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OpinionTales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Our amazing transformation into a nation of tree-huggers

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I WOULD never have thought that the majority of we Cypriots are suppressed eco warriors deeply concerned about climate crisis and prepared to make big personal sacrifices to save the planet. I say suppressed because we have not seen any radical environmental movement like Extinction Rebellion developing here, at least not yet.

It is only a matter of time if an opinion poll conducted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) is anything to go by. According to the survey, 75 per cent of Cypriots were in favour of introducing taxes on products and services that contribute to global warming. We, supposedly, support such a move “to a greater extent than Europeans in general”.

The large majority’s commitment to the fight against climate crisis is not restricted to wanting to pay taxes for harmful products and service. A slightly smaller majority (67 per cent) is also in favour of stricter government measures to fight climate change, “similar to those implemented in response to the Covid-19 crisis, which would impose changes in human behaviour”.

I can’t believe that three out of four Cypriots wants to pay higher taxes to save the planet when nine out of 10 do everything possible, including resorting to illegality, to pay as little tax as possible. And two thirds also want the return of the police state we were living under at the height of the pandemic to save the planet.

What more proof do we need to accept that the majority is always wrong?

 

COULD IT be the respondents were giving the answer they believed a right-thinking, idealistic and public-spirited European citizen would give? It did not cost anything to say they wanted higher taxes to tackle climate change nor was an answer to a survey a pledge to the cause.

These are the same Cypriots that have been demanding cuts to electricity prices so they can carry on using as much electricity in their homes as they are accustomed to, so that the EAC’s power stations can maintain their carbon emissions at the maximum levels. The same people that, when they can afford to, will buy a car that uses the maximum amount of petrol to show off their wealth.

As for paying higher taxes to save the planet, we are the guys that dump old fridges, stoves, mattresses and other bulky household items in fields or riverbeds to avoid paying to have them removed. Is this because dumping this type of junk in fields does not contribute to climate change, which 83 per cent of Cypriots, according to the EIB survey, claimed they were more concerned about than the government.

The survey was conducted before Prez Nik unveiled Kyproulla’s Regional Action Plan for dealing with climate change at COP26, which showed the government was concerned. Hopefully, not enough to want to impose taxes on products and services with a carbon footprint.

 

THE FINDINGS of the latest Eurobarometer were also released this week and suggested that, contrary to the EIB findings, the climate crisis is not such a big deal for Cypriots after all.

The two most important issues facing Kyproulla at the moment, according to respondents, were the economic situation and unemployment (45 per cent) and the cost of living (31 per cent). The climate crisis did not get a look-in (perhaps it was not listed as an option by Eurobarometer) because for us Cypriots, despite our high principles, the most important cause was and always will be our pockets.

And if there is big concern about climate change, it is because we are worried it will affect our financial well-being. Have the three out of four Cypriots, who support new taxes to save the planet, not realised this would push up the rising cost of living, which is the most important issue facing Kyproulla, according to one third of the population?

 

 

STAYING on opinion polls, Kathimerini last Sunday published one about the presidential elections, which are still 16 months away, and found that closet candidate Nikos Christodoulides was considered the “most suitable to assume the presidency of the Republic”, by a staggering 32.2 per cent of respondents.

Second was Ethnarch Junior with 10.9 per cent and third Erato Kozakou Markoulli. Disy chief Averof got 7.1 per cent and Prez Nik, who will not be standing, 7.2 per cent. Had the polling company included Nik in order to diminish Averof’s percentage to create the impression that he stands no chance against the new Makarios?

This, after all, seemed like a poll designed to advance the scheming Paphite’s quest for the presidency, creating momentum for his relentless campaigning and presenting him as the popular choice that is way ahead of his rivals. Despite being the choice of the people, only 20.4 per cent thought he would be the next prez, compared to 27.7 per cent who thought Averof would win.

Meanwhile, 15.9 per cent thought Junior would win and 11.4 per cent Prez Nik, which seemed rather bizarre as both have said they would not be candidates in 2023.

How can people think someone not standing in the elections has a chance of being the next president? I will ask Kathimerini if they can include Patroclos in the next presidential poll because I would really like to know what percentage of the population thinks I can win. I can cope with the disappointment.

 

GOVERNMENT spokesman Marios Pelekanos sounded a bit like an Elam official talking about the migration issue after the cabinet’s meeting to discuss how to deal with the rising inflow of immigrants, which is up 38 per cent compared to the whole of 2020.

Some 10,868 arrived in the first 10 months, 90 per cent of whom crossed into the Republic from the north. The Turks have found a new and effective way of screwing us and we seem unable to do anything to stop them. The barbed wired put up by the government in a section of the buffer zone has turned out to be a joke.

Pelekanos had a go at the Turks on Wednesday, but then turned on the immigrants, speaking of ghettoisation of urban areas and saying that communities had “experienced significant demographic change” as a result of the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers. There had also been a rise in crime that was “particularly worrying” as 43 per cent of serious crime involved irregular or illegal immigrants, he said.

His comments, inevitably, drew the applause of Elam which said it was vindicated. It congratulated the government for the decision to implement measures for “tackling illegal immigration, which as is widely accepted constitutes a conquest of ELAM.”

 

MENTIONING the relatively high percentage of foreign children in primary schools was a cheap shot by Pelekanos and he was quite rightly pilloried for this by the commissioner for children’s rights Despo Michaelides. His use of stats without any explanation increased “the concerns of society, the sense of insecurity, xenophobia and intolerance”, she said. It was another conquest of Elam.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said the Prez had written to the European Commission asking that immigrants be relocated to other EU countries in order to ease the burden on Kyproulla. This suggestion could work against us. If other EU countries start taking immigrants from Kyproulla, is there not a danger that this would be an incentive for even more to come here in the hope they would be relocated to another member state? Just asking.

 

PREVENTING price increases is the latest populist cause, with the parties and consumer groups all demanding that prices remain stable. The biggest joke was that even supermarkets have joined this theatre of the absurd, pretending that they are also opposed to rising prices.

On Monday, the consumers association called on people to boycott a dairy company that planned to increase the price of milk by 3 per cent. Association chairman Marios Droushiotis said the increase was not justified and cited data to prove his point. This data had also been sent to the company.

Since when does a company in a market economy have to justify a price increase to anyone. Has Kyproulla become a Soviet-type command economy in which bureaucrats fix prices and we did not notice? The absurdity did not end there. Some supermarkets in an attempt at virtue-signalling announced they would not stock the company’s milk if it raised the price. The company backed down under this pressure.

On Thursday the government’s monthly price survey was published and it found that cereal had risen by 8 per cent, small white bread by 10 per cent, a six-pack of water by 5.2 per cent and bacon by 6.5 per cent. The biggest climber was louvi, up 24.1 per cent.

We did not hear any supermarket threatening not to stock any of these products, the prices of which all rose by a lot more than the 3 per cent the price of milk would have risen. Did Droushiotis carry out an investigation to establish whether these steep price rises were justified? Does his protection of the consumer start and end with milk?

 

OUR ESTABLISHMENT has received some very worrying information from a person who occasionally visits the Akel headquarters in Nicosia. He was shocked to see that the big picture of Lenin in the lobby of the HQ had disappeared. We have been unable to establish if the picture had been removed for good or simply been taken down temporarily for maintenance (a new frame perhaps). We shall keep you posted because if the comrades have stopped the worship of Lenin it could be a sign Akel has decided to reposition itself ideologically. Perhaps it has decided to save the planet rather than the proletariat now that Cypriots are so anxious about climate change.

 

 

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