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Opinion Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Tricky Nicky not looking so trustworthy

Tricky Nicky: the Republic of Cyprus shall go to the talks

TRICKY Nicky lost his nerve on Saturday. Faced with hysteria generated by the inbetweeners’ insistence about the participation of the Cyprus Republic in the multi-party conference he got the acting spokesman Viktoras to issue a written statement saying that without the presence of the Republic there would be no conference.

The hot-tempered Nik, according to our mole at the palace, flew into a rage when he was told about the written statement issued on Friday by Akinci spokesman Baris Burcu, which said that the procedure agreed for the Geneva talks envisaged meetings between Nik and Mustafa while on January 12 the three guarantor powers would join them for the five-party conference.

This was a bit embarrassing to Nik as he had been giving assurances that the Republic would be represented at the conference, while his spokesman Christodoulides claimed that the government was working on ensuring the participation of all five permanent members of the Security Council, as the inbetweeners and their mouthpiece Phil had been vociferously demanding in the last few days.

Nik was being economical with the truth in his efforts to keep everyone happy but Burcu’s statement exposed his game and in order to cover his first blunder he committed an even bigger one – setting the participation of the Republic as a condition for the holding of the multi-party conference, which the Turks will never agree to. How he will get out of this one, nobody knows.

THE TRUTH is that the Prez had agreed to a five-party conference at the December 1 dinner with Akinci and the bit at the end of the statement issued that night about “other relevant parties shall be invited as needed,” was referring to the EU, rather than the Republic or the five permanent members of the Security Council.

The Turkish side had agreed to the participation of the EU at the actual conference, not just as an observer, as it has maintained subsequently. But the idea that the Security Council members would also participate was not even discussed. The irony is that Nik, in private conversations, makes no secret of the fact that he does not want Russia at the conference, fearing it would throw a spanner in the works.

Of course, he would never dare mention this in public because he would be declared a national traitor. This is understandable, but claiming that he wants the members of the Security Council at the conference, in order to appease the inbetweeners, who will do anything to wreck the process and prevent a deal, is devoid of reason.

By going back on what he agreed to please the anti-settlement camp Nik is undermining any trustworthiness he had left. The thing is he is smart enough to know there is no way he could go for a deal and keep the inbetweeners happy as well. The two are mutually exclusive, but Nik seems incapable of accepting the blatantly obvious.

THE FIVE inbetweeners have organised themselves into an anti-settlement front and on Thursday issued a joint statement attacking Nik for going back on his promises and not ensuring the participation of the Republic at the conference as if this would make any difference to anything.
But it sounds good and their pressure has worked given that Nik on Saturday set his condition for the participation of the Republic at the conference, which, it must be said, has never been present in 40 years of Cyprob talks, which have always been conducted by the leaders of the two communities.

As for the demand for the participation of the Security Council members, it is a ruse to get Russia at the conference in the belief that she would scupper a deal. Why else would the inbetweeners want Russia, which in 40 years of Cytalks has not once made a practical contribution to the efforts to find a settlement? They want her there because her contribution has always been negative because it does not want a deal. The inbetweeners would demand the participation of North Korea at the conference if they believed this would prevent a deal.

A colossally stupid plan: closing half of Mak Ave
A colossally stupid plan: closing half of Mak Ave

I HAD no intention of turning up to vote in next Sunday’s municipal elections but after the decision of my old neighbour Nicosia mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis to close part of Makarios Avenue for the whole of December I was determined to go in order to vote for whoever was standing against him.

I would even have considered voting for an Akelite candidate to punish the otherwise likeable mayor (it is not his fault if he is Junior’s brother), for his colossally stupid plan which causes massive traffic jams on all the surrounding streets all day long. The traffic chaos is worse than last year when he introduced his scheme, as other roads in the centre have been closed or narrowed down because of the Eleftheria Square building work.

Like last year, the first section of Mak Ave has been closed down and turned into a funfair area on the grounds that it would attract people to the centre of town. As things are the only people it would attract are masochistic parents who like sitting in traffic jams listening to their kids moaning about ‘when are we going to get to the funfair, I am bored of sitting in the car’ and getting a repeat performance with a small change in the theme of the whingeing when leaving.
Once word gets around about the traffic jams, the mayor’s genius plan could backfire, driving even more people to the mall.

A SIX-MINUTE drive on Monday, just before lunch-time, took me half an hour and I was very late for an appointment, but I did not have the number of Yiorkadjis’ cell phone, to call and give him a taste of the spirit of badwill his genius plan for the town centre will cause drivers this festive season.

December will be hell for those of us who have to drive to and from work in the old town and for what? So there could be a funfair in the middle of one of the main roads leading out of town?

Surely he could have rented a part of the car park adjacent to Mak Ave and stuck as many stalls and rides as he liked there, or he could have used the moat as his predecessor had done.
The idea of a normally busy road being closed for a handful of people to make money while increasing the stress levels of thousands of drivers and putting them in a bad mood could only have been thought up by some sadistic killjoy on a power trip; someone intent on crushing the human spirit.

I know the mayor is not that kind of guy, so now, rather conspiratorially, I suspect that it was his little brother who came up with the idea after seeing opinion polls indicating that most people working in the old town supported a settlement.

LOCAL government election is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to the occupied municipalities which, in effect, have nothing to govern – they can’t even arrange the garbage collection, the main responsibility of local authorities, let alone close roads and cause traffic congestion.

Yet there are plenty of candidates for the posts of mayors of occupied villages. Morphou has five mayoral candidates, all of whom appeared on Saturday on a CyBC radio show to inform voters about nothing in particular, as they will have nothing to do as mayor, apart from organise an anti-occupation march once a year and deliver a resolution to embassies demanding the return of their village.

Being paid by the state for doing nothing is an extremely attractive proposition, which is why there are five candidates for the job of Morphou mayor. Who would say no to some 30-plus grand a year and state pension to do nothing other than chair a municipal council that meets every couple of months to do nothing?

I do not know the exact amount paid to the Morphou mayor, but the mayor of Famagusta collects a cool €42,000 a year and his municipal councilors about €550 a month. And there was me wondering why anyone would want to take part in the joke of the occupied municipalities and seek election as a Morphou mayor or councilor? Money for nothing is a great motivating factor.

MONEY for nothing, especially when you are talking about billions, does not work as the village idiot found out, according to his own admission in an interview shown by Greece’s Skai TV last week. In the interview, comrade Tof advertised the fact that labeling him a village idiot is a bit too flattering for him.

Having bankrupted the state and unwilling to take the measures the troika had demanded in exchange for a bailout, comrade Tof turned to Mother Russia and President Putin in 2012 to ask for a loan a loan of five to seven billion euro. A year earlier, Putin had loaned Kyproulla €2.5 billion. The main argument he used to persuade Putin to lend us another €7 billion, according to Tof’s own admission, went as follows:

“Give us this loan and I guarantee you for the next 50 years Cypriots would be blessing Russia, regardless of who would be president of the Republic.” Believing a foreign country would lend you €7bn because your people would be grateful (they would not be when taxes were increased to repay the loan) for 50 years is not just stupid it is brainless. Even a village idiot would know that.

Money for nothing: the village idiot
Money for nothing: the village idiot

THE SHOW of brainlessness did not end there. Tof also revealed in the interview that he had told Putin that his government, which “had struggled for workers’ rights, would be forced to take measures that went in the opposite direction and I would never want that to happen.”
He actually thought (assuming he was capable of basic thinking) that Putin would be moved by the idea that he would protect Cypriot workers’ rights when the idea of workers’ rights is unheard of in Russia and part with €7 billion for this purpose? Perhaps he should have also told Putin that Cypriots would be blessing Mother Russia for 100 years instead of just 50.

The old villager charm that so completely fooled Miltiades Neophytou was never going to work on a wily old fox like Putin, who knew that guys with Tof’s brain-power swept the streets in Moscow.

NOTHING illustrates the tendency of many of us Cypriots to treat our offspring as children even after they are deep into adulthood than the case of the parents that sued the Bishop of Limassol, Machaeras monastery and the Archbishop for supposedly proselytising their son, when he was 28, and subsequently forcing him to become a monk.

The monk, who had many university degrees including a PhD, is now 44 and seems to be enjoying the ascetic life even though his mother has told the court that Limassol Bishop Athanasios had done something to her boy’s brain and turned him into some kind of automaton without a will of his own.

While you can understand parents feeling big disappointment that their highly-educated son chose to be a monk rather than become something more useful, like a lawyer, an accountant or civil servant, going to court and seeking compensation of €2 million because their intelligent, adult son exercised his free will seems a bit insane, to put it mildly.

The only ones who will gain from this pathetically ludicrous civil case are inevitably the lawyers.

AFTER the success of the Boris Johnson limerick competition, I decided to write one for the Nicosia mayor which goes like this:

Nicosia had a mayor called Yiorkadjis, He loved to breakfast on onion bhadjees, But he made his town’s roads a mess, Causing drivers indescribable stress, Making them all feel like a pitta tis sadjis*.

This week’s limerick competition is on comrade Tof. Bottle of wine for the winner who will be announced next Sunday.

*Pitta tis sadjis – traditional Cypriot pastry.

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