Richard North, 17/07/2004  

What is it about politicians of all countries and all nationalities that makes them say things that sound good but are completely incoherent? One cannot say there is something in the water because, presumably, they all drink water from different sources.
As expected, Pedro Santana Lopes, the Mayor of Lisbon and a man of no senior political experience, was sworn in as Portugal’s Prime Minister, the leader of its conservative coalition. He announced that he intends to lead the government through the next two mandated years. He then went on to speak for 25 minutes (rather a long acceptance speech on the whole) and said, among other things:
"I am not here to work for the powerful. I am here to work for those in need. For us, development is only economic if it aims to become social."
Oh good. And there I was thinking that an elected government in a democracy is a political institution, whose aim is to govern the country in the best interests of that country and its people. Apparently, in some democracies it is actually a charity, whose sole aim is to help the needy, however that may be defined.
Though, on top of looking after the needy, the new Prime Minister will also pay special attention “to budget consolidation, investment, national security and European matters.” Covers it all, I suppose, but how is he going to pay special attention to investment?

Not to be outdone in the waffle stakes, President Sampaio, who had rejected the calls from the left-wing socialists (confusingly the right wing conservative party is called Social-Democrat) for an election, approved what Lopes said, adding that: “he would closely watch the new government's decisions in the key areas of foreign affairs, defence, the economy and justice.”

Is it something in the water?

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