TWO FACTORS contributed to this week’s Coffeeshop. First, the editor asked for a ‘review of the year’ style offering so it could go with the rest of the year-ender content. Second Patroclos suffered another bout of non-performing brain syndrome, which made writing such a column very difficult.
Consequently, this week we will be re-printing some of the items that appeared over the last year in this space. Regulars may feel short-changed and have every right to complain about this copy-paste, cop-out, but they should see today’s shop as something like a music compilation, a kind of ‘Patroclos’ Greatest Hits and Misses of 2013’.
But first I would like to congratulate my greengrocer who might not be an economist, a political analyst or a barber but he still made the most accurate forecast for 2013. “The only certainty for 2013 is that we won’t go thirsty,” he said. How right he was. The dams were full at the start of the year, because the rainfall was out of the control of the comrade.
THEN: JANUARY 6, a couple of months before the presidential elections
THE COMRADE, of course, had a different view of his pathetic presidency. Last Sunday, speaking to a commie gathering in Larnaca, he said: “These five years, under very difficult circumstances, we were responsible, both in the Cyprus issue and domestic policy, for achievements of exceptional significance. If only everyone in this country could say the same thing… we worked in such a way so our children and grandchildren would be proud.”
NOW: No commentary necessary
THEN: MARCH 17, a day after the first Eurogroup decision on levy on all banks deposits
OUR EU partners did actually refer to this product of blackmail as a rescue package. This rescue package will drive away all international business from Kyproulla, drastically reduce our GDP and possibly trigger a run on the banks as soon they open on Tuesday.
Of course things would be 10 times worse without the package because the collapse of the banks would be a certainty, the haircut of bank deposits would be in the region of 70 per cent and the state would have no money to pay the poor public parasites.
But this is the option most of our political parties seem to prefer if yesterday’s statements by deputies were anything to go by. So there is the likelihood that when deputies are called to vote on the haircut bill today they will reject the trim thus paving the way for a number one.
Someone should inform them that it is not the Annan plan they will be voting for, because in this case heroic resistance would come at a very high price. The choice is not between change and keeping things as they are – it is between disaster and annihilation, which is a bit of no-brainer.
NOW: Deputies voted against the trim and a week later the Eurogroup gave us a number one
THEN: MARCH 24, after the legislature’s rejection of the first Eurogroup deal
THE RE-CREATION of the resistance hysteria of the 2004 referendum, when we heroically told the international community to go to hell and politicians were still boasting about it as recently as a month ago, lasted only a few days this time.
The TV pundits and politicians who were celebrating our deputies’ ‘resounding no’ to the Eurogroup’s proposal for a deposits levy last Tuesday have all gone silent. So have the deputies who had less than 48 hours to glory in their courageous act of resistance – or to be more precise stupidity packaged as resistance.
By Thursday evening, when news of the collapse of Laiki bank broke and it had become obvious that Mother Russia was not prepared to move her little finger to help poor, defenceless Kyproulla, Tuesday’s resistance heroes had lost their voice and will to fight for our dignity and pride.
By Friday they were all prepared to swallow their heroism and vote for the haircut of deposits, but it was too late. The haircut had been removed from the negotiating table by the Eurogroup, stunned by the universal criticism of its decision to support the bail-in of insured deposits. Hopefully our deputies will now have learnt to confine their acts of heroic resistance and bravery to the low-cost Cyprob.
NOW: That night the Eurogroup agreed not to resolve the BoC, but to make its survival as difficult as possible
THEN: MARCH 31, after the bail-in of BoC depositors was decided
TO CALM nerves, a joint news conference was held by finance minister Michalis Sarris and Central Bank Governor Panicos Demetriades, during which the latter explained why he would not resign. “I have no intention at such a difficult time to make matters worse for the country. I enjoy the confidence of the European Central Bank and I am proud of this.”
Enjoying the confidence of the ECB, the organisation imposing the measures that would destroy the country, is not something you make public. It is tantamount to sleeping with the enemy, a bit like the National Guard chief boasting that he enjoys the confidence of the Turkish occupation troops.
NOW: Demetriades as the loyal servant of the ECB, has done everything he can to make the survival of the BoC as difficult as possible
THE KRAUTS may have managed to make our banking sector smaller but did they punish the Russian oligarchs as they had planned? They may have punished those who had money in Laiki but those with allegedly dirty money in the other banks were not touched.
As for those who had money in the B of C they will now be shareholders as the uninsured depositors would receive shares in exchange for the money they would lose. Rather than penalising the Russian oligarchs, the clever Krauts made them shareholders in our biggest bank so they could launder their dirty money with fewer restrictions.
NOW: The BoC now has four Russians on its board including a former KGB officer as its vice-chairman
THEN: APRIL 7, the release of the results of the investigation into the banks
THE RELEASE of the findings of the Alvarez and Marsal (A&M) investigation into the causes of the banking crisis showed how the commies were offering protection to the banker, via their apparatchiks at the Central Bank.
While AKEL and the Central Bank Governor, Professor Panicos were claiming that an in-depth investigation would be carried out to establish who was to blame for the crisis in the banking sector, in the end, Laiki was not investigated properly at the request of the Central Bank, an admission made in the report by A & M.
So the investigation of the banking crisis, ordered by the AKEL apparatchik masquerading as an independent state official, Governor Panicos focused almost exclusively on the Bank of Cyprus, which was in a much better financial position than Laiki – it was not insolvent and it had not taken €9 billion in ELA.
NOW: The professor continues his dirty war on the BoC to this day
THEN: MAY12, after the approval of the memorandum
THE REAL stupidity was on show inside the legislature with AKEL and EDEK, the parties that refuse to grow up, voting against the memorandum. So did the bash-patriotic turtle lover Giorgos Perdikis who was devastated by the approval of the deal.
“Today’s ‘yes’ of the Cyprus House of Representatives constitutes the biggest defeat of the Cypriot people in their 8,000-year history,” said a distraught Perdikis, after the vote.
Diminutive DIKO defector Zacharias Koulias was on fire during the debate and issued the following warning: “If the memorandum and loan agreement are approved, which would mean ceding state sovereignty, the House would have no role and all deputies must resign.”
Koulias has not resigned and will carry on collecting his fat pay check every month despite serving in a House that has no role and therefore no work for him to do. Perdikis will also stay on, because the biggest defeat in our 8000-year history is no reason to sacrifice his big salary.
NOW: Both are still serving in the troika’s legislature
THEN: May 17, the return of the Cyprob
REJOICE, rejoice and hallelujah, the Cyprob is back. Everyone’s favourite problem has returned to our sun-kissed shores, putting the smile back on our politicians’ faces after some very difficult months, giving our freedom-fighters a reason to get out of bed in the morning and setting off the flow of the sexual juices of our journalists.
Existence was empty and meaningless in the last 12 months, the Cyprob had disappeared from our lives replaced by the all-destroying economic problems and the malicious presence of the troikans, compared to whom Big Bad Al is a cuddly teddy-bear.
The Eurogroup meetings, the troika, Delia and Dijsselbloem made us appreciate the benign nature of the Cyprob and its kindly protagonists that never punished our heroic defiance, public posturing, delaying tactics, legalistic hair-splitting and resounding ‘nos’ to everything like our nasty EU partners had done.
The Cyprob is the game we all love to play because we always win – we always achieve our objective of no deal – and that is the reason we want to keep playing.
NOW: Talks, supposed to start in early October, have still not kicked off because two sides cannot agree on a joint declaration
THEN: July 28, talk of splitting the Bank of Cyprus into two
AS IF IT were not bad enough that our country was partitioned, now we have to face the prospect of our biggest bank suffering the same tragic fate. Plans are afoot to partition our dear Bank of Cyprus, even though the brains behind the move have avoided use of the ‘P’ word, talking instead about a ‘splitting in two’.
There will be a B of C dealing with banking operations and a B of C asset management company that will be selling off the real estate of developers and other businesses that are unable to repay their loans. Thankfully, the partition will not lead to the creation of a pseudo-bank, but to two internationally recognised banks that will respect all uninsured depositors’ human right to be screwed by them.
However, we will be faced with the dilemma, eloquently posed by the sensitive poetess about Kyproulla’s division – which of the two banks we should love. The lender which charges 8 per cent interest or the asset manager that will sell our property for peanuts?’
NOW: No final decision has yet been taken, even though Panicos is partial to partition
THEN: September 8, natural gas euphoria
THE MEDIA seized the chance to report a rare, feel-good, positive story last week, making a big song and dance out of Noble Energy’s plan to start running a natural gas production test at the Aphrodite-2 well. Given the dearth of good news in the last year, media euphoria over the ‘flaring’ of the well, was inevitable. ‘Flaring’, or lighting up, the well gives clues regarding the content of the natural gas in the sea-bed. Hacks referred to this as the ‘lighting of the flame’ as if this were the Olympic Games. On Thursday morning several web-sites reported that that the ‘lighting of the flame’ had taken place, but by the afternoon it was reported that it had not and could need as long as a week. The start of the Noble games may have been postponed but the fun has already begun.
NOW: The results of the testing showed that there was much less natural gas in the well than Noble and Solon Kassinis had initially estimated
IN GREEK, the continuous plundering of an organisation or company is referred to as ‘to megalo fagopoti’ which translates as ‘the big feast’. The megalo fagopoti was brought up on a morning radio show on which the guest was a senior ranking official co-op official. Told that co-op bosses had indulged in a big feast just like the bankers had done, he replied that their fagopoti was much smaller. “Ours was just a kebab, by comparison,” he said, with a note of regret in his voice. So was the €10 million worth of unsecured loans granted to the family company of the head of the co-ops, Erotokritos Chlorakiotis just a kebab?
NOW: The kebab movement has been downsized, restructured and re-capitalised by the taxpayer to the tune of €1bn
Unfortunately we have run out of space without including all the major events of this tumultuous year, like the Cyta scandal, prez Nik’s joint declaration disappointments, Professor Panicos’ pathetic power games and Garoyian’s fall from disgrace but you can find comprehensive lists elsewhere in the paper.
Despite the earth-shattering changes we have experienced the values of greed, selfishness and stupidity that put us in the shit are as strong as ever. Mega-parasites Afxentis Afxentiou, Christdoulos Veniamin and Dina Akkelidou set a shining example by taking the state to court for stopping them receiving multiple state pensions (poor Afxentiou’s pension payments went down from eight to four grand a month). The Leicester loser asked for compensation of €1.6 million to betray the ECB’s trust and step down as governor, while state officials ended up begging the government not to take away their limos.
DO NOT miss next week’s issue in which the Coffeeshop’s team of fortune tellers, psychics and clairvoyants make their predictions for 2014. We have not seen their predictions yet, which is why we can wish you a Happy New Year, without a hint of irony.