Cyprus Mail
Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Lessons in capitulation

The union bosses have lied and gone back on agreements, but Nik carried on making concessions to them, desperately hoping they would eventually accept his surrender terms

THE ONLY qualification required for someone to get a job at the presidential palace is to be related in some way to a journalist. That is the only thing one needs to have on their CV in order to be hired by Prez Nik as a so-called advisor at the presidential palace.

If these ‘do-nothing-jobs’ were advertised in the press – they are not, because the prez has the discretionary power and budget to hire anyone he likes as an advisor even if they are incapable of advising him what colour socks to wear in the morning – they would say: “Candidates related to journalists, would be treated preferentially, regardless of qualifications, because we are an unequal opportunities employer.”

On Friday it was announced that the wives of two journalists, political correspondents covering the president’s activities, were hired as advisors at the presidential palace. One was the wife of Antenna TV’s Kyriacos Pomylorides and the other the wife of Sigma TV’s Christos Charalambous. A third female advisor was hired, but it was unclear whether she was related to a journalist.

These are not the only female presidential advisors related to hacks. As regulars of our establishment will know, the niece of Phil’s Michalis Ignatiou is also at the palace as is the sister of Sigma TV news boss, Chrysanthos Tsouroullis. I will not say anything else, because I am hoping one of my offspring will be included in the next round of the prez’s advisor appointments – one could give him invaluable advice for Playstation football games.

 

AND THEN we wonder why Nik never gets any negative press. His family law office is making millions from the government’s citizenship by investment scheme and the media collectively turns a blind eye to it. He avoided taking any prompt action on the sinking co-ops, because his re-election was the priority, allowing the cost to the taxpayer to spiral to €7 billion and there has not been a critical word against him in the media.

The bungling surrender to the teaching unions and ongoing public mockery of the government by the union bosses was also his doing, but the media barely mentions his responsibility. What hack, with a wife or relative, looking for an easy government job, would say a bad word about the prez given his proven rusfeti record and willingness to help out the members of the journalistic community.

I do not see the 200-plus journalists writing to the Council of Europe, as they did in the case of the Glossary, to report the president for using unethical means to limit freedom of speech.

Now, all the private television stations will have another reason to give him ultra-positive coverage. His decision to stop the CyBC carrying advertising will expand the advertising pie for private TV stations by two to three million euro per year. The taxpayer will pick up the bill for Nik’s positive TV coverage, because the government will increase the funding of the CyBC to cover the loss in advertising revenue.

 

THE BIGGEST beneficiary of the Prez’s rusfetological appointments of advisors was former deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos, who had left his job immediately after the February elections. Having failed to find a job that would pay him anywhere near what he was getting as deputy spokesman, Victoras returned on Friday on a much higher salary and no clear job to do.

He got a pay rise in the region of 50 per cent to return to the service of the prez. When he left in February he was on €39,000, but now he will be paid €56,500 and he is not even related to a journalist, so how the prez would justify the hefty pay-rise is anyone’s guess. It is a lot of money for someone who will most probably work as assistant to the deputy government spokeswoman, who is rarely seen or heard.

 

HAVING no relative working at the presidential palace, for now, I am free to say that Prez Nik made a colossal cock-up of the two-month teaching dispute once he decided to become directly involved in the negotiations. His negotiating strategy started from the position, ‘I don’t care if they strike’ and ended in the position ‘let’s satisfy 95 per cent of their demands to save face and avoid a strike.’

But he still hasn’t got a deal. He will have to wait until Monday for the unions to give a response to the compromise deal they drafted with the government, but the secondary teachers’ union Oelmek was still dragging its feet on Saturday, demanding more concessions. Why would they not, considering Nik has proved a complete pushover, publicly ridiculed and outwitted by people who usually boss around 10- and 12-year-olds.

 

THE UNION bosses have lied and gone back on agreements, but Nik carried on making concessions to them, desperately hoping they would eventually accept his surrender terms.

The lying union bosses had written the surrender terms at a 10-hour meeting at the foreign ministry (see below) which lasted until 3am, but the next day claimed the agreement they dictated was a government proposal and were considering accepting it.

They did exactly the same on August 23, when they sat with Nik at the palace, drafted an agreement together and on leaving said they could not possibly accept it. These are the shifty guys Nik has been pandering to and begging to be nice to him, for the last two weeks.

On August 4 the head of Oelmek took a new demand to the government – no reduction in the retirement bonus for teachers taking early retirement – and this was included in one of the compromise proposals, three weeks later. The Oelmek boss then claimed this offer was made by the government without the unions asking for it.

 

WE WOULD like to express a word of sympathy for the education minister, Costas Hambiaouris, whom Nik gave a public no-confidence vote to, by stopping him negotiating with the unions on his own. He set up a ministerial committee that included the ministers of labour and agriculture, as well as Hambiaouris, to conduct the negotiations.

It was his reward for pursuing the decision of the council of ministers and the prez’s orders. As if having two colleagues to chaperone him was not enough of an embarrassment for Hambiaouris, he then had suffer the indignity of our self-promoting foreign minister, goody-two-shoes, Nicos Christodoulides trying to make personal political capital out of the dispute.

Christodoulides, seeing an opportunity to further his presidential ambitions, by posing as the unifying peacemaker and ingratiating himself to the unions, hijacked the negotiations, which were held at the foreign ministry. This was where the final terms of the government’s surrender were dictated by the unions and the papers were quick to give credit to the Paphite presidential hopeful.

Christodoulides may have brokered a complete government capitulation, but in Kyproulla politicians that keep on the good side of the unions go far.

 

IT ALSO helps that the biggest circulation daily, Phil, treats him as the new Makarios – he only has to fart to get a glowing report in the paper about his greatness. In the last week Phil kept telling its readers about the important “strategic moves” that Makarios IV would be making. On Thursday it reported:

“Moves with strategic significance will be taken by Nicosia which shows that it will not leave the slightest diplomatic gap for Turkey to exploit. This is evidenced from a series of meetings foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides will have in the next days with counterparts.” Christodoulides was scheduled to meet the Dutch and French foreign ministers prompting the report to add:

“The fact that some of the European ministers will, immediately after have contacts with the foreign minister of Turkey, give the meetings with Christodoulides particular diplomatic and political significance.” Phil never writes a report about Makarios IV meetings without using the words ‘significant’ or ‘significance’. Everything the guy does is significant, but not leaving the slightest diplomatic gap for Turkey to exploit, is more than significant. It shows greatness.

 

“HOT climate around Cyprus,” reported Phil on its front page on Tuesday, informing its readers about Russian naval exercises with live fire, in eight big sea areas around the island. “Russian presence in the area is historically unprecedented,” it said taking pride in the fact that the Navtex were issued by the Cyprus Republic. Bathers in Limassol heard the rocket fire.

Phil has always reported the military exercises of Russia and the Soviet Union, both real and imaginary, with pride. On August 20, 1964, it reported a massive military exercise by the Soviet Union on the Russia-Turkey border.

“This is the most imposing, warning display ever held by the Soviet Union against Turkey and the din of the fighter jets and the explosions of bombs and shells is deafening on the Turkish border.” The exercise, according to Phil, was in response to Turkey’s “audacious threat against Cyprus and Syria with the blessings of the Anglo-Saxons.” The Soviet show of force was so decisive at the borders, “the firepower was capable of levelling Turkey and turning it into a desert.”

The paper even had an explanation as why nothing about this massive show of Soviet force was reported in the Western press. “The Anglo-Saxon press avoids mentioning the Soviet exercises so that the shattered morale of the Turks is not further affected, given that the Anglo-Saxons demand they (Turks) continue the policy of threats and blackmail.”

The paper did not entertain the idea the Anglo-Saxon press did not report the exercise because it may have been fake news, Soviet propaganda for gullible Cypriots.

 

ON TUESDAY the Akel youth wing Edon held an event to mark the 48th anniversary of the “heroic death” of Giorgos Tsikouris, whom the commies honour every year. It suffices to say that his death was anything but heroic. He died when a time bomb intended for the US embassy building in Athens exploded in his car killing him and his Italian friend.

His mission, according to Haravghi, was aimed at a “bloodless bomb attack on the US embassy building in order to highlight the moral instigator of the April (1967) coup in Greece.” For Akelites, bombing the US embassy is an act of heroism, but if it were the Soviet embassy, it would be an act of terrorism. The irony is that the dictators of Greece at the time were pussy-cats compared to the ruthless Soviet-backed and controlled, dictators running all the East European countries.

Amazingly, Akel has even put up a bust of the hero Tsikouris, whose “sacrifice was a glowing example for the fight of our people against imperialist plans, occupation and partition.” Amen and long live the failed embassy bomber.

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