Cyprus Mail
OpinionTales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Tis the season for some folly

We would always choose Bad Santa over It’s a Wonderful Life for our Christmas TV viewing.

IN ITS 25 years of existence, I do not recall the Coffeeshop ever being open on Christmas Day, but there is always a first time. This, it has to be said, poses some existential dilemmas, as it is the one day of the year during which, even non-believers feel an obligation to embrace the Christmas spirit and show good will to all men.

Regulars will know our disreputable establishment has built its bad name by doing the exact opposite. It would be a bit difficult all of a sudden, for a one-off, to write heart-warming stories, praising kind and selfless deeds by wonderful human beings, considering we would always choose Bad Santa over It’s a Wonderful Life for our Christmas TV viewing.

After a few minutes’ debate it was decided that we would not go in the exact opposite direction, as this could cause lasting damage to our establishment’s reputation, but, as a concession to the day, we would refrain from writing horrible things about people just for today. We will endeavour to be generous even to Junior and the village idiot just for today.

Normal nastiness will resume next year.

MOST people stop believing in Father Christmas when they’re seven or eight, wrote a website commentator not so long ago, referring to the Cyprob demands of our rejectionist inbetweeners.

Junior, Lillikas, Dr Eleni, Perdikis and Dr Sizo, to their credit, have all retained their childlike innocence, still believing that Father Christmas will one Christmas Day deliver the north of Cyprus to them without any Turkish troops and all Greek Cypriot properties refurbished and empty, waiting for their rightful owners to move back into them.

For now, they are doing everything they can to see off the danger of the unfair and unjust settlement that would dissolve the Cyprus Republic and allow the Turkish Cypriots to share power, because they know one Christmas day of the future, they will find a liberated Kyrenia, Morphou, Varosha, gift-wrapped, under their Christmas tree.

They are too smart to call this the Father Christmas strategy so they refer to it as the Dountas Dogma. It is named after the late Greek ambassador Michalis Dountas who had thought it up in 1987 – its 30th anniversary will be celebrated next year. His Dogma, in a nutshell was that the Greek Cypriots should not sign a settlement, because it will favour Turkey and should wait until international conditions changed in their favour.

Thirty years later this has not yet happened, but as long as we keep believing in Father Christmas it will one day.

TO UNDERLINE their faith in the Father Christmas dogma, the inbetweeners have joined forces in order to fight the dastardly plot of Prez Nik to strike a deal with the evil Turk. In a show of strength, the parties on Tuesday jointly organised a seminar which was addressed by their respective leaders.

All were present on the podium, except Yiorkos Lillikas who sent a flunkey to read his speech, because he was at home writing his letter to Santa Claus, asking him to liberate Kyproulla soon. Guest of honour was the ambassador of Mother Russia, Stanislav Osadchiy,

He had to be present to lend his moral support to the prophets of doom and show them that Mother Russia was fully on their side, in the heroic struggle to prevent a settlement.

According to Simerini, which has replaced Phil as the cheerleader-in-chief of Mother Russia, the ambassador “received rapturous applause from the meeting.” Osadchiy, according to one attendee, looked like a benevolent headmaster, brimming with pride listening to his zealously anti-settlement students on the podium.

Yesterday’s Politis reported, however, that Prez Nik had sought an explanation from Osadchiy for attending a meeting that mercilessly attacked the president; he had also been summoned to the foreign ministry about the matter. The excuse he reportedly offered for attending the seminar was that he thought there would be a serious and scientific discussion about the Cyprob.

Turns out the meddling Stan has a sense of humour as well. With Junior, Perdikis, Sizo, Lillikas and Dr Eleni as the speakers, the last thing anyone with half a brain (Stan’s is whole) would expect was a serious and scientific discussion.

THE MOST original contribution was made by Junior, who, aware of what Greek Cypriots really care about, focused on the negative effects of a settlement on real estate prices in the free areas. His analysis went as follows:

“GC refugees and owners would donate more than a million properties and real estate to the TCs – 29 per cent of immovable property in Cyprus. These properties would increase in value after a solution because they could be sold freely, while our properties in the free areas would go down in value because of the increase in supply. Parallel to this we would need to find some millions to pay GC property owners in compensation.”

This may go some way in explaining why our biggest landowner, the Church, is not so keen on a settlement and showed its support for the inbetweeners by sending as its representative to the seminar the charmless, hard-line Bishop of Paphos, Georgios, who nodded approvingly during Junior’s scientific real estate analysis.

THE SPEECH sent by Lillikas focused on another thing that GCs really cared about – public sector jobs. He said: “It is very clear that in most cases the basic criterion for selection and appointment would not be merit and qualifications but ethnic origin. Blatantly, these decision-making procedures violate the democratic principle of the majority, introducing ethnic discrimination.” Rusfeti based on ethnic origin will replace rusfeti based on party origin. Lillikas is smart enough to know this, but what he was scientifically saying was that there would be fewer public sector jobs for the parties to hand out.

Junior and Lilli have finally realised a truly patriotic GC would rather give half of Kyproulla to the Turks than back a solution that would cause the price of his real estate to fall and limit career opportunities in the parasites’ sector for him and his kids?

OUR AMBASSADOR to Rome and former enforcer of the late Ethnarch, Tasos Tzionis, this week, officially joined the struggle to keep Kyproulla divided until the day Father Christmas brings us the perfect solution, with a cerebral, legalistic article of monumental tedium, about the planned dissolution of the Cyprus Republic.

The article was posted on a new web-site that carries articles only by people who believe in Father Christmas and is run by self-important, Washington-based hack and patriotic preacher Michalis Ignatiou who seems to have re-invented himself as the impresario of rejectionism.

In an editorial of remarkable shallowness and incoherence, Ig declared that only “sick nationalists” and “supporters of the policies of Erdogan” (code language for anyone supporting a settlement) who are “equally dangerous” would be excluded from airing their views. It was evident he had a real grudge against sick nationalists.

“I am very sad that we allowed them (sick nationalists) to steal our patriotism so only they present themselves as saviours of Cyprus and Greece,” Ig wrote. He should cheer up because most people of his intellect know that only healthy nationalists like Ig have a legitimate right to present themselves as the saviours of Cyprus and Greece.

RUSSIAN foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov had a telephone conversation with Prez Nik on Friday, and a few hours later his ministry issued an announcement about its content. It also pointed out that Nik had requested the call, before informing us that Lavrov had repeated Moscow’s red line on the guarantees, as if Nik had not heard it a thousand times before.

Russia’s foreign ministry repeated that the system of guarantees was anachronistic and that a modern, independent state had no need of guarantees. Moscow’s crude incitement of GCs not to agree to some compromise on guarantees could not be more blatant and highlights the hypocrisy of its claim that it would support a solution agreed by Cypriots. It is just pushing the GCs not to agree.

The hypocrisy does not end there. Lavrov, reportedly, told Nik that the most effective guarantee for the transitional period could be provided by the UN Security Council. In 2004 when the Security Council tried to do something similar – guarantee the implementation of the settlement – the resolution was vetoed by Russia. Lavrov was foreign minister back then as well.

If Nik and Mustafa eventually strike a deal it would be a major defeat for Moscow which is trying every devious trick possible to prevent it.

I VERY much enjoyed the clever way in which Phil gave dead story about the high prices of fruit and vegetables a Christmas feel. The story was plugged on its front page, and informed readers that vegetable prices were “rising high” because of the cold weather.

A table comparing prices of more than 30 products such as cucumbers, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines, celery, beans, potatoes, strawberries, bananas, kolokasi, with last year’s prices was published to show that in some cases (greenhouse cucumbers) there was an increase of as much as 75 per cent. Fruit prices were largely the same as last year.

Producers would not be able to take advantage of the increased demand expected for Christmas the paper’s intrepid reporter wrote. The story also quoted the president of the greengrocers’ association as saying: “The recent bad weather put paid to expectations of a cheap Christmas lunch, at least as far as vegetables and fruit are concerned.”

But how much fruit and vegetables does the average Cypriot family eat for Christmas lunch which is carnivore’s celebration? We eat huge amounts of meat on Christmas day and no family is going to consider the Christmas lunch expensive because they would have spent one euro more than last year on the token vegetables on their table.

ODYSSEAS’ eagerly awaited report for 2015 was handed over to the prez on Tuesday. The novelty of the latest report is that auditor-general does not restrict his comments to procedural violations but also offers value judgments about the legalized thieving from the state by public parasites and politicians.

His idea of embracing the Christmas spirit is to act like Ebeneezer Scrooge and he deserves our congratulations for it. He mentions among other things who appointed or elected state officials are guaranteed state pensions for the rest of their life after serving for in any post for more than two years.

They served the country for two to five years and received pensions to for 20 to 30 years he noted. He also asked why deputies were exempt from paying income tax on half the income they received from the state. This thieving from the taxpayer is perfectly legal, but if it is ever to stop Odysseas cannot play the role of Scrooge only at Christmas.

ANOTHER legalised theft he mentions in his report was of the General Overseas Allowance (GOA) given to our diplomats and other public officials serving abroad. This allows ambassadors, for instance to double their pay (our ambassador in Qatar saw his GOA for 2015 increase from €36k to €63K) when abroad.

Scrooge Odysseas, correctly, asked why ambassadors received this GOA bearing in mind that they also received allowances for rent, domestic help, phone bills and school fees. And then we wonder why all foreign ministry employees, are so fanatically opposed to a settlement. The number of ambassadorial posts, which pay them a small fortune, would be reduced as a third or half of them would have to be given to TCs, because, as Lillikas said, the criterion for appointments would be ethnic origin and not merit.

For our diplomats and other scroungers from public funds, the Cyprus Republic is Father Christmas and he does not visit them only once a year, but every month with a big fat pay cheque. Who can blame them for believing in Father Christmas and opposing his dissolution.

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