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From Frank disappointment to corruption crusade

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It was easy to be distracted this week. The European Union picked a fight with AstraZeneca, more life-saving vaccines coming online and the Cyprus government suddenly growing a conscience about corruption.

There was also news Lockdown II would be gradually lifted over the coming weeks with shops opening from February 8, but the curfew remains.

We will also be stuck at home for a good month more with a text message our only friend in the wilderness.

While the government was imploring us to behave as everyone has COVID-19, it wanted to make us aware of graft in public life.

Cypriots might act dumb when it suits them. They do not need a wealthy lawyer schooled in the art of dirty Cyprus politics to deliver the gospel on corruption.

President Anastasiades thinks he is doing us all a favour by preaching the virtues of accountability, responsibility, and civic duty.

These are the kinds of things that get you into trouble because the establishment is not made that way and he knows.

Rather than imitating Trump in harping on about fake news, media bias and slander merchants in the Opposition camp, why not change the system, deliver justice and judge people on merit.

What is the purpose of going on national TV to tell Cypriots what they already know – the system is loaded against them.

Nepotism, backhanders, sexism, inefficiency and inequality of wealth and opportunity are what drives this country.

Painting yourself as the cape crusader against corruption, bashing everyone into shape is not plausible.

Anastasiades didn’t create the system. He is part of the establishment that benefits from its deliberately designed dysfunctionality.

Anyone can come up with fancy ideas and declare they are going to change the world.

Many unkind critics would suggest the government only feels the need to transform the landscape because it has become toxic with nuclear fallout from the ‘golden passports’ debacle.

It didn’t bother the government that Cyprus was dubbed an island backwater infested with pirates, thieves, and bandits – in other countries, they are called something else.

Corruption thrives because it is tolerated, even expected.

If people believe they can’t get jobs in the public sector based on their talent, qualifications or work ethic, how can they trust a government claiming to make things better?

According to the sermon from the mount; there will be crack anti-corruption task force units keeping tabs on every shady public official making a dishonest living.

Whistleblowers will be protected, or you can simply pick up the phone to report dodgy deals.

Cypriots on the coalface of daily life, experience how justice does not work, they get chewed up and spat out by the state machine.

They know the government does not care unless your vote counts.

They are also unconvinced by this sudden reform zeal to make Cyprus a paradigm of integrity, honesty, and social justice.

You have to start somewhere with a shift in attitudes and approach to public service.

There needs to be some convincing it is a genuine attempt to remove the booby traps that snare good intentions or radical reform.

In Frank we trust

Before side-tracked by the government version of the untouchables, I wanted to say the most important thing that happened this week was the departure of legendary Frankie Lampard as manager of Chelsea.

A poor run of form saw the Chelsea icon brutally sacked after 18 months in his ‘dream job’.

The fans wanted him given more time, but Abramovich did the unthinkable and shot Bambi.

After a huge summer outlay on expensive signings and nurturing stars from the academy, expectations were high that Lampard would deliver if given the time.

The Chelsea hierarchy doesn’t do “let’s wait and see”.

The first sign of a wobble and its curtains, no matter how big the reputation.

Lampard was different. He was ‘one of our own’ a true Blue with Chelsea running through his veins.

To see him unceremoniously booted out was hard to take for many Chelsea fans, who, like me, were embarrassed by how swift the fatal blow was delivered.

Ironically, Frank was shown the door after an FA Cup win against Luton where a new banner was unfurled at the Bridge: ‘In Frank We Trust. Then. Now. Forever’.

Frank has gone, but the banner is staying.

We hope his German replacement Thomas Tuchel will earn the fan’s respect as we go on another footballing journey with a new manager.

But Frank remains in our broken hearts as we fret over Tuchel’s ‘culling of the kids’.