You’ve been taken for a ride

2 mins read

There seems to be a collective resignation among the public that things can’t change and the system will eventually grind you down.

Politicians fill the air with promises they won’t keep or pay lip service to populism to show they are listening just enough to hide the expediency and cynicism in their actions.

Cypriots have grown to lower their expectations of any government brandishing the sword of reform and social justice.

They know self-interest is the only motivation for anyone in officialdom to get things done, and then the wheels move remarkably slowly as if they were going backwards.

It’s why nobody resigns from office by taking responsibility for what has gone wrong – we don’t expect officials to fall on their swords for being incompetent or downright neglectful.

Why should anybody take the blame for grinding bureaucracy, a cost-of-living squeeze, poor educational attainment, hospital waiting lists or inefficient public services?

Nobody is keeping score of the government’s failures; the opposition is just happy to throw rocks without offering solutions, and the elite exploit a compliant media.

The government has no money for affordable housing; it is trying to contain inflation but can’t persuade the banks to spread some of their profits back to its struggling customers.

We live in a precariously ‘free market’, but that doesn’t mean naked profiteering by petrol companies, utility firms, banks, landlords, and businesses should go unchecked.

Local banks offer the lowest deposit rates in the EU but are making some of the highest profits from soaring lending rates – surely something has to give.

Banks are quite happy to charge for every transaction or bury you under paperwork and punitive terms when customers need a loan, but for god’s sake, don’t give anything back to those loyal savers.

People got burnt in the stock market bubble – it hasn’t recovered nearly 25 years on – and savings were lost during the 2013 banking crisis.

Car crashing the economy is nothing new, and neither is the fact that those responsible didn’t pay the price of greed and ineptitude.

When the government says it will get fixed, it disguises the lack of a plan or determination to see it through.

Take a footballing analogy – Cyprus gets smashed at football – there are no signs of improvement or willingness to sweat for the shirt.

Those running the game will simply sack the manager for the run of bad results but not resign themselves because they lack the vision or ability to reverse flagging fortunes.

There is something deeply wrong with the game tainted by corruption allegations and an unloved national team with few fans.

As in politics, football needs a culture shock, a change in mentality and outlook; defeatism must be overcome with pride in achievement.

You know the government cares about your financial well-being when it wants the taxpayer to fork out for a staff member at the Presidential Palace to get unprecedented overtime pay.

MPs were asked to approve €51,795 so the deputy government spokesperson could get paid overtime until the end of the year.

Dawn to dusk

Most Cypriots could work three years from dawn to dusk and not earn that much.

It is common practice for government ministers and state-appointed officials not to receive overtime pay, but an exception was made for Dora Komodromou.

The purveyor of government propaganda wanted to keep her public service job at the University of Cyprus when taking up the position at the palace.

She knew her university salary would be what she received as seconded staff.

Still, the Finance Ministry was happy to cut corners and argue she worked longer hours (something you might be familiar with).

Work at the university is over before it begins, and the government argued that working evenings and weekends should be compensated.

Her university position paid much less than the €65,000 for a deputy spokesperson, so the government wanted to square the difference.

After MPs questioned the move and the Auditor General called it a non-starter, the Finance Ministry sheepishly withdrew the demand.

This issue should have prompted the public’s ire, as many Cypriots are underpaid, overworked, and underappreciated.

Where was the public grilling of the government at the president’s attempt to bend the rules once again?

We just let it slide like Cyprus getting walloped 6-0 by Spain.