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Tales from the Coffeeshop: Sensitive one man show talks to society

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides
Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides

NOW WE know why our bearded Prez never turns down an invitation to be the guest of honour at an event. It is not because he hates office work, like reading mega-boring policy briefs which require making decisions. That is not his favourite activity.

He revealed the reason for the touring one-man show that is always on the road, in an interview he gave to Phil, published last Sunday. It is not enough that he makes speeches and statements to hacks every single day – often twice a day – he still felt that he needed to give the interview and prove that he can produce platitudes 24/7. Unlike the Almighty, he never rests.

He came under criticism, he told the paper, because “I continue to have contact with the people, go to events and respond positively to invitations I receive.” But the criticism would not stop the never-ending Nik roadshow, he said defiantly.

“I will continue doing this because I want to keep up my contact with society. Because I am interested in people, and going to all these events I listen to society, and hear the worries, the concerns, its expectations, and this, for me, is the most important… I am accountable daily to society, with which I will not stop my contact.”

I just hope society, in its daily contacts with him, will ask him to shave that awful beard.

 

YOU HAVE to admire the energy and drive of the man for keeping his one-man show on the road for so long. He has been on the go for longer than a year, having started with the election campaign, when touring was much more intensive.

Lesser men would have run out of adrenaline and the desire to schmooze with society after a year of this punishing schedule and collapsed with exhaustion.  Others would have lost the will to live after being in contact with society every day and seeing the kind of morons it is made up of.

But not our Nik, who must be powered by Duracell batteries. In the last week he went to Tsada (to unveil a monument) on Sunday, hosted a volunteer group at the palace on Monday, unveiled a monument in Achna on Tuesday, attended the opening of a business in Limassol on Wednesday, before hosting a dinner for a charity at the palace. On Thursday he boarded a French frigate in Mari and went to a ceremony to honour a patients’ activist before attending an evening reception. On Friday he was back in Limassol to address the annual meeting of PWC.

He flew to New York on Saturday and sadly, will not be able to listen to society at Sunday’s Trachanas and Halloumi Festival in Meniko, to which he had been invited.

 

DESPITE the daily contact with society, Nik II has chosen not to listen to its worries about rising prices and completely ignored its demands for the re-introduction of the government’s subsidy of all electricity bills and the reduced tax on car fuel.

Despite being “particularly sensitive” to these issues and maintaining the “human-centric” model of government, he would be snubbing society on this point because “as a government we have the responsibility of the correct management of the economy.”

Difficult to disagree with him, especially after his government’s lavish spending, but the snub seems to expose the folly of listening to society too often. For serious things, such as the rebranding of Kyproulla, he will put society aside and hire experts.

He told the PWC conference on Friday that he had “a very inspirational meeting” with Blair Sheppard, a global leader in strategy and leadership, who agreed to work with the government “to create a new narrative for Cyprus.” Are we going to stop being a victim of invasion and occupation in the new narrative of Sensitive Human-centric Kyproulla?

 

IN REBRANDED countries, when businesspeople hear the finance minister talking about “great sensitivities” influencing policymaking because the government was human-centric, they would wind down operations, close their bank accounts and move to another place.

It suffices to say that the Co-ops that had a human-centric banking model went bust.

Makis Keravnos had no qualms about frightening the business community by repeating the government’s mantra this week, while defending the decision not to introduce more measures (not even targeted) to help people deal with rising prices, even though society was expecting it.

He placed coffee and sugar on the zero VAT list, something that would save households, at most, a couple of euros a month as well as doing a reverse Robin Hood – stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

The government decision to cut the levy on interest earnings from 30 per cent to 17, will cost the taxpayer €16m, which could have been used for targeted measures for those in need, would give a higher income to people with very big deposits in the bank. Keravnos’ great sensitivities extend to the richest members of society.

 

SPEAKING of coffee and sugar, I hope the government will do something about the refusal of the international chains like Costa to make the traditional frappe, which is part of our Greek heritage. Proof of this is that in the occupied north they cannot make a frappe.

Admittedly, we have bastardised it in Kyproulla by making it ‘all milk’, which is unheard of in the rest of Hellenism, but this is no reason for the chains not to serve it.

Some say it is because a frappe has to be priced cheaper than an ice latte and fredo espresso and is therefore not worth selling. Others claim that the chains do not want to buy Nescafe, essential for a frappe, when they have their own coffee brands, which are not frappe-friendly.

Regardless of their reasons, the frappe is part of our national identity and must be respected. I hope society will bring up this matter when it next meets the prez, after his return from the Big Apple.

 

TWO DIKO deputies were so angry about Prez Nik II’s decision to have the picture of Makarios removed from the wall above the fireplace, in the presidential palace room in which the prez meets his guests, that they wrote a letter of complaint to him.

Zacharias Kulias and Christos Orphanides, wrote that they were saddened to learn about the removal of Makarios’ picture and “believe that this action contributes to the stirring of tragic situations and does not promote unity and forgetting.”

The presidential palace did not respond to this idiocy, but if it did it should ask Koulias whether he has a picture of Makarios, or at least Diko founder Spy Kyp, in the living room of his own house.

How are we going to rebrand Kyproulla if we revere Makarios like Iran worships Ayatollah Khomeini?

 

SPEAKING of former presidents, what is the difference between Nik I and ET? ET wants to go home. Nik I, in sharp contrast, refuses to go home, constantly looking for a role that will put him back in the limelight, because he needs the attention, without which life is not worth living.

In an interview with Phil two weeks ago, he said he would undertake initiatives to reunify Disy, which he played a key role in dividing. He was also pushing for Disy to join the government.

Last week, in order to get him out of her hair, Disy chief Annita Demetriou, set up a ‘presidential council,’ a joke body, made up of former party leaders, deputies and MEPs to ‘informally’ advise the party leader. This was a smart and polite way of neutralising Nik and restricting his meddling, as he refuses to go home and stay home.

 

CONGRATULATIONS to education minister Athena Michaelidou, for making it clear that gender identity will not be included in the sex education classes at public schools. The minister did not mince her words when asked about ‘gender identity’ on Rik radio, explaining that Cyprus was not ready for this issue which was never in the curriculum.

Many parents, some urged by lunatic priests, were afraid that kids would be encouraged to change gender, something that has been happening in schools in developed countries, but Michaelidou put paid to such fears.

She was even backed by Archbishop Georgios who, surprisingly, gave his full support to sex education at public schools, although what is taught at schools should be none of the Church’s business in a supposedly a secular state.

 

THE NATIONAL socialists of Edek came up with a quite brilliant idea for increasing the tax revenue of the state and thus allowing it to subsidise fuel.

It proposed that every car at the checkpoint should be inspected and only if its fuel tank gauge showed that it is three quarters full, would it be allowed to cross. If there is less fuel, the driver would have two choices – return to the free areas and fill it up to three quarters or pay €500 and cross.

The measure would allow the state to regain lost revenue and also stop the financial support of the occupation regime, said Edek, omitting to mention that it would also violate the EU’s Green Line regulation. We can worry about that if and when Edek’s great idea is embraced by society and communicated to the prez.

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