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A perfect storm is brewing

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6 mins read

Cypriots feel the pinch as they worry about how they will pay the bills with high inflation, soaring rents and surging electricity prices.

Society is gripped by anxiety caused by an uncertain future and fears about paying the mortgage or finding somewhere to live.

The economic landscape has hardened over the past 12 months as salaries cannot match price rises.

People work harder but earn less in the real economy; the sums don’t add up as their purchasing power is drained.

There’s a financial storm coming, but the government seems to like ignoring the realisation that people are suffering daily.

It’s survival of the fittest with a threadbare social welfare net if you fall through the poverty gap.

Worrying about finances and where the next meal or unexpected bill is coming from puts a strain on our mental health.

Cyprus has managed to ride the initial storm from the Ukraine war blowback, but energy costs are much higher than last year.

Pump prices make travelling to work or ferrying the kids where they need to go prohibitive.

It is telling that a CyBC poll suggests that 63% of Cypriots believe their circumstances have worsened over the past five years of this government.

Moreover, 75% have difficulties making ends meet, while 48% expected their living conditions to worsen over the next 12 months.

What is the government saying to these people to assure them they won’t be left to fend for themselves in their underwear in a brutal financial climate?

Like elsewhere in energy-capped Europe, Cypriots are concerned about rising food costs and their toll on businesses and employment.

Many believe the next 12 months will worsen as the economy slows and travels on an unknown trajectory.

Nobody knows how the Ukraine war will unravel as Russia becomes increasingly kamikaze, looking to destroy infrastructure by striking power plants to terrorise the civilian population.

Putin miscalculated how the invasion would unfold, and now he’s resorted to blowing everything up regardless of the casualty count.

A bitter winter across the bloc will test Europe’s resolve, but widespread blackouts will hurt the EU economy and eurozone member Cyprus will feel the draft.

Preparing for the worse is not this government’s MO; they prefer other forms of deception, like pretending they still have a handle on the Cyprus problem.

Baiting the UN has become a new gambit in its failure to move the dial on the peace process.

Scandals

As the drawbridge rises on its time in power, this administration is trying to keep the ship afloat after endless scandals.

It doesn’t need to go through the motions of trying to fix anything; the new President will have to pick up the pieces as people’s finances go into reverse.

The three main presidential candidates aren’t what you would call radicals or challengers to the accepted orthodoxy.

They will say anything to get your vote but offer little substance for a society that needs root-and-branch reform, innovation, affordable housing and social welfare investment.

In these times of financial fear, we have become an angrier, less tolerant society scarred by two years of COVID and the residue of bankers playing roulette with our savings.

There is a deep mistrust of institutions, public officials and the workings of government.

And none of the male candidates putting themselves forward to run this country has the tools to dismantle such perceptions.

They are from the same establishment tarnished by corruption, gender inequality and absence of diversity.

Still, the bar has been set very low for them; they don’t necessarily have to get anything right, but they need to avoid getting things terribly wrong.

Even if they did cause chaos and disaster like an oblivious Liz Truss – they would last longer than a Tesco’s iceberg lettuce.

Any of the three stooges elected could ruin the economy, destroy the markets, devalue the euro, and still cruise for five years in power.

It’s been done before because there is no accountability in Cyprus politics.

Making a mess is the default setting until you can hide it under something else.

Imagine walking through a hall of mirrors that distorts your perception of reality; that’s what an election campaign does.

You are made to believe there is a choice, but the outcome has already been decided.