IF PREZ Nik II had meticulously planned to turn his cabinet reshuffle into a colossal cockup, he would not have done it half as well as he did by relying on his talent for improvisational blundering. He succeeded in making a bad situation worse, by fixing a blunder with an even bigger one.

In the end the reshuffle was a tour de force of ineptitude, but as his list of embarrassments grew longer, he decided to play the victim card and make the public feel sorry for him. His government was the target of the forces of conservatism that did not want the ‘new’ that he would bring.

“When the old changes, the resistance, of all those accustomed to it or served by it, is great,” he said at the swearing in ceremony for his new ministers. He called on his ministers to leave ‘the old’ to carry on its resistance and to “work without expecting any reward”. Just like he had done when he joined Nik I’s government in 2013.

Nobody bought the victim card he played, the negative write-ups increasing even in the media that supported him, after he tried to blame hacks for his self-inflicted embarrassments.

HIS CHEERLEADERS in Phil all turned against him, savagely tearing into him for the way he handled the reshuffle.

One columnist, Giorgos Kallinikou, wrote five articles in a row last week which were vitriolic attacks on the self-proclaimed victim for his failure in choosing ministers, for completely ignoring his election pledges, for lying, for lacking courage and for being supported only by people that want something in exchange. He also mocked Nik’s claim of representing the ‘new’. “What has been circulating in the last 10 months is the old, disguised as the new,” he wrote before lamenting that “the king is naked.”

Even the paper’s chief editor, Aristos Michaelides, took a break from attacking the Turks in his columns to have a dig at the Prez, writing that “nothing has changed,” and that in “10 months only the faces have changed.”

There was much more. On Thursday, the day’s four columnists all pilloried him. They came across like scorned lovers, betrayed by the man they had foolishly believed in. I have not been touched by similar feelings of betrayal because as our establishment’s regulars know, our expectations of Nik were extremely low, and he has not disappointed us.

THERE was always a big chasm between what he said and what he did, even though his cheerleaders at Phil have only just found about it.

He would not appoint as ministers people that served in other governments – with the addition of professional hanger-on of governments, Vassilis Palmas, there are three. Women would be equally represented in the cabinet – after the reshuffle they were reduced from three to two out of 11. No front-line party members would be in the government – he appointed the vice-president of Diko at health and the former head of Edek’s press office at the halloumi ministry.

And as the clueless Mini Me reminded us on Monday the Prez put an emphasis on appointing people “with technocratic knowledge in relation to the portfolio they will be given”. So, he got rid of Thoktor Popi Kanari, who had technocratic knowledge of health and replaced her with a front-line Diko member, who is a lawyer and has none.

Thoktor Kanari, despite her Covidian weakness, seemed a pretty capable minister, but she committed the cardinal sin of falling out with her permanent secretary, Thoktor Christina Yiannaki, the real power at the health ministry, thanks to her unparallelled rusfetology skills. She is the epitome of the ‘old’ that Nik II wants to change, even though he sided with her over ‘new’, whom he hang out to dry.

ΠτΔ – Εγκαίνια ανακαινισμένου μόν

Christodoulides had urged ministers to ‘close your ears to the sirens, that is what I do, all types of sirens’

ANOTHER criticism voiced by Phil columnists against the hapless Prez was a literary reference he made to Homer at the swearing-in ceremony. He had urged ministers to “close your ears to the sirens, that is what I do, all types of sirens.”

The columnists assumed he was referring to the sirens in the Odyssey, which sang so beautifully they lured passers-by and then destroyed them. Odysseus ordered his men to tie him to the mast of the ship and to stuff their ears with wax so they would not hear the sirens singing.

Likening hacks that criticise the government to sirens made no sense, but it could be that the Prez was not referring to Homer’s sirens, but to police sirens. Whatever the case, it should not matter as the Prez rarely means what he says.

THE SOVIET relic of the Cold War era, the Pancyprian Peace Council, will stage a demonstration outside the British base of Akrotiri, against the British bases which are being used to fly war supplies to Israel in its war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

You would take these former stooges of the Soviet Union a bit more seriously if they condemned all wars, but they are moved only if the West is involved. When Russian fighters were mercilessly bombing Syrian towns (not dissimilar to what Israel has been doing in the Gaza Strip) the Pancyprian Peace Council saw no reason for a demonstration calling for a cessation of the attacks. And it has still not demonstrated outside the Russian embassy to protest against the invasion of Ukraine, after two years of war.

Akel, predictably, has called its sheep to join the demonstration to condemn “the air raids being conducted from the British bases in support of the military operations in Gaza and Yemen”.

The commies and peace council are also concerned about the Houthis, who have been attacking cargo ships and tankers in the Red Sea, causing huge disruption to world shipping. How is peace served by suggesting the Houthi attacks on commercial ships should be allowed to continue undisturbed?

BACK in November, CyBC radio went big with a story claiming that a top manager of a state service had slapped a subordinate in front of several people. There was endless moralising about the matter and demands for action against the manager, while the recipient also appeared on the radio show to talk about this humiliating experience.

The alleged victim said he had reported the case to the police and claimed there were three witnesses in the room when he was slapped. Two months after this outrage, the alleged assailant has still not been called in by police to give a statement or to be told that she would be charged. Considering there were witnesses at the scene this should be a straightforward case.

What is taking so long? It is time for the authoritative state broadcaster to do a follow-up report especially as, according to the CyBC presenter, this was an “unacceptable” case of “work intimidation and bullying”? Otherwise, we might be led to believe that the story was intended to intimidate and bully the high-ranking civil servant, brought in to carry out a disciplinary investigation of a CyBC manager, everyone at the corporation, including board members, were afraid to investigate.

COMMISSIONER for Gender Equality, Josie Christodoulou, welcomed the approval by the cabinet of the National Strategy for Gender Equality for a three-year period up to 2026.

She said the strategy “constitutes a powerful tool for the implementation of the horizontal incorporation of the dimension of gender in state policies”. It was a “political guideline document for the promotion of gender equality at all ministries, which included a total of 13 thematic unities with 66 targeted and implementable actions”.

Her announcement was issued on the day the new cabinet met and approved the strategy, with just two female members. There were three before the reshuffle, but the Prez probably could not find the tool for the implementation of the horizontal incorporation of the dimension of gender in the cabinet.

THE UNSG’s personal envoy is expected to arrive in Kyproulla by the end of the month. I am informed by a customer with friends in Colombia that we would not be expected to write out all of her four names when referring to her, but only three of them.

Maria Angela is essential as it is the tradition for women in Colombia to have double first names with Maria in front, as is Holguin, which is the surname from the father. The Cuellar is not necessary.

MARIA ANGELA Holgiun might not have arrived yet but Phil’s columnist Costas Venizelos, who is seized by paranoia as soon there is the slightest hint of a peace process materialising, has started warning that the Greek Cypriots would be forced to agree to a settlement, as if there is any probability of this happening.

It is a pre-emptive strike. Before even Holguin arrived, Venizelos warned on Saturday that there were already calls for the Greek Cypriots to accept everything – the Guterres framework, timeframes and arbitration, which he claims will be assigned to the hated Brits. And worst of all, there will be no referendum, but the settlement will be approved by the legislature.

In a momentary contact with reality, he conceded, that “we have, obviously, not reached this point yet,” but there are “some preparing the ground”. He did not name the traitors but said that “the usual suspects always have solutions to offer.”

He belongs to the camp of usual suspects that are always on a mission to nip in the bud any prospective peace initiative. I am happy to see he is already on the job.