And if we decide that our choice was wrong - what can we say to justify it: "Yes, but it sounded so nice ..." Or "there was no alternative"? And can this justify it, given that a choice always has at least two opportunities? According to the cliches the truth must be somewhere in the middle of the past first year of the term when euphoria of power must have settled down and reason to have taken the lead.

The first indications for this must have appeared in the end of last year when the budget was being approved. It is now obvious that it has not happened. And even before that we should have noticed that when someone would say A than B must follow and not z or nothing. The strategy of drowning people in spells lead only to a full paralysis of any critical thought, starting with the ministers, the media and finally reaching every citizen who watches the news every evening with the rakya and the salad (traditional Bulgarian prelude to dinner).

If there was silence maybe we would have been able to hear not only our questions but the answers too and not after the model of Stanishev, who just never responded to important questions. And now we would have not been that surprised of the many things which were obvious even months ago, they were even said but drowned in an uproar of political talking.

Maybe still there is time, before we decide that we have made the wrong choice. Confidence however is running low. So it is time the ruling majority to stop working on a credit and begin paying its debt to voters.

They can do this by first stopping with shilly-shallying like: we are adopting anti crisis measures but because they will not work, let us raise the VAT rate. An honest admission would be to say "the budget failed, we must increase VAT but we will cut spending with X and Y", but this must have been done months ago because it would have saved a lot of pain for the government and a lot of embarrassment for the society. We are all aware what is going on in Europe and it is clear that Bulgaria cannot exit the crisis dry, especially with this "heavy legacy".

But we should not be hypnotized like Kashpirovski from the TV screen that something is good and 24 hours later - that it is not. Especially after the previous government used to put us asleep, saying the crisis is only for capitalists, the new government, the different one, should not assure us that we are fine against the background of the Europeans. We are not fine. And them lying to us does not make us feel better. Neither the government is at ease because the numbers are like a hedgehog in the pants - sooner or later it comes out. And if until now it was possible the previous government to be guilty for all sins, in a year from now who will be to blame? In the worst scenario the things will be so bad that no one will even care who is to blame.

Do we have to go that far? And who wins if in the end of the day we decide that we made it all wrong? And even if we cannot stand it any longer, what choice do we have? Greece will be saved, Portugal and Spain too if necessary, but Europe will never be the same afterwords. What does Bulgaria rely on, since it is not even a member of the eurozone? No one will help a country that can't take a responsibility for its own choices. Citizens must remember this very well when they listen what the government is saying. And the government must also remember this when it is trying to deceive citizens.

Because if we admit we made the wrong choice, we all lose. I have a lot to lose. How about you?