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Tales from the coffeeshop: Patriotic islanders find new cause to stand behind

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How long will it be before Prez Nik gives in to the mass hysteria?

WITH OUR beloved Cyprob dead and buried, despite our noble efforts to keep it alive, the great and the good of our society have been desperately looking for a new cause to enable them to advertise their uncompromising patriotism and unconditional love of Kyproulla.

The good news – not for all of us – is that they have found one. Gesy. It was universally given the status of sacred cow (and cash cow for doctors and private clinics) and it created the new patriotism for the politicians, journalists, social media virtue-signallers and all other compulsive moralisers.

The Gesy patriotic lynch-mob, like their Cyprob predecessors, do not tolerate any questioning or criticism of the sacred cow, and show no mercy to heretics. Anyone who dares to say that the scheme is mismanaging resources or is poorly-organised is a traitor – an enemy of the people -who supposedly wants to dismantle it and deprive people of free healthcare.

This fascistic mentality was displayed in all its glory in the last few days after Prez Nik decided to appoint the well-known heretic – Dr Petros Agathangelou, president of the Cyprus Medical Association – to the board of the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO), which administers Gesy, on the recommendation of the Chamber of Commerce.

Dr Agathengelou, had opposed Gesy and urged doctors not to join when it was being established. For the Gesy faithful he is the anti-Christ who should be banished from Kyproulla rather than be appointed to the HIO board.

 

HYSTERIA gripped the Gesy guardians as soon as the news was out, and they have been publicly beating their breasts and pulling their hair ever since. Unions, parties, organised groups, newspapers and, of course, presidential candidates slammed Nik’s decision

One of the first to react was the patron saint of Gesy, Giorgos Pamborides, the former health minister who sees himself as its founding father even though he walked out on it when it had to be implemented. He tweeted that “the protection of Gesy from its enemies constitutes the personal responsibility of the President of the Republic,” who had to have the required resolve to resist the representatives of the establishment.

His English School classmate and successor at the ministry Constantinos Ioannou also took an indirect swipe at Nik and current Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela for their choice. Meanwhile, outraged HIO board member Melina Pyrgou resigned over the conflict of interest. Had she taken her cue from the two ministers who were her English School classmates?

As in the Cyprob, the lawyers jumped on the bandwagon, declaring the Agathangelou appointment illegal and claiming that all the HIO board decisions would be declared null and void with him as a member. This was in stark contrast to the advice given by the attorney-general to Nik. Someone is wrong, but as we know the patriotic mob overrules the law.

 

THE BIG question is how long Prez Nik will hold to his guns, given that, more than anything, he wants to be loved and cannot put up with negative publicity, especially on such a hysterical scale.

He defended his decision with a rational argument on Friday, but rationality is no answer to mass hysteria. It was “unfortunate” to claim that “the appointment on the HIO board consisting of 13 members, of one person who had expressed opposing views in the past, would supposedly lead Gesy to collapse or distort its structure and philosophy.”

He was absolutely right, but one of the Gesy patriots, writing in Phil, reminded him that this was not what he said last April, when asked in an interview about reports he would appoint individuals to the Gesy board that were opposed to the philosophy of Gesy.

He said, with his customary assertiveness: “There will be no change or intervention by all those who are either opposed or were opposed or those who would possibly create conditions of infanticide. I think I have made myself clearly understood.” He was agreeing with the Gesy orthodoxy a few months ago, so what made him allow the creation of conditions of infanticide now?

 

HIO president Thomas Antoniou has said he was considering resigning over the issue, but had not made his mind up. This was the same Antoniou who told a House committee, not so long ago, that all board decisions were taken unanimously.

Does nobody on the board ever disagree and vote against a decision? This is a bit worrying, especially considering that it has made bad decisions – the gross overpayment of GPs – and unlawful ones such as the cooperation agreement with the Aretaion private hospital. This makes you think it would be good to have someone on the board that will go against the grain and challenge the board orthodoxy.

A little disagreement and dissent in the board of the HIO, which sees itself as infallible and operates with little transparency because it is in charge of the sacred cow, would be a very good thing. The HIO has taken the role of magnanimous public benefactor, with the taxpayer’s money, and probably does not want anyone on the board that might question its decision-making and spending. Its infallibility must protected.

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SPEAKING of the fascistic mentality of the moral majority, it was good to hear that it failed in its attempt to punish Covid-19 rebel Dr Elpidoforos Soteriades, the epidemiologist.

Dr Soteriades had publicly expressed disagreement with the lockdowns and other repressive measures taken by the government during the pandemic, questioning the advice of the members of the scientific advisory team. Although he always used scientific arguments he was treated with contempt by the Covid zealots, who felt he was undermining their narrative. Last year he was arrested for speaking at a gathering of people opposed to the restrictions.

The Open University of Cyprus, meanwhile, ordered a disciplinary investigation against him on the grounds that he had gone to the university without a safepass. All he had was a lab antibody test, and when it was pointed out to him that this was not adequate, he left. The disciplinary procedure started in March and after three months the disciplinary committee decided he had not committed any offence.

Interestingly, three other employees who had gone to the open university without a safepass did not face disciplinary charges.

 

THE COVID lunacy appears to be slowly re-awakening. After the re-imposition of mandatory facemasks indoors, two people were fined €300 for not wearing them in a car, as they were not from the same household! But these same people could sit opposite each other for three hours in a restaurant or bar without a mask.

What is even worse is that there are restriction zealots texting the Trito radio show to complain because there were passengers on buses not wearing masks. Some people just love oppression. There was one positive last week. The wise members of the scientific team advised against the re-introduction of the safepass at their meeting with the health minister. It is the holiday season after all, and the scientists do not want to be seen as killjoys.

 

HALLOUMI grief has descended on the government as last year’s celebrations about the PDO have turned sour. After the European Commission wrote to it demanding explanations as to why non-PDO halloumi was found on supermarket shelves in Germany, it knew the game was up.

It could no longer turn a blind eye to the production and export of halloumi that was not PDO, as it had done until last week. Now, the agriculture ministry has been forced to write to producers and supermarkets that the pseudo-halloumi will have to be withdrawn within a reasonable time.

Complying with the PDO specs, that we had included in the file, it turns out, would give a big advantage to the Turkish Cypriots. The general manager of the cattle farmers association said the Turkish Cypriots would produce non-PDO halloumi, which will cost less and then go to food fairs abroad and sell big quantities to third countries, while we would lose half our exports.

Cattle-farmers are too patriotic to consider the option of selling their excess supplies of milk – that will materialise when halloumi production is PDO-restricted – to the Turkish Cypriots who can sell hellim, made with whatever milk they like.

 

THE NEW Makarios appeared on a CyBC interview show on Thursday night, but I just could not bring myself to watch it. I saw the first 10 minutes on video on Saturday but that was just about all I could take of his hot air.

Last Sunday he spoke at a memorial service for heroes of the coup resistance at which he won over the comrades with his hot air eloquence that was reported by the awe-struck Phil. “With assertive realism, decisiveness, persistence, without self-pity, without introspection, the effort for re-unification must continue.

“What is required at this time, more than at any other time, is the achievement of conditions of prudence and equanimity… so we can respond to the challenges of the times and we struggle to secure the common aim that can be no other than the liberation of our country…”

It takes great skill to use so many fancy words in order to say nothing. When everything else has failed nothingness could achieve the liberation of our country.

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