I JUST love election campaigns because of their silliness and childishness. The latest campaign reminded us once again that our politicians are big kids, bickering, bragging, bullying and behaving badly like they were in the school playground without a teacher supervising them.
It is the anything-goes season as they try to persuade as many mugs as possible to vote for them and their parties. Then there are all the sad nobodies and a few somebodies who become candidates in order to make up the numbers on each party’s election ticket knowing the probability of being elected is lower than their winning the Nobel Prize for physics.
There is a heroic element in going into battle knowing you are certain to lose. There is also a big element of vanity as the campaign is an excuse for assorted fruitcakes to get their five minutes of fame, putting their face on billboards and websites and maybe, if they are lucky, appearing on one of those election shows on TV that nobody watches.
I mean what chance other than zero does a candidate standing for Solidarnosc in Larnaca, for EDEK in Limassol or for the Greens in Famagusta have of being elected? But this is irrelevant, because the candidates are obviously having fun and feeling important for a few weeks, which it would be wrong to mock, even though I have just done that. I can’t be right all the time because, if I were, I would be a party leader.
BIG KID Junior managed to grab the attention of the grown-ups with his attacks on the government, his public spat with Foreign Minister Kasoulides and his puerile attempts to frighten voters over the Commission’s proposal for the scrapping of visas for the Turks.
Like any spoilt rich kid, used to always getting his way (and his party leadership), Junior feels that he is entitled to act like the schoolyard bully intimidating whomever he chooses. If his victim has the nerve to hit back, he cannot take it, and becomes the wounded party seeking public sympathy.
His spat with Kasoulides, one of the most mild-mannered and level-headed of our politicians, betrayed all Junior’s spoilt brat qualities. Such was his anger you would have thought Kasoulides had stolen his sweets, but it was worse than that. Kasoulides had shown up his ignorance about the way the EU operated.
In addition to this, he had dismissed the rest of the criticism by stating what everyone with half a brain already knew – Junior did not want a settlement. This accusation shattered the school bully who said:
“In his new outburst, Mr Kasoulides attacked me with the false accusation that I ‘do not want a settlement’. I consider this statement an insult.” Of course he wants settlement, the type the Turks would never agree to.
LIKE ALL our politicians when they have no arguments, he resorted to moralising. The insulted Junior was saddened because “the foreign minister of our country insisted on dividing the people, splitting Greek Cypriots into those who ‘want’ and those who ‘do not want’ a settlement.”
He also self-righteously addressed a question to Prez Nik, asking him if he adopted the “divisive statements” of his foreign minister. The kid’s nerve defies belief. Junior, upholding his late father’s proud legacy, makes divisive statements every other day, still dividing the people, 12 years after the referendum, into Annan plan supporters and heroic ‘no’ voters.
Given the Papadop dynasty has divisiveness as its banner, I can only deduce that the real reason for Junior’s indignation was that Kasoulides had infringed on his family’s monopoly. Not that I am knocking divisiveness which in our country is more than welcome. It would be time to move abroad if we had a unity of the type Junior envisages.
YESTERDAY I was sent the following joke, which I suspect had been circulating on social media. What do Junior and Erdogan have in common? When you criticise them they take it as an insult. But to be fair, the spoilt rich kid does not close down newspapers or imprison journalists that insult him. He might do if he ever becomes president, but for now he responds to insults by accusing his detractors of being Turk-loving apologists of the occupation.
THE TROUBLE started after the jumped-up Junior attacked the government for not blocking (as if it could) the European Commission’s proposal for scrapping visas for Turks and accused it of being weak in its foreign policy – a dig at Kasoulides.
Before this, highlighting his childish brand of politics, he complained because the 72 criteria set by the Commission for the visa deal had not been discussed by the National Council at which Junior would probably have demanded that another 500 criteria were imposed.
The government’s failure to impose Junior’s diktats on the Commission meant there was “now a danger that 80 million Turkish nationals would move freely in Cyprus while we ourselves cannot move freely in our own country.” A bit of alarmism, always attracts the less intelligent voters that DIKO has always depended on.
But there is a positive side. Even if Junior was slightly exaggerating and only one tenth of the 80 million Turks came to Kyproulla once they did not require a visa, the tourism industry would be drowning in money.
THAT other spoilt self-made rich kid, Giorgos Lillikas also saw a danger from scrapping the visas, but he did not foresee all 80 million Turks coming to Kyproulla. His concern was whether Turkish nationals “would visit the free areas without needing a visa and staying here for three months”.
The question neither he nor Junior answered was why would millions of Turkish nationals want to visit the free areas and stay here for three months? Is it because they want to experience the traditional Greek Cypriot hospitality?
LILLIKAS also bragged about his moral superiority in front of the cameras before the submission of his party’s candidatures on Wednesday. He urged the voters to “overthrow the old party establishment of corruption and conflict of interest” by backing the Lillikas Alliance.
“With political ethics, clean hands and radical proposals we aim to reform the state,” he said. My friend Loucas Charalambous deals with the Paphite’s clean hands in another part of the paper. I am just wondering how a ruthless, scheming political opportunist like Lillikas could act as the custodian of political ethics. It must be because he has clean hands.
THE HEAD of the government doctors union Soteris Koumas showed an uncanny ability to turn the embarrassment of three of his members being detained in connection with taking backhanders from hospital patients, into an advantage. He told state radio yesterday that to eliminate the ‘fakellaki’ culture from state hospitals doctors should be given incentives. He did not spell it out, but he quite clearly meant higher pay. Greedy and corrupt doctors must be rewarded with better pay for exploiting patients who are at their mercy.
VLADIMIR Putin’s English language mouthpiece, Russia Insider, is continuing its noble efforts to undermine the peace talks. Ten days ago it published a report alleging that “the US is intensifying the pressure on Cyprus to accept a secret NATO plan to keep Turkish forces on the island.”
The website, quoting unnamed Cypriot political sources, claimed that US State Department official Victoria Nuland, who had met Prez Nik for talks a week earlier, visited Cyprus “to pre-empt any likelihood of future deepening in relations with Russia.” Another source told the Insider “Nuland will try to blackmail him (Nik).” Nuland also told Nik that Turkey should be given a military base in Cyprus, presumably after a settlement.
This week, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides was forced to issue a grudging denial after he had been asked about the report at his briefing. He said he had read the report, which did not “correspond to reality or to what had been discussed between the president and Mrs Nuland.”
I suspect this lukewarm denial was issued after a complaint to the government by the US embassy. Christodoulides used polite language in order not upset Ambassador of Mother Russia Stanislav Osadchiy, who monitors everything his loving subjects say.
HAS EDEK chief Dr Sizopoulos decided that EDEK will now play the role played by AKEL during the time of the Soviet Union? The Botox specialist signed a memorandum of co-operation with the Just Russia party, whose vice president Alexander Romanovich was here for the signing ceremony, presumably in the hope that it would help his struggling party in the elections.
But he must have a screw loose if he thinks anyone would vote for EDEK because it acts as Mother Russia’s local cheerleader and has signed a deal with a Russian party to prove its loyalty. He also repeated his three demands – Russia to be involved in “international aspects” of the Cyprob (it could help block progress), military facilities to be granted to Russia in Kyproulla and steps to be taken allowing Russian companies to administer our gas fields.
With Sizopoulos championing Moscow’s interests so zealously, voters are assured that a vote for EDEK is also a vote for Mother Russia.
I HAVE a question for the head honcho of the Phileleftheros media group. Which of his newspaper organs should someone that reads both Greek and English take seriously? Phil, which is stridently opposed to a settlement, has an editor-in-chief who recently wrote that he wanted the peace talks to fail, because “some of us do not want to become Turks.”
The Cyprus Weekly, on the other hand, seems desperate for the talks to yield results. The paper, which has a co-operation deal with a Turkish Cypriot paper, more recently had an editorial piece about the “pain of a non-settlement” urging a speedy agreement that would benefit the whole country. According to its sister paper, the Weekly staff must be some of those who want to become Turks. Which paper’s stand is endorsed by the proprietors?
THE FLAGSHIP of the group, Phil, also had an editorial to mark the anniversary of Kyproulla’s entry into the EU, which betrayed it delusions of grandeur. It wrote: “We believe that the benefits from the accession of Cyprus into the European Union were not only for our country. The Union also benefited, mainly because of the geographic strategic location our country is in. The Union will also benefit from the discoveries of natural gas in the Cypriot EEZ.”
I doubt many at the Commission share the paper’s view, especially given all the trouble we have caused Brussels since our entry. Even a simple procedure like the registration of halloumi as a Protected Designation of Origin we have managed to turn into problem that cannot be solved. EU bureaucrats must run for cover whenever they hear the word Cyprus.