Whenever there is a big news story, the parties and individual politicians feel obliged to become part of it by expressing bland views. When, for instance, there was an explosion in the garage of the house of the Paralimni mayor a few weeks ago the parties all issued announcements condemning the attack. What was the point of these announcements? Did any party really think if it didn’t condemn the attack the public would think that it condoned it? The truth is that parties have a policy of commenting on big news stories so they will get a mention on the TV news shows.
This habit often takes absurd dimensions. After Tuesday morning’s news about the abduction of two boys from a Larnaca school most of the parties felt duty-bound to issue statements of the obvious about the case less anyone thought they approved of what happened. Akel chief Andros Kyprianou issued a second statement because his comments on the abduction were “reported wrongly by the Cyprus News Agency, with the result that their meaning was seriously distorted.” Had the Marxist dialectic of his comments been lost in the CNA report?
Even more ludicrous was President Anastasiades’ intervention from faraway New York. Having heard about the news, he tweeted: “I have given strict instructions that we exhaust every way and all means to find them.” Were the “strict instructions” really necessary? Would the police not have exhausted all means to find the two pre-pubescent boys taken from outside their school by a stranger without the president ordering them to do so? If the president has to issue strict instructions for the police to do their job properly then he has failed because it means we do not have a functioning state.
The implication was that the chief of police was incapable of doing his job and needed presidential guidance. Anastasiades regularly makes the mistake of undermining state officials, including many ministers, in his effort to show that he is in control and to win positive publicity points. Sometimes, as in the case of the teachers’ dispute, his interventions work against him.
By the afternoon the two boys were found and a suspect was taken in for questioning by the police. All the parties issued new statements of the obvious, congratulating the police for finding the boys. They gave no credit, however, to the president for the “strict instructions” he had given to the police from New York.