Cyprus Mail
CM Regular Columnist

Spectacular gains and losses

By Hermes Solomon

LATE SPRING and a tranquil day dawns, the sun flaming orange, cossetted on a misty horizon. Pigeons are cooing to mate. Swallows are yet to sail as crows craw. Jacarandas are at their most colourfully wondrous.

What sheer beauty to behold an hour ahead of the impending bustle of traffic, barking dogs and banging building sites while radio news announcers interview politicians about the political cost of abstentions in last Sunday’s EP elections, when there was a 25 per cent fall in the number of votes cast compared to 2009, among the highest falls in the union.

But not a single politician interviewed highlighted the real reason behind this spectacular drop.

If one includes destroyed and blank voting papers, just over forty per cent of the potential 600,000 odd votes were cast, and most of those by coerced party faithful.

The majority no longer believe that Cyprus is a democracy, no longer see any possibility of a Cyprob solution, no longer trust Brussels to be other than Shylock-like money lenders who helped return islanders to what they were under colonial powers – slave workers paying interest on loans and high taxes to fatten their taskmaster’s treasury.

The election result made no change whatsoever in the division of power. Not only was this outcome predicted by the media, but encouraged by them by giving too much time to familiar faces and totally ignoring those independent candidates who stood seeking genuine change to the island’s political status quo.

Congratulations chumps! When you abstain from voting instead of voting for alternatives like anti-establishment Message of Hope candidate, Stelios Platis, or even ‘outrageous’ Outopos in the hope of sending a message, change is impossible.

Enjoy the outcome, chumps! Due to your indifference nothing has changed. The major parties got what they wanted; their seats and no competition.

We are a young nation lacking revolutionary precedents like France’s 1789 Revolution and Britain’s Cromwellian rout of royalty that bred the right into the individual to vote fearlessly according to their conscience and not simply follow party lines or apathetically abstain.

It is long past the time a proper challenge was mounted against our ‘self-elected’ elite here in Cyprus.

France’s Front National and Britain’s UKIP were among Eurosceptic parties to make spectacular gains in these elections.

Both parties topped the vote in their respective countries. I might not agree with their manifestoes but admire their determination to challenge the omnipotent self-elected mandarins in Brussels.

Anti-establishment EU parties also polled strongly in Denmark and Italy.

But this trend was bucked in Greece, where anti-austerity sentiment is thought to have driven radical-left party, Syriza to victory – now calling for a general election to oust the likes of Samaras and Venezelos, the ‘yes men’ of troika austerity and the instigators of Greece’s future eternal impoverishment.

Are we not in the same economic boat as Greece? Then where is our radical-left political party? AKEL can hardly be described as radical, and as for EDEK, the less said about them the better.

Official projections have put the centre-right EPP (European People’s Party) grouping ahead in the European Parliament, with 212 out of 751 seats.

But France’s Front National and UKIP Eurosceptic far-right parties have unexpectedly seized ground in the European parliament in what France’s PM called a “political earthquake”.

Their success means a greater say for those who want to cut back the EU’s powers, or abolish the EU completely. And only after these shock election results have EU mandarins begun to talk about finding ways to assuage mounting public discontent…talk I said and only talk!

They have yet to admit vulnerability and effect change, but that will come.

Although EP election turnout overall was slightly higher at 43.1 per cent (the first time the turnout had not fallen since the previous election) an improvement of 0.1 per cent is hardly worth mentioning were it not for the EPP’s obsession with their own self-inflated importance and eventual aim, which is one of total integration of all states, laws, taxes, customs and eventually, languages – a union of ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ clones.

Rather than stand up and be counted, our abstainers left the path clear for the major parties to elect familiar well-worn faces to the EP, making a farce of democratic elections.

This government and all political parties in Cyprus should now be aware that their ‘productive’ days are numbered. Brussels rules supreme.

Have not the past 54 years of gross misrule here already confirmed the impotence of our political system? Sixty per cent of the electorate now think so but refused to say so by voting.

Without their vote, hope for change is definitively denied.

The cost of maintaining Brussels works out at three euros per head of the population per annum. What is the cost of keeping our ‘puffed-up’ politicians – immeasurable, or certainly a lot more than three euros per head?

Surely it’s time their numbers were greatly reduced along with concomitant grossly excessive and biased media coverage.
The spectacular number of abstentions last Sunday confirmed the majority of the electorate’s utter contempt for our politicians – silence being the most perfect form of contempt – but due to abstentions the Message of Hope candidate polled a mere 3.83 per cent of the vote and Outopos, my chosen candidate, a miniscule 0.13 per cent.

Since writing this piece the sun is glowing golden, insects are rising on thermals and swallows are sailing, feasting and glorifying in the natural delight of absolute freedom, a priceless sensation we no longer indulge.

These EP elections have shown what an apathetic lot we’ve become, redolent of slaves below decks pulling on oars of ancient Greek triremes of a glory that was!

A Chinese proverb states that a picture is worth ten thousand words.

My thousand words have just painted a thousand pictures. Can you see any of them or are you as myopic as those contemptuous abstainers, who must be kicking themselves for having failed to at least vote for change?

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