The ancient Greek demokratia/polis system was an exclusive gents’-entitlement club, participatory and self-governing. Demokratia joins demos (people) and kratos (power). At the same time, the hoi polloi, women especially, had fewer rights than the wealthier Hellenic class.

Equality, via representative democracy is perceived to exist today. However, it’s more the illusion of people having a say now because unashamed, selfish power is back where it began, with the elite self-governing to their advantage through legal elections.

A shift is filtering into certain political systems once thought solid and safe: people unfit to lead gain power through acceptance and participation of voters steadfast to party or person despite evidence of misdeeds, misconduct or corruption. In ancient Ireland, an unfit king met a swift, nasty death. We’re kinder to the unfit today; we leave them to fester and try again with their devoted faithful.

Irish and Cypriots once flocked to the UK to become better off. Poor here are not doing too well; Ireland’s poor are better off than the UK’s. Yet did former Shell employee and new UK PM Liz Truss rush to increase benefits for the needy? No, with indecent haste her first move was tax cuts for the wealthy until concerned members in her own party challenged her.

Has everyone, media included, felt it disrespectful to enquire the cost of the Queen’s funeral or who paid for it, state or royals? Then there’s the coronation of Charles. If the state pays, why is there always ready money for spectacle, while help for the poor takes the snail’s route?

It irks to hear well-heeled politicians gravely say, ‘We are in for a tough winter.’ They are not, the poor are, small businesses are. Unbelievably, the wealthy UK is beside Greece and Cyprus for low wages. The amount allotted to those who will genuinely suffer here is despicable when set against generous pensions over years, governing parties and government services have had cemented into law for their retirement.

In his Sunday Mail column last month, Les Manison listed the government’s response to our cost-of-living crisis and just how contemptuous the attitude is. He pointed out that from September 2021 to August 2022 a mean 0.7 per cent of GDP was allocated ‘to shield households and businesses from rising prices’, pointing out where the bulk of the GDP budget goes – not on the immediately-in-trouble class.

Ireland too, suffers kratos arrogance. Top politicians tried to maneuver a woman into a status job she weren’t entitled to, they were howled down. Another high-level chap failed to declare all his assets; excuses made for him by admiring friends at the top also met with derision and he had to bow out. Still, the in-power Irish boys maintain kratos mentality. Millions of taxpayers’ cash was squandered on failed/suspicious businesses as owner fat cats/money misusers walked off, no accountability demanded. One rule for upper, another for lower classes considering some benefits in Ireland’s low hundreds were scrutinized for claw back irregularities.

My electricity bill was higher than normal last time not because I’m careless, I can’t afford to be, but because of the way things are. One can scan history to find leaders who cared for their people and gave them a good living, kratos taking care of demos. Contented people are healthier, more productive. How many of us, locals or expats, can look at politicians we know and say they entered politics as genuine champions of the poor?

As an aged, toothless neighbour of mine who won’t get choppers on Gesy (I know two more) complaining of tummy trouble said, ‘In it only for themselves, their own, and business pals!’ Pensioners here can demonstrate while knowing little will change, not even the platitudes. Every cent they receive goes right back into the local economy.

What do the well-paid do with their savings, invest it here or bank better, safer abroad? We sell ‘hospitality’ as an appetizer on our tourism menu. Yet Cypriot low-income folk are not on the ‘Let’s be nice to them.’ list.

Demokratia is outdated, it’s now mostly self-interest kratos rather than demos-power. It has become an established pattern, the upper layer takes care of its own, bugger hoi ftochi (poor). Democratia is dead, long live friends with benefits.