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Tales from the Coffeeshop: In memory of the man too smart to seek public approval

with president nicos anastasiades

SO FAREWELL Archbishop Chrys II, poor boy from Tala who rose to the top of the Church thanks to his undoubted cunning and wits. Our establishment, like everyone, considers it in poor taste to speak ill of the dead, unless they have been dead for a long time. It has therefore opted to say a few good words about him.

Finding good things to say about Chrys II was easier than I thought. He was, after all, a beacon of political incorrectness and could always be relied on to irritate people and cause offence to the virtuous with his utterances. He just opened his mouth and said exactly what he was thinking, without any consideration for the consequences this would have on his public standing.

There were no communications advisors telling him what to say to ingratiate himself with the populace like politicians have. And he never received the credit he richly deserved for never wanting to be popular and loved and not jumping on the bandwagon of public opinion. He was too confident and smart to seek public approval.

If anything, he actively sought unpopularity, which was what made him one of a kind in this age when public figures make complete fools of themselves in their relentless efforts to endear themselves to the mob.


THE CONSENSUS view of the intelligentsia was that he was not a spiritual head of the church but so what, neither was his predecessor nor Makarios. If you were a shareholder in a company with a turnover of tens of millions and assets worth hundreds of millions, would you want your CEO to be spiritual or pragmatic?

He had a good business mind and superb management skills, which was what the church needed after the mess left by his predecessor, made worse by the bailout, in which the firm had its bank shares wiped out. It was not with prayers and confession that it was put on a sound footing.

His political thinking was simplistic, but at least he had a sense of humour, which is not something you can credit many priests with. He also had a boyish tendency for mischief-making which twice caused embarrassment to Prez Nik.

A couple of years ago, he let fly that in a chat with Nik, the prez “saw a two-state solution, but I disagreed with him.” His disarming honesty about his dishonesty, when answering questions at the investigative committee for the passports, was his top moment.

“I told Anastasiades that it was time for all of us to stop thieving, and I include myself.”


ONE OF our most successful political exports to the European Parliament was motormouth Disy deputy Lefteris Christoforou, who made a political career for himself by compressing the absolute minimum amount of thought into the maximum amount of words, always delivered without pause for breath.

We have been deprived of Lefteris’ dazzling oratorical skills since 2014 when he was elected MEP and found a bigger stage for his oratory, although I hear the time limit imposed by the European Parliament cramped his flamboyant style.

In June, Nik decided to appoint Lefteris, who had worked as a bank teller 30 years ago, as Kyproulla’s representative at the European Court of Auditors, a post which pays a salary of more than 200 grand a year.

He will be in the post for six years and although there were hundreds of better-qualified people for the job, Nik appointed him so his parliamentary seat would go to Dr Eleni Stavrou, Nik’s ultra-nationalist protégé, who was desperate for a political post.

Now we have a female MEP to fill the vacuum left when that other ultra-nationalist diva Dr Theocharous failed to get re-elected.


MOTORMOUTH Lefteris left his mark at his last appearance in the European Parliament, which had to give approval to his new appointment. All he was expected to do was thank his fellow MEPs and exit, but he insisted on one last oratorical flourish, a film clip of which is circulating on Twitter.

President of the Parliament Roberta Metsola repeatedly tried to stop him but failed. She told him ‘efcharisto’ three times, ‘thank-you’ 10 times, ‘thank-you very much’ once, ‘good luck’ three times, appealed to him by his name, but all in vain.

In the end all she could do was smile about her inability to stop motormouth’s word torrent, which was better than calling in security to have him forcibly removed or slitting her wrists.

No one could stop him from conveying his memorable, “powerful message”, telling MEPs, “do not forget my small country, do not forget the 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees, do not forget the occupation…” They might forget the small country but they will never forget Lefteris.

ΠτΔ – Τελετή παράδοσης αεροσκάφου
President Nicos Anastasiades at the door of the newly received presidential jet

PREZ NIK, who has become accustomed to the luxury of flying in private jets during his 10 years in office, is making the most of the aircraft gifted to Kyproulla by Greece as his final term nears its end.

On Tuesday he was in Sharm el-Sheikh for COP27, where he expounded his climate change concerns, and then flew to Israel, where on Wednesday he met his bosom buddy Benjamin Netanyahu, elected PM again, before heading to the presidential palace where President Isaac Herzog bestowed on him the Presidential Medal of Honour.

On the same day he flew to Paris for Thursday’s meeting with President Emmanuel Macron, as part of his Cyprob theatre relating to his alleged drive for the resumption of the talks that will never resume.

While in Sharm el-Sheikh, Nik co-chaired, with his other bosom buddy President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a conference on Kyproulla’s initiative for tackling the catastrophic consequences of climate change in the East Med and Middle East.

He did not, however, offer to use his private jet more sparingly as his own small, personal contribution to fighting climate change.


DESPITE Prez Nik’s sincere and unrelenting efforts to initiate some kind of movement on the Cyprob, even glacial, the UN seems unwilling to play ball. Since September 2021 he has been urging the UNSG to appoint a special envoy/representative but has been ignored.

This September, after his brief meeting with the UNSG, he was offered a compromise. There would be no envoy, but a top UN official would visit on the pretext of exploring whether there was any possibility for a resumption of the talks. I am sure the UNSG does not need to send anyone when his people here can inform him no such possibility exists, but he did Nik the favour.

So pleased was the Prez he announced that the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Peacebuilding Rosemary DiCarlo would be visiting in October. We are halfway through November and there has still been no sign of her, unless she was here incognito. Has the UNSG decided not to grant a little, meaningless Cyprob movement to Nik as a going-away present?


THE PUBLIC mourning for the archbishop proved a blessing for those suffering from election campaign fatigue. All candidates scaled down their campaigning for a few days, giving us a much-needed rest before they step on the accelerator from Monday.

With less than three months left until the vote, we hope to see a better quality of dirt flying because until now it has been very disappointing. The campaign has been pretty underwhelming and boring, probably because it has been going on forever.

Given Christodoulides’ big lead in the polls, achieved by the reproduction of insipid platitudes, the other candidates may have decided it is pointless engaging in political debate. Ask anyone who will be voting for him why they had chosen him and, nine times out of 10, the response is “are the other ones any better?” One out of 10 say “because he looks good.”

Nobody has any idea what he stands, for nor do they care.


THE LEGISLATURE regularly demonstrates the invincibility of stupidity. Last Thursday the majority voted for yet another suspension of the foreclosures law, until the end of January. The opposition parties that voted for this idiocy claim it would offer relief to debtors in difficult financial times.

And will the times become any easier in February when the foreclosures law is back in force? What is really the point of having laws when these are suspended every few months to ‘protect,’ according to our caring parties, those that are violating the laws when they are in force? Our legislature suspends rules of law every so often to give a respite to law breakers to make them feel they are law-abiding citizens for a few months.

Those opposed to the suspension of the foreclosures law, declares Akel, support the government policy that “increased the arbitrariness of banks and left borrowers unprotected.” In Kyproulla, people that have not made a loan repayment for five or 10 years, for land worth €100,000 or a €350,000 house are considered victims in need of protection.

It cannot get much more irrational than that.


A REGULAR informed us on Saturday morning about a revolutionary new tashinopitta on sale at Lidl. It is more like koulouri and like a koulouri it is covered in sesame seeds, something never done before. Our regular, who sent a picture, named it a koulourotashinopitta and said “the sesame seeds add to it.” The price was a bargain €1.29. We will have a full review about taste and texture next week.

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