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Show of despair at lack of options.



WE WERE treated to 48 hours of merciless decisiveness by our comrade leader, in the last week. In those 48 hours he showed more drive and poise than in the previous three years put together.

Wednesday lunch-time, he sent Marios Garoyian and his party of principled opportunists packing, refusing to satisfy the Cyprob conditions they had set for staying in the government alliance. DIKO suddenly decided it no longer wanted to play the 'force of stability and responsibility' and wanted to have some fun slamming the comrade.

Thursday afternoon he gave his proposals to the union bosses and the only reason a deal was not announced was reportedly, because they asked for a few days to consider the suggestions relating to the pensions' scheme. They will meet again on Tuesday.

And finally, early Friday morning, not only was the new cabinet announced, but he also appointed someone to take charge of the secretariat for the EU presidency, which has been headless for almost two months.

All this in less than 48 hours -- no wonder some people who saw him, found that he looked rather ill. So many decisions in such little time were bound to take their toll on someone who does not like his decision-making to be subject to asphyxiating time-frames.

A pity Friday's meeting with Eroglu was cancelled, because the 48-hour decisiveness virus could have led to substantive progress. By the time they meet again, he will probably have been cured.

WE SHOULD not underestimate the difficulty he encountered in forming a new cabinet. He had wanted a more representative cabinet, featuring several well-known, non-party personalities, to show that he could still get the great and the good on his side, but almost everyone who was approached, turned the offer down.

As we had predicted a couple of weeks ago, there would not be too many individuals, with a brain, who would consider a ministerial post in the Tof government a plus for their CV or their social status. How things change -- until a few years ago, there were Cypriots prepared to have both their balls chopped off for a ministerial post, now nobody wants it.

Five of the 11 ministers remained the same; two (Erato and Eliades) were moved to other ministries. Of the six newcomers, two (Antoniadou and Malas) belong to the tiny United Democrats party and were unsuccessful AKEL candidates in May, one is from EDEK (Flourentzos), one is a dyed-in-the-wool Akelite (Kazamias) while the political background of the other two (Aletraris and Demosthenous) is unknown.

All I can say is that Demosthenous, the new education minister, who was vice-dean of Frederick University, has the looks of an Akelite -- a mild version of Sylikiotis.

There are now three female ministers -- a record for a Cyprus cabinet -- which makes the government more representative in one respect and the comrade a crypto-feminist.

OUR FRIEND Charilaos looked like he had just won 10 million euro at the palazzo on Friday, when he went for the handing over ceremony. Smiling and relaxed, he was no longer the haggard and super-stressed man of a week ago. He even staged a small act of rebellion, arriving at the palazzo in an open-neck shirt.

Asked by some hacks, on his way out whether he was going on holiday, he cheerily said "I am leaving now to go to Protaras." He did not reply when asked if he was wearing his swimming costume under his suit trousers.

Charilaos will now be able to write the book about his experiences as a government minister; he has been taking notes throughout his ministerial career and has many funny tales to tell about the bankrupt economic policies he had to sell to the public on the instructions of his boss.

HIS SUCCESSOR, Kikis Kazamias was an appointment of last resort, the comrade having failed to persuade former finance minister, Michalis Sarris, to take the poisoned chalice. Sarris had set several conditions for accepting the appointment.

One of the conditions sounded too absurd for words -- DIKO had to be part of the government. Why? Did he think Antonis Paschalides was irreplaceable or did he feel Garoyian's moral authority was essential for a rational rusfeti policy?

Apparently, he told the comrade, through Kikis Lazarides acting as his agent, he did not want to be a minister in a one-party government. He is a polite guy, Sarris, and did not want to break the comrade's heart by saying that he did not want to serve in a one-communist party government.

THE COMRADE grudgingly appointed Kazamias because he could not find anyone else. Kazamias was never a hard-line commie -- he was head of a big co-op bank and served for six years at the European Court of Auditors. He does not even talk or look like a true Akelite; in reality he is as an Akelite-lite.

He had fallen out of favour with the comrade for failing to toe the party line in the 2004 referendum; he also had the decency to resign from his ministerial post in the Ethnarch's government at the time because he supported the A-plan. Comrade Tof had held this dissident behaviour against Kikis and barely spoke to him.

That he had to turn to Kikis was an indication of his despair at his lack of options for finance.

WE DO NOT know what the comrade discussed or agreed with the union bosses at Thursday's meeting, but the rumours of significant progress are very worrying.

Only two days earlier, the miserable, moaning boss of the parasites, Hadjimourmouris, told his union EGM that the government should increase VAT to improve public finances rather than cut the pay and benefits of his bloodsucking members. This would ensure the unemployed and the poorest workers became poorer as they would be paying higher VAT to make the wealthy parasites even wealthier (their two pay rises per year would be safeguarded).

Talk of significant progress is very worrying. The bloodsucker-in-chief would have agreed to make concessions only if the comrade promised to raise taxes. I have a better idea -- we private sector workers could just send our pay-checks directly to Pasydy at the end of each month and thus reduce the administrative cost of introducing new taxes and tax collection.

WHEN THE B of C issues a public statement, sounding the alarm about the state of the economy and imploring the government to take measures, it is obvious that total catastrophe is not very far away.

The negative publicity Kyproulla had received for the downgrades, bailout candidacy and government's inability to take measures, in all the respected, international business publications over the last two weeks, has terrified the head honchos of the B of C.

They know that Russian customers, who read these publications, could eventually get cold feet about our economy and banks and start withdrawing their money. I do not even want to think about what would happen in such a case.

But the legendary kolofardia (good fortune) of Kyproulla reared its pretty head on Thursday, when the yields on Spanish and Italian government bonds rose to alarming levels. The eurozone debt crisis hit centre stage and with fears that the US was heading for recession, by Friday, there was turmoil in global financial markets.

Nobody was talking about our tiny and inconsequential economy now that the big boys were in trouble, which must have put a smile on the faces of the head honchos of the B of C, for now. Hopefully the comrade president will not be made aware of this because he could postpone his proposed measures for the economy by a few months.

I REALLY did not expect the innocuous last item in last week's Coffeeshop to have provoked such an angry reaction from its subject, Akelite intellectual, Nicos Trimikliniotis, whom I had wrongly tipped for a ministerial post, after reading his obsequious pro-Christofias column in Politis.

My prediction was wrong, because I had not done my research. The truth is that Trimi fell out of favour with his great leader at the time of the referendum, and as we know the comrade never forgives those who have doubted him (unless he is looking for a finance minister) no matter how much flattery they subsequently direct at him.

Trimi took great offence, because I wrote that he was an Akelite intellectual and added that this was a contradiction in terms. He wrote the following indignant and didactic response on the Mail web-site:

"Instead of using libel to rubbish someone's arguments, it is advisable that you deal with arguments. Humour is a very cheap cold warrior tactic which carries no weight in democratic thinking. As for the cheap jibe about my role as an intellectual again, I note that this is libellous and unfounded, aiming to demean me in the eyes of people.

Why don't you deal with the arguments?"

IN RESPONSE I would like to say that I am entitled to my cheap opinion about 'Akelite intellectuals', who also take themselves way too seriously.

True, Trimi uses the intellectual's jargon in his articles, like 'post-colonial caste, socio-political, politico-ideological, politico-economical, capitalization, cannibalism, structurally formulated etc,' but I will stick to my prejudices, even with Trimi's libel threat hanging over my head.

In a message to a Trotskyite friend, in one of those community networks, Trimi wrote: "I merely claim to be what Gramsci would call an organic intellectual, articulating the views of the subaltern class." This was an eye opener, because until I came across this admission, I only knew of organic potatoes, organic carrots and organic kouloumbra.

I did not know there were organic intellectuals, as well, because I never saw one displayed in the vegetable section of Alpha-Mega.

LET'S GET serious and return Trimi's trials and tribulations. I disagree with his view of humour because I think humour and poking fun at things or people carries great weight in democratic thinking (at least 10kg per unit normally and 2kg if it is of the cheap cold warrior type, which is all we can afford in this recession).

I know that humour and making fun of things did not carry any weight in democratic thinking in the Soviet Union, GDR, Albania, but only an organic intellectual could explain why nobody wanted to have a laugh about governments in the Soviet Bloc.

I WILL NOW stop the cheap, cold warrior humour and respond to Trimi's questions included in his letter. He asked the following

'1. Why do you treat the Governor of the Bank as a Colonial Governor? Why aren't we allowed to criticise him?' You can criticize him all you want, but I also have the right to say your criticism is lame. Incidentally, I was not born when we had a colonial governor, so I never treated him.

'2. Do you agree with his (Governor's) statement about 1974, which was no ordinary blunder? Even Dr Pissarides disagreed with the comparison. (a) It was totally disrespectful to history and economic science and (b) it was essentially a political intervention at a moment where the opposition is pushing by all means, resorting to this very rhetoric.' I do not care about his statement about 1974, because the guy was using it to make people understand the scale of the economic catastrophe we are currently facing and not to belittle the suffering of the people back then. I am not an intellectual, organic or otherwise, but this was blatantly obvious to me

'3. Why can't we challenge these institutions of unchecked power?' Challenge them, by all means, but you would be more credible doing so, if you also challenged the institution of elected power -- the president -- instead of treating him like the head of the Kremlin.

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2011

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Article Type:Interview
Date:Aug 7, 2011
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