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Tales from the Coffeeshop: All he wants is to be loved

Eu Leaders Summit In Brussels
None of Prez Nik's advisors told him that a public show of at least a teensy-weensy bit of humility and admission of a little human weakness would have won some sympathy, if not love

PREZ NIK always gave the impression that he was a thick-skinned politician, one that did not care what was being said about him and could handle any criticism, but this is clearly not the case. He has recently showed himself to have very thin skin, feeling obliged to answer every little criticism directed at his government and especially himself.

Poor old KK must be working overtime preparing responses to opposition parties, but it appears he has orders not to allow any jibe against his boss to go unanswered. He is even responding to the critical utterances by Diko’s Junior, whom nobody else takes seriously. On Thursday, the presidency issued a statement rejecting Akel and Diko calls for Nik’s resignation, he could not betray the mandate of the people.

He probably never could stomach tough criticism but he was never really tested in the first seven-and-a-half years in office, which turned out to be an over-long honeymoon period. We came out of the assistance programme pretty fast, the economy was flying, tourism was recording its best-ever figures, gas drilling deals were signed with oil giants, our geostrategic role was supposedly upgraded thanks to the trilateral alliances and the pandemic was handled extremely well.

His approval rating was impressive and the feelgood factor was so high, nobody even dared blame him for the complete collapse of settlement efforts. Now, everything is unravelling – Varosha, passports, corruption, recession, coronavirus – he is being crucified and can’t take it.

Like his predecessor, all he wants is to be loved and having been loved for seven years, it is extremely difficult to cope when the fickle public stop loving you.

 

THE INTERVIEW he gave the smarmy Yiannis Kareklas, screened by Sigma TV on Tuesday night, was nothing more than a desperate attempt to win back the public’s love, but it did not go according to plan, because the main theme of his answers was his infallibility and refusal own up to any mistakes during his time in office.

None of his advisors told him that a public show of at least a teensy-weensy bit of humility and admission of a little human weakness would have won some sympathy, if not love, for him. Why did he not ask for advice from his obsequious foreign minister who is a world expert in making the populace love him?

He obviously did not, because he would have responded a little modestly when told by Kareklas that Cyprus “stinks” and “has become a sewer” and asked if he felt responsible: “I am immaculate and unblemished and I want to be absolute… it is very different to say that because I am head of the government I bear responsibility.”

Being absolute about his immaculateness exhibits delusions of divinity, which I am sure was not the intention of the unblemished one. He did make an attempt to win some sympathy by revealing that being prez made him a poorer man. “I took over richer and I will leave poorer,” he said. Hopefully his developer son-in-law, about whom he spoke in glowing terms in the interview, will help him out when he steps down a poorer man.

 

SPEAKING of the absolute immaculateness (this sounds like a tautology) Prez I was reminded of a story relayed by one of his associates shortly after he was elected. A lifestyle rag had asked him to complete one of those questionnaires which want ask for short answers about what you are afraid of, and your favourite colour.

The associate filled it in and then ran it by Nik for his approval. He disapproved of one response. To the question, ‘Do you ever lie?’ the associate wrote ‘Only to avoid hurting someone,’ as he felt this made his boss more human. Nik crossed it out and gave the answer you would expect from someone who is immaculate – ‘Never’.

 

I AM STARTING to think that the council of ministers’ momentously stupid decision to make mask-wearing mandatory outdoors, was intended to deflect public anger away from the government and turn it against the epidemiologists. This decree was bound to infuriate anyone with half a brain and keep them raging every time they went out their front door.

Yet several of the guys on the scientific team that advises the government were quick to public disown the measure, which had been an option in the event the situation became much worse. A couple of members of the team expressed surprise when they heard the health minister announce it on Thursday and said it was a ‘political’ decision, which not all the team agreed with anyway.

Perhaps Nik had decided to punish the public because they stopped loving him. I really cannot think of a more rational explanation for having to wear a mask in the open air, when it is still permitted to cram 350 wedding guests into a functions room for a dinner party, so long as it is six to a table. The question the epidemiologists should ask, is what venue would have 90 tables that sit six?

 

I READ with great interest in last Sunday’s Kathimerini, an article by former finance minister Harris Georgiades, who is now deputy leader of Disy, referring to the calls for a clean-up of political life. In the article, titled ‘Active citizens,’ Harris argues that citizens also had responsibility in this, by choosing the serious politicians rather than the populists, who just want to be loved.

He cited the 2008 presidential elections, in which, people had to choose between Comrade Tof and Ioannis Kasoulides and voted for the former, a mega-populist, who led the country to the economic meltdown of 2013. In opinion polls about the qualities of the two candidates Tof always came out on top, being considered the most ‘human’, the most ‘accessible’, the most ‘socially sensitive’ the candidate ‘who cared more about the problems of citizens.’

Harris arrived at the conclusion that citizens’ role is very important as they determined the type of politicians we want. And they should judge candidates on the positions they take and their political discourse, before warning:

“Unfortunately, in political life, people, who have never taken a position on disputed matters troubling our country, thrive. People that avoid taking part in public dialogue, so as not to displease anyone, that stay far away from difficult decisions and invest in the picture and the ‘human face’ instead of the substance.”

There could not have been a more obvious dig at the self-serving foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides than this. Everything mentioned in the above paragraph refers to him it has been perfectly illustrated recently. Now that the government is deep in the merde, being attacked by everyone, the Paphite has gone into hiding, neither being heard nor seen in case his squeaky-clean image is slightly blemished and people suddenly stop loving him.

 

 

 

 

THERE IS no love lost between the two, as Harris had been promised he would be made foreign minister after Nik’s re-election, only for the prez to give the job to the scheming and toadying Paphite.

He also moved Mrs Philippa Christodoulides to the post of acting director of the president’s diplomatic office (‘acting’ as she was too low in the pecking order at the ministry of rejectionism to be the director), because she could not carry on working at the ministry while her husband was the minister. It is against public service rules for the spouse of a person in authority at a ministry to work at the same ministry.

It is a rule that the squeaky-clean Mr and Mrs Christodoulides are happily breaking now, as the latter is working two days a week at the president’s diplomatic office and three days is on alleged ‘secondment’ at the European division of the foreign ministry, of which her hubby is the boss. Public service rules can be bent occasionally because we couldn’t send Mrs Christodoulides to the agriculture ministry.

 

THERE were some masked people gathering at the presidential palace at around 5.30pm Saturday, presumably for an anti-corruption demo. It was probably organised by ‘Platform Corruption End’ (Diafthora Telos), which is demanding the resignation of poor old Nik, the dissolution of the House and elections among other things.

In its manifesto, the Platform’s English translation of its name is wrong. It is ‘Corruption Stop’ which gives the impression that it is asking corruption to stop causing corruption. The more correct translation would be ‘End Corruption or ‘Stop Corruption’ with ‘platform’ at the end.

Meanwhile in the morning the movement of my friend, the former rector of Cyprus University, Constantinos Christofides, carried an anti-corruption gathering in Eleftheria Square that was not very well-attended. The movement is named, ‘New Wave – the other Cyprus’ (Neo Kyma – I alli Kypros), which indicates it has given up the right to boast ‘this is Cyprooos’.

 

WHAT unites the Corruption Stop, New Wave and Diko? They are all zealous supporters of the other immaculate and unblemished official, Odysseas, the auditor-general who does not want to be loved but wants to be feared and revered, like some Old Testament character.

All three have been vociferously demanding that publicity-mad Odysseas investigates the golden passports scheme, insisting that he is the one and only official capable of carrying out a proper investigation. Diko has threatened not to vote through the state budget for 2021 if Junior does not get his way. The anti-corruption campaigners must realise they are doing something very wrong, having the same position as a party that had been one of the corruption pioneers back in the ‘80s.

This support has gone to the head of the holier than thou Odysseas, who has been at pains to muscle in on the investigation and is constantly undermining the attorney-general’s investigation by publicly making a fuss about the citizenship scheme and complaining that he is not being given files by the ministry for his parallel and unauthorised investigation.

If Odysseas is so keen on investigating the passports, he should be allowed realise his ambition. This is Cyproos.

 

 

 

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