R. Urbonaitė. Politics marked N-18

Rima Urbonaitė
DELFI / Domantas Pipas

You want transparency, but criticise the publication of the Chief Official Ethics Commission (VTEK) members’ discussion recording. Double standards. Hold on, this is your double standards because the cabinet’s discussion recording was erased, but the VTEK recording, which was made illegally, can be released just fine. And you, in the Ministry of Healthcare, when a scandal arose over potential seeking to abuse influence in order to fire an employee, you also did not oppose the release of an illegally made recording. Here’s your double standards. And your Gabrielius Landsbergis has problems. Gabrielius Landsbergis does not have problems, you do. The questions must be answered, as should questions about Ramūnas Karbauskis‘ businesses. Questions about Gabrielius Landsbergis as well and it would also be interesting to see the Queen Morta School’s contracts with legal entities. This is a brief summary of two politicians’ talk, Rima Urbonaitė writes on lrt.lt.

This is no longer a struggle over positions. It is not even a discussion on differences of value or points of view. It is simply bickering and seeking to appear more amusing, more appealing, all without considering what is being said.

When you hear about the desire to see the business contracts of the spouse of a political opponent, all circuit breakers are knocked out. You can make various evaluations, something may appear unseemly, but bandying such desires is nearing a dangerous red line.

And there is no lack of such red lines. Politicians’ desire to help is declared, but their actions show a desire to control and to demonstrate power. When members of the Culture Committee organise interrogations over the firing of the national broadcaster’s staff, it becomes hard to even understand, what the point is. Why is the fact that several staff were fired for the consumption of alcohol made incredibly important for the entire investigation and it is even questioned, how many such employees there were and what their positions were? During the whole meeting, there was no review of serious core problems. Some have forgotten that they are being filmed and are demonstrating a tone and gestures that you cannot help but be shocked. And this is people of more than just one party.

Thus the decision to make public all Seimas committee meeting recordings is truly laudable. More can be seen than politicians would like to show. You may say that this is nothing new. But this is exactly the problem – it does not faze us anymore. If you always watch N-18 (rated adults only) movies all the time, after a while it will become norm. But this should not be the case with politics and politicians should not be the cast of a reality show that aims to shock.

Absurdities abound on all sides in recent days. However, if everyone were to just adhere to elementary principles of publicity and transparency, if they understood political processes better, what we have seen in recent days would not even have occurred. With scandals roaring for a number of weeks now, we only hear now from one cabinet minister that he is in favour of releasing the recording and that it does not contain anything over which there is so much speculation nowadays. And this knocks out the circuit breakers again. Why create premises for all those speculations and interpretations then? In essence, the minister allows forming the impression that the prime minister or his entourage are completely clueless.

But it appears that this is a consequence of politics without content, where the focus is on politicians’ scrupulously created images and duels, rather than ideas.

By the way, the narcissism of certain opposition leaders has reached such a level that they can’t even conceal their smugness when making some witty remark on the Seimas tribune.

The opposition must question, must control. But now is a testing period for the opposition as well, it is just unclear whether it hasn’t forgotten it. The budget is being deliberated on. And it is from the opposition that pointing out flaws and proposing alternatives is expected. But if the opposition thinks that it must not aid the competing majority, it should not forget that flaws in the budget will not only harm the majority’s reputation, it will also cost much more to the state. Thus, much more than loud rhetoric is expected from them. Constructive criticism is expected as well. It would also be good if they participated more actively in the cabinet hour.

Thus, it is clear that we are moving to a reality show that should not be viewed by children because they will refuse to ever vote or the mark should be added, “Behaviour demonstrated here harms the country’s health”. Even fundamental questions of the freedoms of speech and press are becoming a blanket in a tug of war, not thinking about the consequences. The questions themselves, same as answers to them, are left somewhere in the margins.

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