Having lived in Cyprus for nearly five years and taken a keen interest in the politics of this idyllic country, I find that I am increasingly reminded of the UK before Margaret Thatcher became prime minister. In those days the trade unions were the ruling bodies in the UK and the country’s productivity and economy suffered as a result: who remembers the three-day week and the horrendous problems faced by manufacturers when workers would down tools at the slightest provocation?

From what I see, Cyprus is in that same situation: we have a ridiculously large, overpaid and inefficient bureaucracy, the standard of teaching is well below what it should be, all attempts to open up the power market have, so far, been thwarted and every large infrastructure project seems to be doomed to failure or endless delays.

The only thing that will cure this malaise is a president and government who are prepared to stand up to the unions, as did Thatcher. I’m certainly not suggesting that the unions should be destroyed as she did, but there should be a balance between the rights of the workers and the needs of the population as a whole. Currently the balance all seems to be one way: in favour of the unions and this is not healthy for the country or the economy.
Is there a politician out there who will stand up the unions and restore a balance of power? Sadly I doubt it – unless there is a Cypriot Thatcher waiting in the wings somewhere!

Adrian Woolcott