Cyprus Mail
FeaturedOpinionTales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Post-truth political packaging

ΠτΔ – Σύσκεψη για κατώτατο μισθό κ
Broad presidential palace meetings like this one on the minimum wage have just one purpose – to promote Prez Nik’s self-styled image as the wise, caring and magnanimous leader who justly solves the problems of our society that his ministers do not possess the wisdom to tackle

THE PRESIDENTIAL candidate of post-truth politics is flying if the latest opinion poll, conducted for Alpha TV, is anything to go by.

A staggering 33.1 per cent of respondents said they would vote for the new Makarios and Diko candidate in the first round of the elections. More staggering were the low numbers of his main rivals, with Akel’s Mavroyiannis getting 12.5 and Disy’s Averof 11.9 per cent.

With still seven months to go before the elections, many things could change by then, but it is still incredible how someone without an election programme, without much personality, political or otherwise, who peddles platitudes and has never taken a public stand on any important issue could be so popular.

It is all post-truth political packaging. Christodoulides has successfully packaged himself as an independent, although he remains a member of Disy and is the Diko candidate. Funny type of independence, insisting you are a Disy member and including everything Diko demanded in your election programme.

Even more post-truthfully he has sold the myth that Prez Nik’s, most trusted lieutenant, will end the corruption of the Nik government, which he loyally served for nine years. It is not even as if he is personally against corruption as his shamelessly preferential treatment of his wife while he was foreign minister showed.

 

THEN YOU have Averof presenting a well thought-out, 100-point plan and a vision for the future, which he did not copy from anyone else, making suggestions for dealing with the cost of living crisis and other public issues, not even getting a percentage that reflects his party strength.

The new Makarios shows no interest in public affairs, says and does nothing, apart from buttering up carefully selected groups of people, and is way ahead in the polls. Perhaps Averof should stop expressing views in public for a couple of months, keep a low profile and see how that works out.

The people want an apolitical and feckless prez that wears a big smile on his face and agrees with everyone about everything, because he believes in nothing. As someone said, Christodoulides’ appeal is that he is the sort of agreeable chap most would want for a son-in-law. And what Cypriot family would not want their son-in-law to be the prez?

 

ALTHOUGH it resisted the change for decades, Phil broke with its broadsheet tradition and turned into a tabloid this month. Other traditions however, it refuses to give up.

During the reign of Makarios it had been his most zealous supporter, treating him as infallible and his every word as gospel. Presented now with a new Makarios, it appears determined to continue this tradition. Several of it senior hacks act like his spokesmen, defending his every action, writing flattering reports about him and dutifully reproducing everything he feeds them.

His Phil cheerleaders all attacked Prez Nik in the last few days, outraged because at Disy’s 46th anniversary bash on Monday, which was also an Averof election gathering, Nik urged supporters not to betray the party and not to betray the country. It was his way of telling the party not to vote for the new Makarios.

Self-righteous, Phil hacks indignantly asserted that how people voted could never be regarded as treason, taking Nik’s metaphor at face value. What did they want him to say at a Disy election gathering? ‘Do not vote for our party’s candidate if you believe other candidates are better son-in-law material.”

 

THINGS are not going very well in the negotiations about the redundancies at Hellenic Bank, with Etyk refusing to budge on its demand for compensation packages of up to 200 grand for its fat-cat members.

Although these are difficult times, with record inflation and big uncertainty over the economy’s prospects, Etyk is showing the kind of intransigence we thought only Turks were capable of. It has adopted a take-it-or-leave approach, because it knows it has the full support of the politicians.

With elections just seven months away and all candidates in kiss-ass mode, Etyk’s cunning boss Loizos Hadjicostis knows very well that none of them would dare say anything to alienate his members that number five to six thousand voters and could swing an election.

It would be no surprise if candidates have already started applying pressure on Hellenic board members to give in to Etyk in order to ingratiate themselves to the odious Hadjicostis, who is a supreme master at exploiting cowardly politicians and making them obey his diktats.

These same politicians attack the banks when they increase bank charges, pretending they cannot see any link between these, and the constantly rising bank labour costs imposed by Etyk with their blessing.

 

THE EUROPEAN Banking Authority’s Risk Dashboard for the first quarter of 2022 has Cyprus banks among the five worst performers in its profitability and risk tables, while we have the second highest cost to income ratio, at just under 80 per cent. Greek banks have the lowest at about 34 per cent. Malta is top with 82 per cent.

Cyprus banks give fixed annual pay rises of 4 per cent, regardless of productivity and individual performance, while for 2023, with CoLA added, total pay rises will be 7 per cent. Banks also pay 9 per cent towards each worker’s pension fund and 3 per cent for medical insurance despite the existence of Gesy. Etyk has always had the bank bosses by the short and curlies, and they seem to like it.

One bank still employs a manager whose department closed seven years ago and he was transferred to the health and safety department where his job involves checking papers cups among other things. He is paid some seven grand a month for this demanding job and the bank will have to pay him 200 grand to leave, if he volunteers to do so.

Redundancies must be based on a voluntary retirement scheme, according to the Etyk rule book.

 

PREZ NIK, did not need very long to betray the legacy of his late labour minister Zeta Emilianidou that he pledged to continue in his funeral speech. The level of the minimum wage had all but been agreed before she fell ill, but Nik messed everything up at the meeting he held on Tuesday at the presidential palace to finalise it and, of course, take personal credit for it.

The late Zeta, who always had a pro-union bias, had agreed with union bosses and representatives of employers that the minimum wage would be based on the median wage calculated by the EU-SILC (Statistics on Income and Living Conditions) €1,727. The minimum wage is between 50 and 60 per cent of the median.

Not bothering to learn what had been agreed, Nik told the meeting in his opening speech that the minimum wage would be based on the median calculated by the Cyprus Statistical Service, which was €1,573. This was music to the ears of employers’ representatives, who had agreed to the Zeta formula, but were overjoyed with Nik’s formula, which meant a lower minimum wage. They immediately endorsed the new formula not wanting to disappoint the pres.

Union bosses were livid with the presidential backtracking and his order to return to negotiations under the new labour minister Kyriakos Koushos, who, according to one participant, demonstrated his complete cluelessness about the issue at the meeting.

 

BROAD presidential palace meetings as the above have just one purpose – to promote Prez Nik’s self-styled image as the wise, caring and magnanimous leader who justly solves the problems of our society that his ministers do not possess the wisdom to tackle.

Apart from the fiasco of the minimum wage meeting, he has not had much success with his initiative to solve the halloumi PDO conundrum, despite separate meetings at the palace with sheep and goat farmers, cow farmers and halloumi producers.

Now he will bring them all back for a joint meeting, at which he expects his wisdom to shine and provide all the answers. I would advise the goat farmers to take a few containers of milk and bundles of hay, just in case the outcome of the meeting is unsatisfactory, and they need to protest.

 

WE JUST love to find a Cypriot connection to events that have nothing really to do with Kyproulla. Friday’s headline in Politis, was a perfect example of the genre. It read “British minister was groping Cypriots.”

Apparently it was Cypriot bums that the drunken Conservative MP, Christopher Pincher had groped at the Carlton Club in London’s Piccadilly, where a meeting of the Conservative Friends of Cyprus was taking place. Another Kyproulla connection.

The incident was reported by the press and eventually led to the grudging resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had claimed he was not aware of Pincher’s tendency for sexual harassment when appointing him deputy chief whip (he was not a minister).

One British paper reported that not only did Boris know about Pincher’s sexually aggressive behaviour, but had memorably remarked, “Pincher by name and Pincher by nature.”

 

“TRIUMPH for Cyprus in Birmingham!” tweeted Akel deputy Irene Charalambidou on Wednesday. Had we won the Eurovision song contest and I had not realised? No, the tweet put me straight. “The 57 representations gave me first place among seven candidates! For our Cyprus, our small country, always on the front line! The support for my person was universal! And I am grateful.”

Congratulations to Irene for being re-elected, unanimously, vice president of the parliamentary assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, even though this seems a personal rather than a national triumph. Unless Irene has changed her name to Kyproulla.

 

I WOULD like to thank readers for their helpful comments about where one can still find a good quality and fairly-priced tashinopitta in the capital. Our establishment hopes in the next few weeks to carry out a tashinopitta beauty contest in order to establish the producer who makes the best.

Related Posts

‘We need to win back the trust of the Turkish Cypriots’, candidates say

Sarah Ktisti

Mutually-agreed solution to Cyprus problem ‘a fading scenario’, UN official says (Updated)

Source: Cyprus News Agency

Cyprus wants exemption from EU’s mandatory energy reduction target

Sarah Ktisti

What The Queue says about Englishness

The Conversation

Business sector disappointed over decision to suspended incentives to airlines

Nikolaos Prakas

Turkey to reinforce military presence in the north, says Erdogan (Update 1)

Nikolaos Prakas