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Opinion Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the coffeeshop: Pres Nik living the dream in Germany

PREZ NIK was beaming on Tuesday, unable to contain his boundless joy, when he stepped out of his limo to be warmly greeted by the waiting Chancellor Merkel at the start of his four-day official visit to Germany.

The hospitable Huns gave our Nik, wearing a big smile of accomplishment and pride, the full head of state, red carpet treatment. Lined up to greet him were a military band and three sets of white-gloved, armed guards, in different coloured uniforms.
To say he enjoyed the pomp and ceremony would be an understatement, but diplomatic etiquette prevents us from being more explicit about his feelings at being welcomed just like president Obama would have been had he visited Berlin.
The warmth of the welcome extended to him by Frau Merkel must have been an ego boost, emphatic proof of the friendly relationship he always said he had with the Chancellor. In some of the footage broadcast of their joint news conference they gave the impression of two young love-birds as they coyly smiled at each other. One photograph, taken during the welcoming embrace, gave the impression that they were about to kiss on the lips.
It was that kind of meeting. Angela looking genuinely pleased to welcome Nik to her pad and keen to show him that the bail-in of depositors and memorandum her finance minister imposed on poor Kyproulla should be forgotten and not allowed to ruin their long and beautiful friendship. Obviously Nik agreed.

SEEING how much Nik enjoyed his official visit to Germany, it became apparent that, like his predecessor, he would not be in a big rush to solve the Cyprob. Being a head of state, even of Kyproulla, is obviously something he would like to enjoy for as long as possible so why rush into a settlement that would bring all this enjoyment to a premature end.
He still has three-and-a-half years of his term to run, in which time he could look forward to more official visits, countless more trips abroad, more meetings with world statesmen, many more European Council meetings and of course being the numero uno citizen of Kyproulla, which counts for a lot to every politician.
So why would he agree to a settlement and deprive himself of having the best fun he is likely to have in his life? All his grown-up life, he probably dreamt of becoming prez and he is now living the dream. What is the likelihood that he would want to sign a piece of paper ending the dream one, two or three years before the wake-up call?
This was why he always said that it would take a long time to reach an agreement and gets angry whenever the mischievous Turks say that there could be a settlement within months. But as we are constantly reminded by our prez and his negotiator, a very big distance separates the two sides, which would need a long time – maybe a whole presidential term – to cover. He may have to disappoint his friend Angela, who, at their joint news conference said “we want this process to be quick, fast and soon lead to success.”

THE SAME scenario was evident during comrade Tof’s presidency. He had a big opportunity to get a deal when he came to power in 2008 because Mehemt Ali Talat was the pseudo-president and he was very keen on a settlement.
But the comrade was in no rush, wanting to enjoy his presidency for a few years before signing its demise. So when Talat suggested they should meet more often than once a week so they could make headway, the comrade pooh-poohed the idea claiming he had other important things to do – like bankrupting the state and blowing up the odd power station.
There was no deal by the 2010 pseudo-elections, which Talat lost, and, catastrophically for the Greek Cypriots, Tof was able to serve the remainder of his term without worrying there could be a presidency-terminating deal with the hard-line Dervis Eroglu representing the Turks.
Interestingly, Tof wasted most of his meetings with Talat negotiating some lunatic formula that would allow him to be elected president of the federal state, but no time was left to agree the less important issues like territory, property and the virgin birth.

THE LATE Ethnarch Tassos experienced this dilemma in its starkest form. He was expected to step down, just a year after realising his life-long ambition to become president and make way for a presidential council envisaged by the A-plan.
Only the naïve foreigners at the EU and the UN believed this was a possibility. But there was not a chance in a billion for Tassos, who was never a big supporter of a settlement, to sign the end of his presidency after spending a fortune to make his come true.
He did not bother to negotiate the plan and did not seek any improvements because he wanted it to be rejected. This way he was able to patriotically campaign against the plan rather than in favour of keeping his presidency, which may have been deemed a bit selfish.
But despite the evidence, the UN, the US and the EU continue to labour under the illusion that a Greek Cypriot president would give up his presidency, a year or two into his term, for a settlement. Not even Angela could persuade Nik to make such a sacrifice.

GOOD AND bad news for the comrades at AKEL. The bad news is that opinion polls are showing the party strength well below 20 per cent with a little over two weeks to go to the European elections. The good news is that comrade Tof has come out of retirement to help the party’s election campaign.
Things must be desperate for the commies to seek the help of the village idiot, whom everyone blames for the collapse of economy. He kicked off his contribution to the campaign with an interview to Tass new agency last weekend accusing the EU of “victimising” Kyproulla with the hair-cut, offering also an explanation for what happened.
“It is disappointing because in the whole of the Union the neo-liberal forces have prevailed and are taking revenge on the workers – especially after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the community of socialist states – putting all the burdens of the biggest economic crisis on the ordinary people.”

ON THURSDAY he attended an election gathering in Kolossi, urging people to vote for AKEL which was the “only hope of an exit from the deadlocks the Right had put the people in.”
The report in commie mouthpiece Haravghi, was under the headline ‘Some must say mea culpa to the people’, and featured a picture of the village idiot. I was naïve enough to think that this was a breakthrough as I assumed that the comrade had apologised for the pain and misery his incompetent presidency had caused people. I realised that I was completely wrong when I read the whole report.
Referring to the state of the economy, Tof said “those who, through their actions and annihilating opposition, caused the scorched earth in this country must say mea culpa to pensioners, wage-earners, of whom thousands are unemployed, teachers for destroying educational reform and small businesses for having to close down.”
He did not stop there. “Instead of engaging in populism they must say sorry to the young generation that is plagued by unemployment and an uncertain future.”
I am not going to make any unpleasant remark because I think the guy needs professional help and AKEL is being very cruel exploiting his illness for electoral gain.

COMMIE despair manifested itself in another way on Friday. The party sued Politis for libel, claiming the paper’s reports alleging the paper had received €1.5 million in funding from the Vgenopoulos-linked company Maritime Focus were false and had caused it “to lose party workers, members, supporters and voters.”
The range of compensation the party was seeking ranged from €500,000 to €2 million, which makes it a bit difficult to put a specific price on the head of every party worker, member, supporter and voter that left the party fold. Personally I do not think Akelites are worth more than €2 a head, so if 10,000 walked out the compensation should not be more than 20 grand. Claiming they are worth a minimum of €50 a head is daylight robbery, as at that price not even Lillikas’ party would buy them.
The judge would also have to consider that some people abandoned the party for other reasons – because Tof is no longer leader, party chief Andros is dim and dull, the party cannot engage in rusfeti now that it is not in power, Marxism-Leninism is no longer fashionable, being an Akelite is uncool and restricts your dating options.
I can’t wait for the show trial.

Time to get serious: Demetris Syllouris addressing the House plenum on Tuesday
Time to get serious: Demetris Syllouris addressing the House plenum on Tuesday

CHAIRMAN of the House ethics committee Demetris Syllouris carried on entertaining us all week with his daily appearances on the morning radio shows to inform us about his ludicrous lists, always repeating his catch-phrase, “I think, we need to get serious.”
But he seemed incapable of practising what he preached. Although his committee had decided not to release any lists and the serious Syllouris agreed, on Wednesday he released a list with names of people and companies that had supposedly transferred money out of the country during the bank lockdown.
The list turned out to be a total farce and Syllouris was made to look a complete fool as one company after the other issued statements explaining they were conducting normal business.
One letter, sent to Syllouris by Wellgoods Cypressa concluded thus: “It is clear that your whole behaviour is governed by the usual, modest, bunk criteria that you have all accustomed us to.”

I FEAR I am developing a perverse liking for the unlikeable Lillikas. The guy is such a crude, old school demagogue you cannot help but admire his phoniness. A few weeks ago his party was issuing fiery statements urging Syllouris’ committee to release all the lists of people who had transferred money out of Cyprus because they owed it the people. There should be no cover-ups, the Lillikas alliance banged on.
On Thursday, his party issued a statement castigating Syllouris for releasing the list of money transfers, saying it was wrong to do such a thing. I think Yiorkos is developing into cult political figure that deserves our respect.

MAYBE I missed something, but I still haven’t worked out what benefit we would glean from the government’s decision to raise €100 million from a private bond placement. I will leave aside the celebrations over being able to borrow money at 6.5 per cent interest.
What is more interesting is how the government would be using this money. It was said that the money would be deposited in commercial banks to provide them with much-needed liquidity. But the interest the government would collect would be, at most, three per cent which makes the whole exercise seem a bit stupid.
As Syllouris would say, “I think we need to get serious.”

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