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Tales from the Coffeeshop: When pandering trumps principle

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Labour minister Kyriakos Koushos has created ructions in the cabinet over his intervention in the EAC issue

SUPREME ruler of the Dias media empire, Zeus Hadjicostis, I hear from a reliable source, has been on to Akel chief, Stef Stef, trying to persuade him to reach an electoral agreement with Disy boss and candidate Averof Neophytou.

Why would a true-blue patriot and high priest of rejectionism like Zeus be interested in brokering such an unholy electoral alliance, of commies and free marketeers, when the only thing they agree on is the need for a Cyprus settlement?

Zeus’ organs have rabidly campaigned against any compromise with the Turks for more than 40 years, so it seems bizarre he would want to unite the pro-settlement parties in the presidential elections, behind one of their respective candidates. This marriage made in hell might achieve what he fought against all his life as a media mogul.

The settlement is irrelevant for him at present as his number one priority is to prevent the election of Nikos Christodoulides, another paradox considering his fellow-Paphite is also a Cyprob hardliner, although he tries to hide it.

His objection to Christodoulides is exclusively linked to the rock-solid support he enjoys from the new media mogul on the block – Andreas Papaellinas, the big boss of Alpha TV, which is backed by the financial might of his Alphamega supermarket chain.

Zeus cannot possibly allow the latest arrival to the ‘Who is the most powerful TV boss in Kyproulla’ reality show, elect his candidate at the first attempt. He might not be able to bear the public humiliation of loss of his top dog billing, especially to a nouveau media mogul. He would even be prepared to put his media empire behind the Akel candidate, to avoid the shame.

 

SPEAKING of candidates, I must admit I had a chuckle in the car on Friday morning listening to one of Averof’s radio ads, in which he promised that by using energy and applying for Nato membership he would take us “close to the settlement.”

It is a rather absurd promise, considering that even Ethnarch Tassos took us close to the settlement before he decided to turn back and run as far away from it as he could. As for Prez Nik, he took us even closer, before sprinting at full speed in the opposite direction; and he is still running.

He was just a ‘hair’s breadth away’ at Crans-Montana in 2017, according to candidate and former negotiator Mavroyiannis, but at the last minute he decided he did not want to get any closer, so he packed his backs and travelled a few thousand miles away from it.

He was not to blame. Turkish intransigence forced him not to take us across the hair’s breadth. This may also be Averof’s concern and the reason he cannot promise to take us all the way. He may also encounter Turkish intransigence when he gets too close. In these conditions it would be unethical to promise he would take us to the settlement – it might lose him votes.

Nato membership might also wreck Zeus’ plotting of an Akel-Disy alliance because, for the comrades, that would not be a price worth paying for the settlement.

 

THE STRIKE at the Dhekelia power station, which would have led to daily power cuts from last Wednesday, was averted by the intervention of labour minister Kyriakos Koushos, who has created ructions in the cabinet in the process. Prez Nik will have to sort things out when he is back at work on Monday, but it could be easier said than done.

KK, who has smoothly slipped into the late Zeta’s role as friend of the unions, persuaded the EAC union bosses to call off their strike, on Tuesday, by promising to arrange meetings with the energy and finance ministers, so their demands to dictate the country’s energy policies, could be part of a constructive dialogue. After the meeting he said he would talk to the ministers on Thursday and arrange the meetings for next week.

The only snag was that KK had asked neither Natasa Pilides nor Constantinos Petrides whether they would meet the union bosses, before making his promise. He also completely ignored a government decision not to meet the EAC unions because, their demands were political and an attempt to impose energy policy on the government.

Both ministers have refused to discuss a meeting with unions with KK, but he will be seeing Pilides on Monday, when he is expected to get down on his knees and beg her to agree to a meeting, so he can keep his promise to the unions.

 

NO AMOUNT of begging is likely to work with Petrides, who was livid about the way KK went behind his back and agreed the government’s capitulation to the EAC unions. He has refused to meet the union bosses and is expected to make his displeasure known to the Prez Nik.

Chances of Nik showing any sympathy are minimal, as it is more than likely KK was acting on presidential orders in meeting the unions. On Tuesday morning, before the KK had met the unions, Nik had decreed that the dispute must be resolved through dialogue, perhaps not too bothered that this would make a mockery of the decision taken by the government.

I suspect Nik weighed up his choices and decided he would get much more stick for taking a stand on principle than for bowing to the union bosses. Restaurateurs, bar owners et al were moaning that power cuts during the busiest time of year would be disastrous for them, so Nik told his populist fixer KK to take action.

He made the right call, as everyone praised the news there would be ‘dialogue,’ ignoring the fact this was another big step towards cementing the fascistic rule of the unions. Nik doesn’t care as he will be going home in a couple of months.

 

SPEAKING of union rule, it was interesting to read that the national nurses’ strike at the NHS in the UK, last Thursday was the first sanctioned by the Royal College of Nurses in its 106-year history. In Kyproulla nurses and doctors go on strike every other week.

At the NHS doctors do not go on strike because this is regarded a violation of the Hippocratic oath, which government doctors in Kyproulla do not take very seriously. Only last week, there were two work stoppages at hospitals.

On Friday doctors at the Paphos A&E held a three-hour work stoppage to protest about understaffing while on Thursday doctors at Larnaca hospital’s pediatric department held an impromptu two-hour stoppage for the same reason.

In the latter case, they were complaining that the department had admitted eight children more than its capacity allowed and were kept in playrooms. What should we have done asked an irate Okypy official, “refuse to treat them and send them home where their condition could get worse so we don’t overwork the doctors?”

 

GREECE’S greatest sports journalist, Giannis Diakoyiannis, left this world on Tuesday at the ripe old age of 91, just a few days before the World Cup Final. We knew him in Cyprus in the seventies and eighties when Rik would broadcast live football matches via a feed from Greek television and he was the main commentator.

A giant of the profession, I am reminded of his knowledge, passion and wonderful voice, every time I have to watch a match on Rik and hear the hacks vacuum every drop joy from the game with their mind-numbingly dull commentary.

I still remember his commentary for the 1982 World Cup Final in which Italy beat West Germany 3-1. The West Germans had not won any friends after knocking out the much better French team on penalties in the semi-final, their goalie Toni Schumacher committing one of the most brutal fouls witnessed on a football pitch (he literally knocked out France’s Battiston) and escaping unpunished.

After Italy scored their third goal in the final, Diakoyiannis could not hide his joy and had to take a dig at German football. “Cleverness, brio and imagination 3 – nil up against the football of power, pragmatism… the football of the robots.” A true legend who will always be remembered, at least by me.

 

 

CHURCHGOERS and people with nothing better to do on a Sunday, could be tempted to vote in today’s archiepiscopal election. We had tried in the past to help the undecided, advising them to vote either for the man with the kindest looks, or the oldest, as he would not stay for too many years.

Another criterion for deciding could be the allegiance of the candidates to the Moscow patriarchate and ruling them out. That would be the animal-loving, unsmiling bishop of Limassol Athanasios and the blue-eyed, baby-faced bishop of Tamassos, Isaias.

Choosing the guy who is not too religious might also be a good idea, because we do not want an archbishop telling us how to live our lives according to the scriptures, although we do not know which candidate fits the bill. Excluding backward Paphites might be an idea as the last three were all from the hillbilly district and it showed.

The good news is that this does not rule out the ultra-right-wing bishop of Paphos, Georgios, because he is originally from Athienou and has a more cosmopolitan outlook.

Alternatively, you can put the six names in a hat and vote for the one you pick.

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