Tales from the Coffeeshop: Fantasies of a geo-political midget.
CONFUSION surrounds the future of the man we all love to hate Big Bad Al. Has he abandoned the golf courses of Kyproulla for good or will be returning for another round on the grassless greens of the buffer zone, in the not too distant future?
We have been hearing conflicting messages all week, with newspapers in the north first breaking the story of his departure on Wednesday, the day he returned to Kyproulla for some putting practice and to check how the lack of progress on the drafting of the joint declaration was progressing.
This information was preceded by press reports that Al was in a big sulk over the unflattering comments made by Prez Nik in interviews he gave to Antenna and Politis accusing the Aussie of being biased and having lost the trust of the majority of the people and political parties.
Hard to believe that a thick-skinned, bruiser like Al, who is no stranger to nasty political scraps, could have turned all sensitive and was behaving like a big baby. However hacks who love putting a melodramatic spin on the news were convinced that hurt feelings was the reason he had not arrived on Monday.
Big baby Al waited for nasty Nik to leave for London, before arriving because he did not want to meet him last Monday as had been scheduled, hacks reported.
THE UNFICYP spokesman, said nothing about Al's alleged sulking or his fragile ego, but issued a rather lame denial about the Aussie's reported walk-out. He said: "I have asked Mr Downer and he told me that his contract has just been renewed (for another six months)."
But what would stop him breaking his contract if a more attractive job came along? There has been talk that he would be given a top ambassadorial posting, with the Washington job soon to be available -- the current ambassador will have completed four years in his post next month.
Ambassador to Washington is the dream job for every diplomat and there is no way Big Bad Baby Al would turn it down -- if it was offered to him -- in order to carry on being our whipping boy and conducting peace talks, with a warranty for failure.
The Cyprob may have enabled many local losers and opportunists to have glowing, lucrative political careers, but it has been "a graveyard for foreign diplomats", as one foreigner astutely pointed out.
The choice between the Washington embassy and the Cyprob graveyard is a no-brainer. And this before he takes into account the higher pay, better social life and emphatically superior golf course of the US.
ALL THIS could be media speculation, a case of wishful thinking by Greek Cypriot hacks and politicians that have been calling for Al's removal for years. Our Turkish Cypriot brothers, wasted no time in taking the moral high ground, blaming our side for forcing Al to give up.
But would a guy with an ego as big as that of Al's quit and thus give the moral satisfaction to the pack of wolves that had been publicly abusing him and demanding his sacking? That would be an admission of defeat, which is not something you'd expect from a hard nut like the Aussie, even if he is prone to occasionally sulking.
Then again, leaving aside the press reports, there is one sign that suggests Al is leaving for pastures new -- Nik's merciless public attacks. He would not have been so scathing about the special envoy's lack of impartiality if he did not know that he was on the way out.
He may have seen this as cheap and easy way to post his new-found, hard-line, nationalist credentials and impress the bash-patriots Omirou, Junior and Perdikis, who had been accusing him at National Council meetings of being too soft in his handling of the joint declaration. With his outbursts that hurt Big Baby Al's feelings, Nik has now joined the Viagra hard-liners.
THE SPEECH he made at the London School of Economics during his triumphant visit to the UK hinted at the government's brave new thinking. The Cyprob could go to hell, we have now discovered our geo-strategic importance and officially unveiled our plans to become a regional energy centre, that will bring together neighbouring countries in order to exploit hydrocarbons.
We could become 'a catalyst' for something or other declared Nik, repeating the grand theories about strategic energy alliances expounded by his foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides. Even government spokesman Christos Stylianides spoke about the "important geo-political role" Kyproulla would play in the eastern Mediterranean.
The great brains behind this genius plan belong to ultra-hard-liner, Ambassador Tasos Tzionis, former right hand man of the Ethnarch and currently in charge of the energy desk at the foreign ministry, who unveiled his theory in a an interview with Phil some three weeks ago. Tzionis reckons the Cyprob could be solved through strategic co-operations on natural gas, rather than through peace talks, by Kyproulla using its "geo-political position".
This would be achieved by the forging of an energy axis with Greece, Egypt and Israel says Tzionis. And when this happens the Turks will be begging us to take back Kyrenia without any negotiations.
TZIONIS' geo-political fantasies have made him the darling of the hard-line hacks, who have been extolling his intellectual prowess, ever since he unleashed his plans for regional domination, and bemoaning the fact that he had been marginalised for so long.
They were even crediting him for the deal struck with the British government over the bases, as he had negotiated the deal. The reality is that Tzionis would have been negotiating until his retirement if the government had not taken the political decision for an agreement and ordered him to finalise it. The negotiations had been going on inconclusively since the Ethnarch's reign, neither the late Tassos nor the twit Tof wanting to sign a deal with the back-stabbing Brits.
ONLY Yiorkos Lillikas took a stand against the bases deal because he identified the possibility that Brits would buy up all the land, become the majority within the bases, then have a referendum and vote to become part of Britain, as happened in Gibraltar.
"The danger of turning the bases into a colony is visible," warned Lillikas. Surely his bash-patriotic soul-mate Tzionis would have included provisions in the agreement preventing this from happening. There must be some competition between the two because on Friday Yiorkos came up with an alternative master-plan for bringing Turkey to her knees.
"We need a strategy that would render other strategic targets of Turkey unattainable, so that she would be forced into a dilemma and abandon her expansionist designs against our country." It would be too easy to have a strategy directly aimed at forcing Turkey abandoning her expansionist strategy. At least, he did not mention the word geo-political.
IN THE END our fearless deputies were too scared to deprive the mega-parasites of their state limos and approved a pathetic bill, the regulations of which would be drafted by the finance ministry that would have to decide which officials would have a state limo and whether they could use them when not working.
It was deputies that made all the fuss in the first place, expressing outrage at the scandalous state of affairs but after the countless complaints they received from mega-parasites, terrified of life without a state limo, they decided to do change nothing. They did include one rusfeti provision -- according to their law, the deputy Attorney-General was entitled to a state limo.
The deputy AG Rikkos Erotokritou lives in Limassol, so they decided it was only fair that the taxpayer paid for his transport to work and back. But by what logic does an assistant state official get a car but not a higher-ranking official like the Accountant-General? Is it because she is woman that is not from Limassol or because she does not have the rusfeti-power of Rikkos?
ONE OF the most outspoken critics of the limo scam, was Ethnarch Junior, but he has drastically scaled down his outrage since becoming DIKO leader, presumably because defending the privileges of mega-parasites is part of the job description.
On Friday he was speaking on the radio, defending the privilege of former presidents of the republic and of the legislatures to have a state limo. It is a form of respect for their services to the country, he argued, especially as former presidents still attended National Council meetings. Would they not be allowed into the meeting if they arrived in their own car?
So why do former presidents of the House, who do not attend National Council meetings, have a state limo? This was another rusfeti law approved for the benefit of leading mega- parasite Dr Faustus, who did not want to pay for his own car when he stepped down as House president in 1991. He also gets three grand a month for secretarial services and has a 10-strong security detail, because even at 94 he likes to play the warlord.
ALL OUR mega-parasites could do worse than follow the example set by France's socialist president Francois Hollande. I am not suggesting they should find a gorgeous-looking and sexy mistress as Hollande has done (this would be beyond them and they would probably pass a law entitling them to sex services paid for by the taxpayer).
Hollande travels the busy streets of Paris on a moped. If a moped is good enough form of transport for the president of France it should be good enough for all the mega-parasites of Kyproulla. Sometimes he sits at the back of the moped with a cop at the front but occasionally he rides it on his own.
It just goes to show that you do not need a flash limo to pull a super-attractive woman, when you have Hollande's looks.
SPEAKING of looks, we have to mention the Cyprus University academic Andreas Kapardis, who uses as much hair dye as RIK news boss Yiannis Kareklas. Kapardis, a criminologist, appeared on TV shows to give his views about the situation at the Nicosia Central Prisons.
I found it peculiar that he was never asked about his own experience as director of the Central Prisons. Kapardis had served as director in the early nineties but disappeared one day without informing anyone. After several days, it was revealed that he had returned to Australia. It is bit rich for someone who did a runner because he could not cope with the problems of the prison to now give lessons on how these should be tackled.
A CUSTOMER who always has a Nescafe with milk and two sugars, but rarely visits since moving to Limassol sent us a brief report of his experience at Hellenic Bank the other day.
Today I went into the branch I have been using for the past seven years to fill out a change of address form. (I've been using a PO Box number in Nicosia.) The teller insisted I needed to provide a Cyta or utility bill to prove I live at the new address.
I asked why, given I've been banking with them for decade, the staff recognise me, they have my signature etc on file, and have allowed me to deposit/withdraw thousands of euros with no problem, the bank thinks I would lie and supply a false address for my statements. And what would be the point?
"It's the bank policy," she told me. Upon raising the issue with the manager who was listening, she pointed out that many businesses required proof of residence, adding: "I went to open a new video store account yesterday and they wanted proof."
Now we see on what Hellenic bases its security decisions.
Our customer even came up with a headline for his story. 'Hellenic. They put the Hell into banking.'
SPEAKING of banks, things are not looking good for Governor of the Central Bank Professor Panicos. He is suffering from vertigo, a condition that may be related to the rumours that the Attorney-General would press charges against him. The professor is aware of the situation and has a posse of lawyers advising him. Is Panicos paying their fees or will we end up footing his legal costs as well?
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