LAST Sunday’s Diko conference turned into a love-in, party leader Junior exercising zero restraint in his public adulation of his new political idol – Prez Nik II.

“If you did not stand as candidate in these elections, we should have invented you because you are the president the country needs at this moment,” said Junior, showing that he has quickly learned the art of vacuous rhetoric from his new idol.

He lavishly praised his idol’s first 75 days in office, during which he “grappled with all the challenges facing the country and has exhibited worthy work,” thus vindicating Diko’s decision to back him and defeat the “traditional political establishment.”

Junior might not have needed to invent a candidate, but he has re-invented himself as an anti-establishment figure. In the era of Nik II, you can say what you like because words have no meaning, used exclusively for effect.

The Diko rebel illustrated the point when he told Dikheads, “the party must modernise, evolve and advance, making, in parallel, an opening to the society of citizens.” This “opening to the society of citizens” was used to death by his idol during the campaign.

Is there also some other society in Kyproulla, not made up of citizens and not worth making an opening to?

SOUND advice was also offered on the Cyprob. After praising his idol’s promotion of a “positive agenda,” which was the “correct strategic move,” he said:

“The Greek Cypriot side wants Turkey to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible but not without us receiving something in exchange.” What should we demand in exchange of Turkey returning to the negotiations? The return of Famagusta, money, a holiday in the Seychelles or free supply of airani for a year?

Hopefully, Junior’s idol will have included the demand for something in exchange, in his proposal for the resumption of the talks, as is part of his “positive agenda.” It is a peculiar strategy to demand that the side which does not want to enter negotiations, would have to give something to the side that desperately wants the resumption of negotiations, for the negotiations to resume.

It is a bit like asking woman out and she repeatedly says ‘no’, so you tell her she will have to pick up the bill when you go out. It works every time.

THE APPOINTMENTS embarrassments continued this week, when Alithia revealed that a beautician was recruited as secretarial staff by the presidential palace. I suspect that she was hired by first lady Mrs PKC, who wanted an in-house beautician to give to her facials and look after her nails, on demand. She was hired as a secretary because Odysseas would have raised hell if the palace recruited a beautician.

He did raise hell when he found out and said he would investigate the secondment to the palace of a Pitsa Xiouri, a clerical officer at the lowest rung of the pay scale, who was also in charge of Nik’s office when he was foreign minister. She was said to be the only secretary that did not knock on his door before entering.

This may have been because she was a koumera (feminine for koumbaros in Cypriot dialect) of the presidential couple, the third koumera that has been given a job at the palace. It would be no exaggeration to say that Nik II established a koumerocracy, a form of government that dates back to the Amazonians.

JUST when we thought things could not get worse, they did. Haravghi reported that one of the advisors hired at the deputy ministry of culture had been sentenced to a suspended jail sentence for fraud – she had been caught selling forged tickets to a concert.

The deputy ministry made matters worse by issuing an announcement saying there “was never a contractual relationship, nor had any payment been made to the person,” which seemed bizarre as the person was included in the list of media contacts prepared by the presidential palace and sent to all the media.

When this was pointed out, the deputy ministry issued a second announcement saying the lady had “worked on a trial basis for a specific period of time on communication matters for the deputy minister without payment.” At the end of April it was decided she would not be given a contract, we were told.

The lady in question did one good thing when she was working on a trial basis without pay. She posted on the ministry’s official website, a video of her boss, Michalis Hadjiyiannis singing ‘happy birthday’ at Junior’s opulent birthday bash.

ALL THESE appointment cockups gave the opportunity to our deity-general Odysseas to remind Prez Nik II who is in charge in Kyproulla. The Prez was easily bullied into submission by our self-styled commander-in-chief and was not embarrassed to say so in public. He appears to have decided that pandering to Odysseas would be good for his image.

Asked on Friday about his appointment fiascoes, Nik II said, “I immediately met the auditor-general (ten days earlier)” as if he was accountable to the meddling Odysseas. At that meeting, Odysseas instructed the prez to draft criteria for appointments of advisors and the prez said on Friday that the criteria were being put together “in cooperation with the auditor-general, the law commissioner and the legal service.”

What expertise, apart from marketing his ethical superiority, does the republic’s bean-counter have to be given a say in the criteria for government appointments? None, but the prez must be afraid of him and decided that the only way to keep him on side is by massaging his big ego.

Earlier in the week the audit office had issued a warning to the prez. It said it would give the government 15 days to sort things out and after that it would carry out checks of all cases of advisors at the palace, ministries and deputy ministries. Just so everyone knows who is really in charge of Kyproulla.

THE OMNISCIENT bean-counter, last week played the constitutional expert, issuing instructions on how the attorney-general’s office must be structured. He ruled that the attorney-general cannot be legal advisor of the state and public prosecutor at the same time. There should be a different person for each post, because having just the AG in both roles affected the operation of the audit office, he claimed.

Meanwhile, after reporting the defence ministry to the international bean-counters association, Intosai, for not giving the names of conscripts serving in National Guard offices, a team of foreign experts will arrive to investigate. Odysseas demanded the names of these conscripts because he had heard that the sons of state officials were given cushy army jobs. Had he just found out?

This is a rusfeti tradition that is as old as the National Guard. Do we really need to bring foreign experts to tell us what we all know because Odysseas wants to embarrass a state official he does not like? I cannot believe he only found out about army rusfeti just a few months ago.

THE CyBC, at long last, has a chairman – the academic Giorgos Kentas. An undesirable post, because of the power of the unions that have always run the show, the last chairman stepped down before his term was up, several months ago. That it remained empty for so long would suggest the prez had difficulty finding a sacrificial lamb.

Kentas may have been the tenth choice, but he is brave man. It remains to be seen how long he will last. On a positive note, Odysseas gave his approval to his appointment, for now.

STAYING on the issue of appointments, there was an unlawful one that Odysseas missed. Last week the administrative court ruled that the appointment of Nik the First’s koumera and former employee of his law office, Loukia Christodoulou, for a second term as president of the commission for the protection of competition was unlawful.

The law limited employment by the commission to ten years, which Christdoulou had served before being given a second term as president. Now all the fines imposed under her illegal second term will have to be returned. The cattle breeders association will be paid back some €1.5 million after raising the illegality in court. Others are soon to demand the return of the cash they paid in fines.

Christodoulou, who has been milking the taxpayer for more than 20 years in her role as a lifetime appointee to state posts, with the help of her mentor Nik, was last month given a post as member of the public service commission for a five-year stint.

COMMISSIONER for gender equality, Josie Christodoulou, has plans to tackle prostitution, she told Phil in an interview last Sunday. Christodoulou seems to be an old school feminist, who patronizingly believes that all sex workers are victims, forced into the job.

Her plan “is to criminalise the buying of sex services, that is the customer, and, in parallel, offer women comprehensive programmes for exiting prostitution.” The programmes relate to offering shelter and psychological support to these women and envisage their training so they could enter the job market, she said.

How can you criminalise the buying of sex when there are women and men prepared to sell sex services? And will the commissioner guarantee the women she forces to exit prostitution, because she personally objects to it, that they will get better paid and more enjoyable jobs when they enter the labour market?

I can think of a lot of jobs that would be a downgrade on sex work, but I will not mention them in case I infuriate public employees.