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OpinionTales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Like Meatloaf, all our great leaders just want to be loved

By Patroclos

WE HAD hoped Prez Nik would have given a Fuhrer performance in his televised news conference on Friday evening, in which he carried out an appraisal of his four tumultuous months in office.

The sense of betrayal and disappointment we former supporters – who had wrongly believed that he would provide the strong leadership that Kyproulla desperately needs after five years of communist misrule – have been feeling in the last four months was reinforced on Friday evening with his concerto in populism in C Major.

From his opening address he showed that the main intention was to pander to people and boost his popularity ratings, just like his waste-man predecessor did. He went through all the money the government had spent on employment policies (that don’t work), boasted that he had hired more public sector workers (that we did not need) and spared teachers from the ordeal of having to teach one extra period a week.

He also repeatedly re-assured public parasites that there would be no more cuts to their wages, other than those agreed with the troika. This is a promise that will not be kept but the Prez was on a populist roll and would worry about the matter when it happened. On Friday night, telling people what they wanted to hear was the object of the exercise.

In the end, the Prez, like his predecessor, just wants to be loved and craves public approval. He appears to have delegated the strong leadership and tough decisions, needed by the country, to the troika.

 

THE DEEP yearning for the people’s love is what has prompted the Prez to hire the services of Stratos Fanaras, an image consultant from Greece. While the country heads from one crisis to the next, Nik’s priority is to improve his public image and the taxpayer is picking up the bill for this noble endeavour.

A couple of hundred grand might not worsen the economic situation, but following the advice of an image consultant, who is being paid for the sole purpose of making Nik more popular among the unthinking masses, could cause a major deterioration.

It just makes you wonder whether Nik, four months into his term, is already thinking about his re-election, something which should fill us all with fear and anxiety. Is this the time for the prez to be wasting his time discussing with Fanaras, what colour tie he should wear, what tone of speech to adopt in public and how his should be styled?

Kyproulla is in the mess it is in today because it never had a leader who was prepared to suffer the consequences of unpopularity for the good of the country. All our great leaders want to be loved, because their main concern is re-election. And Nik, I regret to say, like Meatloaf, “would do anything for love.”

 

FANARAS did a pretty good job, so far, as the prez was pretty impressive on TV striking the right tone at all times. He came across in control of proceedings and businesslike, not too self-regarding or arrogant, and ready to accept responsibility for what happened during his watch rather than pass the blame on others.

He was sharp, alert and focused, giving direct and brief answers. His answers were usually shorter than the questions, as most hacks made a three-minute statement before asking Nik their question, which sometimes had five parts. Impressively he replied to all parts of the question and also inaugurated a new pronunciation of the name of the ECB president Dranghi whom he referred to as Drakki.

While the form deserved 10 out of 10 – Fanaras earned his fat fee – the content would have trouble earning a two, at least from our neo-liberal, anti-union, anti-populist and anti-AKEL establishment.

 

THE VILLAGE idiot came out of his AKEL-imposed exile last Sunday to make a speech at the church memorial service for someone killed during the coup and like all political scoundrels, brought up his alleged concerns about the Cyprob which were directly linked to the current government’s bad handling of the economy.

He said: “Unfortunately, after everything that was agreed with the troika by the Anastasiades government and the difficult economic situation our country is in, the danger of an attempt to impose a bad settlement of the Cyprus issue has grown.”

The comrade has a nerve, but we though the government would have been smart enough not to respond to his worthless views. It was not, and on the direct instructions of the thin-skinned Nik, concerned about protecting his public image, the deputy spokesman issued a statement, suggesting that after all the harm he had caused the country, Tof should have kept quiet.

A fair point that was seen by the village idiot and his comrades as an attempt by the government to gag them, reminding us that nobody could silence heroic Akelites. “The fascist mentality of gagging must stop,” responded the self-righteous Tof, thus underlining his commitment to the Stalinist mentality of free speech.

 

HIS COMMITMENT to free speech was also displayed at a recent Central Committee meeting which wanted to give all comrade members a questionnaire evaluating comrade Tof’s presidency. And from what I hear, the questions were not of the type, ‘How do you rate the president’s management of the economy? a) good; b) very good c) excellent.’

The questionnaire gave the comrades a choice of negative answers, which did not go down well with Tof. Showing his support for free speech he proposed that the questionnaire was scrapped. His proposal was put to the vote and only 10 out of the 100 member of the Central Committee backed it.

The guy has fallen from favour even among his comrades, who until five months ago, worshiped the ground he pissed on. Now, the party command has even refused to give him an office in the AKEL building, claiming there was no space, offering him instead an office at the building of Pogo, the AKEL women’s organisation, where he would be safely out of the way.

Under the circumstances, comrade Tof must feel grateful to Nik’s government, for gracing his nonsense with an official response, at a time when not even Akel takes him seriously.

 

THE EXPLOITATION of the Mari disaster by the political parties hit its climax in the last week, after the court’s decision on Tuesday and the second anniversary of the explosion on Thursday.

The less said about the decision, which found the superannuated defence minister Costas Papacostas who loyally obeyed the president’s orders and three firemen guilty for the blast, the better. The foreign minister at the time Marcos Kyprianou was acquitted and can now return to politics.

I am sure he would be rewarded with a well-paid state post, as long as he takes an oath of allegiance to Nik’s co-president DIKO boss Garoyian, whose leadership is being challenged by Ethnarch Junior.

Prez Nik attended a service for the victims and announced the creation of a monument for the 13 victims at the spot of the explosion. It would be known as a ‘Monument of Accountability and Honour’, thus honouring the dead and chastising the comrade for his unaccountability and refusal to accept any responsibility for the blast.

Hopefully, his would be the first of many ‘monuments of accountability’ to be erected in Kyproulla, to remind us of all our politicians that shun accountability. The most imposing should be placed outside the legislature, which has played a big role in leading us to bankruptcy, without ever taking responsibility or apologising to us.

 

I JUST loved the explanation given by the former Governor of the Central Bank Ttooulis Ttoouli of Avgorou about the one million euro that found its way into a bank account of a company owned by his daughter, just a couple of months after he stepped down.

In an interview with Kathimerini last Sunday Ttooulis said that the money was for consultancy services for 10 years, paid in advance on the signing of the contract, between his daughter and the ship-owner Michalis Zolotas, a friend and associate of Laiki boss Andreas Vgenopoulos.

Apart from a banking expert – his daughter had set up a banking school which got a lot of business from the banks, while Ttooulis was governor – I am informed that Athena Ttoouli is also a renowned shipping expert, so in demand that ship-owners pay her 10 years’ consultancy fees in advance to secure her services.

With a smart guy like Ttooulis as her dad, Athena was bound to be successful and much sought-after shipping and banking consultant.

 

SPEAKING of Ttooulis, it is a mystery why most newspapers have avoided making much of a fuss about the one million euro case, which is being investigated by the AG’s office. While everyone is writing about the Cyta land scam and Dinos Michaelides’ extradition, Tttooulis has largely been ignored.

Only Politis that broke the story has been reporting the Tttooulis saga. Kathimerini which carried last Sunday’s interview with Mother Teresa, focused on the alleged, ulterior motives of Politis (differences with Ttooulis), for breaking the story, while failing to ask him – out of basic journalistic curiosity – why anyone in his right mind would pay 10 years’ of consultancy fees in advance.

 

SINCE THE change of leadership at DISY, the party issues loads of statements taking stands on the issues in the news.

On July 4, it issued a statement insisting that the state found a way to extradite Dinos Michaelides and his son. It was not fitting in an EU member state “in which we speak continuously of transparency, for there still to be legal obstacles that prevent the execution of European arrest warrants.”

On July 12, it issued a statement regarding the Cyta land scam, saying that DISY was “absolutely committed to the need for shedding light on any case that leaves shadows of corruption on public life.”

DISY, for reasons we do not know, did not express a similar, absolute commitment to the need for shedding light on the case of Ttooulis, which was also being investigated by the authorities. Perhaps Disy, in contrast to the AG, did not see this case leaving any shadows of corruption on public life nor the need to shed light on it.

 

WE HEAR that Prez Nik recently agreed to have a lunch appointment with former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat at Chateau Status. However, at the last minute he cancelled the lunch. Was this because co-governor Garoyian, a 24-carat bash-patriot, did not give his consent to it, or did Fanaras tell the prez that meeting with Turkish Cypriots would not be good for his public image?

 

AGRICULTURE minister Nicos Kouyialis scored another victory for Kyproulla last Sunday. He ordered the destruction of five tonnes of pseudo-watermelons that a Turkish Cypriot farmer tried to smuggle into the free areas through the buffer zone near Astromeritis. According to the Greek language daily, which reported the story, the pseudo-pattishes (as they are called in my village) were worth €1,700 and the smuggler was fined €400. Call me unpatriotic, but it was rather provocative of Kouyialis to order the destruction of the pattishes, when these could have been given to poor families.

 

THE COMMENTATOR of the Wimbledon men’s tennis final on LTV last Sunday kept referring to the eventual winner Andy Murray as ‘o Anglos’ (the Englishman). After using ‘o Anglos’ about 30 times, he decided to inform us that Murray was from Scotland, but he still carried on calling him ‘o Anglos’.

 

THIS WAS the first Coffeeshop in ages to avoid any mention of the Governor Panicos and Bank of Cyprus, even though there was stuff we could have written. If readers feel disappointed or cheated, please write to us and we will put things right next time, because like our prez, Patroclos also wants to be loved.

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