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Tales From the Coffeeshop Tof: the saviour of the institutions that screw poor people
WHO WOULD ever have thought that our Marxist-Leninist president would have agreed to all those unacceptable anti-worker measures proposed by the neo-liberal, colonialist loan sharks of the troika to save the ruthless representatives of capitalist exploitation – the banks.
Could there have been a worse humiliation for a communist ideologue who had devoted his life to championing the rights of the proletariat and made the creation of a fairer society the guiding light of his presidency, than to betray everything he stood for in order to rescue the hated banks.
It was the banks’ big problems that forced him to apply for financial assistance and invite the troika to the bankrupt sunshine isle in the first place, but it would never have occurred to him – not in his scariest nightmares – that he would end up acting as the saviour of institutions that make their profits from screwing poor people.
The future of Kyproulla’s banking system was in his hands on Thursday and he could have brought about its collapse by doing what he does best - nothing – but instead he spoke the magic words from Brussels. In a written statement, he said the government was ‘very close’ to an agreement with the troika in the hope of stopping the withdrawal of money from Laiki and it worked.
His action will have earned him a place in world history as the first ever communist leader who came to the rescue of the banks. He deserves world recognition for this.
IT GETS better. He was persuaded to save the banks – and the economy it should be said – by his former comrade, Professor Panicos Demetriades, whom he had appointed Governor of the Central Bank back in May in place of the shameless neo-liberal Athanasios Orphanides.
The professor, appointed for his left-wing economic views and the AKEL links of members of his family, turned out to be a big disappointment for the comrade, even though in the first few months of his Governorship he behaved like a true red Akelite.
He sidelined the members of the Orph regime, made an Akelite his second-in-command and zealously participated in the commies’ demonisation campaign against the banks. He even brought in consultancy firm Alvarez & Marsal to investigate the banks’ reckless decisions to find the guilty parties and surrender them to the AKEL lynch mob.
The investigators were also asked to find evidence of the inadequate supervision by Orph, so as to support the commies’ propaganda claim that he was to blame for the bank’s woes all the economy’s problems. The A&M investigation has not yet been completed.
Having been warned by the European Central Bank that the taps of emergency liquidity assistance would be turned off if we did not sign a bailout and seeing the government building public opposition to the troika he decided to act.
To his credit, he forgot his debt to AKEL for his cushy, highly-paid job and did everything he could to prevent the collapse of the whole system including standing up to the autocratic comrade who only has time for yes-men.
THE PROFESSOR recruited the help of the DISY Fuhrer, and made public pleas for the immediate signing of a bailout and privately tried to persuade the obstinate comrade to get the deal with the troika done.
Nothing worked until Thursday morning, when he was informed that millions of deposits were being withdrawn from Laiki Bank putting it under severe pressure. A panicking Panicos contacted the comrade in Brussels and the fear of being debited with a banking collapse, and all its devastating consequences finally helped him make up his mind.
For the first time in his term in office, the comrade acted decisively. He immediately issued a statement, saying the government and the troika were ‘very close’ to a deal. On Thursday evening it was reported from Brussels that an agreement had been reached with the troika, which was not, strictly speaking, true but it served to calm nerves and rule out the possibility of a bank run.
The panicking Panicos had finally gotten through to the comrade, even though his actions – fraternising with the Fuhrer and speaking out in public against the government’s indecision – meant the he is now, officially, out of favour, struck off the list of the comrade’s trusted yes-men.
THE COMRADE will find it very difficult to come to terms with Panicos’ betrayal. He said so at Wednesday’s farcical presidential palace meeting with the party leaders during which he attacked both the Governor and his detested finance minister Vasos Shiarly.
In one his outbursts the comrade reportedly said with a degree of bitterness and condescension, “First we had Thanasis (Orphanides), now we have Panicos.” He is cursed to have a Central Bank Governor that would cause him grief.
The irony is that both Governors he managed to fall out with had impeccable AKEL credentials. Thanasis was from a bona fide AKEL family while Panicos’ grandfather was known as The Bolshevik. Why do these sons of the big AKEL family denounce the party once they sit in the Central Bank Governor’s chair?
Who poisons their minds and turns them against the Party? Thanasis may have been the victim of brain-washing while working in the US, but Panicos had preserved his left-wing prejudices while in the UK. Could it be that once he got to know Akelites better he decided he did not want to have anything to do with them, especially as they would be out of power in three months?
I CANNOT hide my admiration for the commies’ propaganda machinery. A few hours after the comrade had capitulated, agreeing to shaft the public parasites as the troika had been demanding, they were praising him for securing the best possible terms.
The resistance offered by the government in negotiations had yielded positive results, their spokesmen argued. We achieved a better bailout thanks to the brilliant negotiating of our government which had proved how wrong the opposition parties were in calling for the signing of deal without a fight.
“Once again it was proved that this government does not give in easily and it defends with vigour the conquests and rights of the working people,” trumpeted the party mouthpiece in an editorial. The unions were not so impressed with the governemnt’s defence of their members’ conquests and rights.
As Hadjiklamouris pointed out, after being briefed by the labour ministry about the bailout’s provisions, the workers “were slaughtered”. Then again, expressing gratitude is not something the chief public parasite is known for.
THE HAGGLING with the troika completely overshadowed the visit of Big Bad Al. Both leaders snubbed the cocktail party he gave for diplomatic missions at Chateau Status.
Eroglu did not go because Al had not invited his overlord, Turkey’s ambassador, while the comrade claimed he was busy dealing with the troika. But Tof could not have been so busy if he had time to go to Psevdas, on the day of the reception, for the opening ceremony of another village periptero.
Nevertheless, Al did manage to attract some negative press, by saying that the solution of the Cyprob would be a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation or something else. This incensed the supporters of the BBF at Phil, which headlined its story “Downer bomb regarding the basis for solution.”
PRESIDENTIAL candidate Yiorkos Lillikas, aka Tsipras Mark II, seized the opportunity to have a go at the Turk-loving Aussie. But if he wants anyone to take notice of his bash-patriotic posturing he should show a little more originality. Dismissing Al’s statements as “provocative and unacceptable” is just so lazy and boring.
Everyone uses these exact adjectives as soon as Al opens his mouth. Lillikas, who claims he is different from the rest of the politicians, must think of better adjectives. His predictability does not end there. He also urged the government to demand the immediate replacement of Al, because “he undermines our national interests and with his behavior he promotes the objectives of Ankara.”
The funny thing is that Yiorkos, when he is not playing the national saviour, likes to think of himself as a great communications strategist. If he were he may have known that repeating the exact same boring platitudes people have heard millions of times is not a very smart communications ploy.
I MUST say I feel sorry for poor old Ethnarch Junior who is destroying all the good work he has done in the last couple of years, as a tough critic of the Tof government’s suicidal economic policies. He is now running the risk of destroying the image he built by insisting on supporting Tsipras’ the Second’s presidential candidacy.
This week he was on the radio urging the government to sign a bailout immediately, because the alternative would be catastrophic. But he is also backing Lillikas who is fanatically opposed to the signing of a bailout. Attacking the government for not signing a bailout, while supporting a candidate, who opposes signing a bailout, seems a bit schizophrenic.
IT IS NOT only the banks that need a bailout. The Orphanides supermarket chain could also have done with a big injection of cash, but its survival is not considered essential to the smooth functioning of the economy, at least by the IMF.
The company is set to go into administration, but at present its two biggest creditors, Laiki and the BofC, are bickering over the identity of the administrator. Both banks want to keep the company afloat because if it sank they stood to lose huge amounts of money, not to mention the chain’s hundreds of creditors who would go down with it.
THE GOOD news is that there are only 91 days left of the communist presidency that sacrifices the rights of the workers in order to keep the banks in business.