Courtesy Reuters

The Greek Impasse

AFTER a period of ministerial stability Greece once again finds herself in a phase of political uncertainty. From July 4, 1928, down to the present time, with the brief interval of Mr. Papanastasiou's eight days' Premiership in May of this year, Mr. Venizelos has been Prime Minister, thus beating all Greek records for length of service except that of Trikoupes in 1886-90 and his own in 1910-15. Supported by a huge majority, Mr. Venizelos was able to give the weary country a comparatively long experience of quiet but resolute government and to pass a series of measures, the enumeration and explanation of which fill an electoral pamphlet of two hundred and eighty-one pages.

But past achievements are in no country a secure basis for future electoral triumphs. English political history is full of examples of that fact. Everywhere, and not least in Greece, as St. Paul observed, the people want something new; everywhere governments long in power offend powerful interests; everywhere there is an uncertain mass of voters with no fixed political convictions but liable to be moved by vague hopes and past disillusionments. In the present case the character and methods of Mr. Venizelos increased this tendency. No Prime Minister of our time is less of a demagogue. The remark attributed to him by Emil Ludwig, that, having been elected by a large majority of the people, he insisted upon governing it, may be merely the suggestion of an historical novelist, but the fact remains that again and again this vigorous Cretan -- and the Cretans are the Scots of Greece -- refused point-blank to withdraw measures which he considered necessary and beneficial to the general welfare, simply because they would offend large sections of the electorate. Such independence on the part of governments is rare in democratic countries, where the tail usually wags the dog and a Prime Minister follows his followers. But Mr. Venizelos is of the oak, not of the willow; frangar non flectar is his motto, and less

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