A Problem of Vision
In recent weeks we have clearly experienced what can happen when the country has no credible and understandable plan for the future, defined goals where it wants to be in 10 years and defined activities to achieve them. Sooner or later people will tell their part of story, on the street with "strong” and “fiery” arguments
To be frank Slovenia, we made quite a lot of progress in the last month. We finally adopted pension reform which will be implemented on 1 January 2013. The reform was passed without even one vote against it, opposition MPs surprisingly congratulating the Minister for Social Affairs that he was able to make a compromise with the unions and that this legislation will not be challenged at a referendum. This was almost science fiction considering all the irrational political disputes in the past. Another positive development was the passing of the budgets for 2013 and 2014 that will lower the deficit below the 3% Maastricht line and ensure additional funds for education and social security. If the story of the past month would finish here we could carelessly start with New Year celebrations. But the story in Slovenia, as usual, goes on.
We have obviously successfully adopted the system of "one step forward, two steps back". Instead of upgrading the first step toward ending the general crisis in society, politicians proceeded with their destructive logic. Firstly, they intentionally or non-intentionally (which is even worse) misunderstood the message of the civil uprising in Slovenian towns. They obviously think that the ongoing protests in Maribor, Ljubljana, Celje, Jesenice, Kranj and Koper are confined to local unrest against the corrupt mayors who have adapted their style of governance to "wild west" standards. They forget that those local sheriffs were elected by the blessing of all the political parties in Slovenia. They gave them only after protesters threw granite blocks in the direction of their heads. Another rotten thing in our politicians minds is that every event, scene, happening they want to use for their own interests and not look for solutions that would benefit the whole society. On top of that they desperately try to discredit opponents and put all the blame for some deviant actions on them. Emerging public discussion about the possibility that violent riots were paid for from one or other political party is further proof.
We, as a society, forget that times were much tougher in the early 90´s after declaring independence. We were alone, not recognised, with a weak economy, hyperinflation, no foreign exchange reserves, miserable wages... But we had a vision. A vision to get out from the misery of the disintegrating Yugoslav state, to become a member of the EU. In the following years we all - trade unions, politicians, companies gave up many things to achieve this goal. After we crossed the finish line we became smug, invincible, thinking that Europe will take care of us. And this applies to everyone, the general population which forgot that the economy goes down and not just up, trade unions, politicians, managers. We all forgot that we are a community, not just individuals. Maximising our own interests through all possible means will just not bring new development. Uniting on the streets against corruptive political elite is from this perspective maybe the first step toward a new Slovenia with new and more capable leaders with a clear vision.