I HAVE TO admit that I almost felt sorry for Nikolas 2018 last week, after hearing his pathetic move to buy the votes of those boring ball-busting bank bondholders. This was just an act of desperation, a last-ditch attempt to ensure that Junior will make it to the second Sunday run-off and avoid the embarrassment of being edged out by an Akel-backed no-hoper, like Malas.
After all the money spent on communications experts, vote analysts, speechwriters, campaign advertising and donations to charities (not to mention the backing of four parties and the loyal support of several news media), it would be a colossal blunder for Nikolas to fail to make it to the second round. He really can’t do any worse than losing to a personality-free, dial-up candidate, running with the major handicap of Akel backing.
Even a young man with the arrogance, self-belief, superiority complex, trust fund and maternal support of Nikolas might not be able to survive the mega-humiliation of getting fewer votes than Stavros Malas, after his no-expenses-spared campaign.
If he finishes third, he may regret spending all those millions on an unsuccessful campaign, instead of contributing it directly towards the compensation of the bank bondholders, whose financial welfare he genuinely cares so much about.
FOR NOW, however, he has promised to compensate the bondholders with the taxpayer’s dosh, if he is elected. He announced that the first victims of the haircut that would be compensated by his presidency would the bondholders of whom there are close to 3,000.
Junior’s first act would be to pay 100 grand to each bank bondholder, before compensating bank depositors, the logic being that the latter got to keep 100 grand, insured deposits, during the haircut. There is also the logic that the bondholders were more organised and represented more votes than depositors, but that did not enter his thinking.
The president of the bondholders, Fivos Mavrovouniotis, intended to stand in the presidential elections, but after Junior’s promise of the pay-off, he changed plan. He called a gathering of his members on Wednesday and they agreed to back the candidacy of Junior who had been trying for months to persuade them to back him.
The promise of a hundred grand per person did the trick. These bondholders do not sell their vote cheaply. I would be happy to vote for Junior for just 20 grand, but I would like it up front.
THE LATEST opinion polls have given Nikolas 2018 a lot to worry about. Two weeks ago, a Noverna poll conducted for Politis, showed him in third place for the first time, overtaken by Malas by 4 percentage points. Polls he commissioned probably gave the same forecasts, which is why he promised to pay off the ball-busting bondholders, if elected.
A poll presented by Rik on Thursday night gave him the exact same share of the vote as Malas in the first round, 15 per cent, which was relatively good news as it suggested he was back in the game. When you consider that he has been campaigning for almost a year and Akel’s favourite loser entered the race only a few months ago, with a tiny fraction of the campaign funds Junior has at his disposal, being level is spectacular failure; and Nik was on 30 per cent.
Perhaps Junior, who enjoys the fanatical support of our biggest daily Phil and of Sigma TV, because of his patriotic stand on the Cyprob, should cut down on his daily appearances on the morning radio shows, which seem to be losing him, instead of winning, support. If he completely stopped talking publicly, I bet he will comfortably beat Malas.
LOYAL supporter Phil, found a positive spin to put on these disappointing results in its Friday report about the Rik poll. “Upward trend for all three main candidates, without any change in the derby, which break hearts, over who will go through to the second round, the Rik poll showed,” it reported.
Phil found another positive to cheer up Junior. “On winning prospects, Anastasiades is ahead by a big margin from his rivals, but a bigger gap from Malas and a smaller gap from Papadopoulos.” Get the champagne out, because if Junior makes it through he will lose to Nik by a smaller margin than Malas.
THE PAPER also carried a weird story saying that a group of teachers reported former Diko deputy and currently party dikident Athina Kyriakidou to Odysseas, because of “inappropriate behaviour” and “mainly for her posts on Facebook.”
Odysseas said it was not in his remit to investigate, but gave the complaint to his unofficial mouthpiece Phil that was happy to expose her disloyalty to the sainted Junior. Her sin, according to the group of teachers, was that she accused Junior of representing the extreme right rather than the political centre and this was why many Dikheads were defecting to the Prez’s camp. She also had ‘Likes’ on social media posts that were critical of Junior.
As a member of the Education Service Commission, Kyriakidou was not allowed to express political views because she had an obligation to be impartial, the extreme right group of teachers claimed, a view fully endorsed by the loyal Phil’s report which could not conceal its disgust at her treachery.
Kyriakidou, was disingenuous to claim Dikheads were leaving Diko because it became extreme right. They were joining the Nik camp because this increased their chances of getting something from the spoils of power, just as the ideologue of the centre Kyriakidou herself had done, and ended up with a highly-paid sinecure on the Commission.
THE CAMPAIGN is not going well for Paphos’ principled opportunist Yiorkos Lillikas, either. Leading members of his party defected a few months ago and announced their backing for Junior, without being promised any compensation or reward, which shows not everyone embraces bondholder principles.
A little over a week ago, in an attempt stop his slide in polls, Lillikas unveiled his vision to build a better country. “The vision will be implemented through a radical and innovative approach that we call smart Cyprus,” he said and presented his 25 smart proposals, many of which were inspired by the Christofias school of economic thought.
They included haircut of loans, compensation of haircut victims and bondholders, setting of minimum wage, raising low pensions above the minimum guaranteed income, heating and insulation allowances to those living in the mountains, no cuts to pensions for early retirement, offering of state land to farmers and refugees, reducing fuel tax for those living in remote areas and incremental child allowance.
‘Smart Kyproulla’ will have to wait because in the Rik poll the smart Paphite was bottom of the six party-backed candidates with a meagre 2 per cent. The Elam candidate got 4 per cent. At this rate, Lillikas will not have enough supporters to offer Prez Nik in exchange for a ministry, even if his next vision is to build a fun-loving country called sexy Kyproulla.
MORAL avenger, sleaze-buster, paragon of virtue and auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides displayed his unguided missile nature, after Politis published some of the emails he exchanged with the Russian prosecutor-general’s local representative, state attorney Eleni Loizidou, over the Panayiotis Neocleous case, which she was handling and in which he felt duty-bound to hide his nose.
Thousands of Loizidou’s emails were posted on a Russian website, after her account had been hacked. Politis used a couple to show that Odysseas was in consultation with her about the writing of an opinion on an issue his office was directly involved in, implying conflict of interest and exceeding his authority in issuing orders to the legal service.
Regardless of whether the charges were accurate or not, his deranged reaction was what you would expect from some crazy maniac, not a man with his undisputed, moral superiority. In response to the newspaper report, the holier-than-thou Odysseas issued a hysterical, long-winded statement saying that he submitted a complaint in writing to the Chief of Police asking the police to investigate the possibility that a criminal offence had been committed.
His announcement also offered a legal lesson to the cops on how the newspaper’s report constituted a criminal offence, which he noted carried a five-year prison sentence. Politis had used personal communication that had been stolen, which was a criminal offence, declared the insufferably self-righteous auditor-general.
Odysseas loves the sacred cow status he has been given by the public, but he should resist reacting like a mad cow when someone dares to question his sacredness.
BEFORE the newspaper’s report and his ensuing official announcement, Odysseas used his Facebook page for a vitriolic outburst against Politis for a story attacking AG Costas Clerides, saying, “One wonders how much lower Politis can sink?”
He added: “For two years now, it produces bile and vinegar in emetic reports against me, then threw mud at two excellent former employees of the service and has now started a pre-emptive war against a new official of the service. This is an excellent colleague who, presumably, dealt a blow with an investigation to some private interests that found a platform in a newspaper that specialises in throwing mud. You are honoured colleagues that you are accused by Politis. If it praised you, you should have worried.”
Vicious posts like this against Politis are a regular feature on the independent state official’s Facebook page and Twitter. This may explain why he refused to investigate the complaints against Athena Kyriakidou. It would have been rather hypocritical, investigating the mild comments of Kyriakidou when he was capable of much greater nastiness and bias.
IT WAS not only Politis that felt the full force of Odysseas’ self-righteous indignation. A few days earlier, he issued another self-righteous statement blasting the Journalists Ethics Committee, an independent body that examines complaints against the media, for daring to take a stand he disagreed with.
After the Loizidou emails had been made public, the Committee had said that these could be published, if it was in the public interest, a perfectly sensible view, also expressed by the Personal Data Commissioner. Odysseas could not tolerate such a heretical view and issued another long-winded, condescending statement to put the Committee in its place.
“The Committee of Journalists Ethics, which is supposed to be the custodian of the principles of moral ethics for the fourth estate, decided that if journalists have no other way to secure information, they can steal it and report the content of private communications, because they (the journalists!!!) will decide that the public interest is exclusively served.”
This intro was followed by a long diatribe on how the constitution and the law forbade the publication of private communications. Odysseas has now decided to anoint himself a Supreme Court Judge, denying hacks the freedom to decide what is in the public interest to report. From now on, they will have to ask for approval from Odysseas, the only man with the moral authority to decide what is in the public interest to report.
Apologies for those expecting a Coffeeshop inspired by the Christmas spirit today, as we let them down. We had sent a letter asking the auditor-general whether it would be in the public interest to write a column revealing the personal data of Santa Claus, but did not receive a reply. Merry Christmas from the Coffeeshop Grinch anyway.
And do not forget to follow Patroclos @Coffeeshop1991on Twitter.