Democracy or Idiocracy?
In Cyprus, we live in a democracy characterised by government by the people and/or their elected representatives: constitutional guarantees, free and fair elections, a parliament of elected members, separation of legislature and the executive, an independent judiciary, and so on. Nevertheless, neither the functionality of its democratic institutions nor the quality of their various outputs is doing well. been securely fastened, the previously drowning man of Cyprus began to lambast his saviours for daring to exercise control over the proper and competent use of the lifeline!
This grudging reluctance to accept the reality of the bailout has not eased. The bailout programme is requiring the wholesale reform of the Cyprus economy, its governance, its infrastructure, its civil service, its public sector, its banks – and moreover in all of these, not just their structures and processes but also their culture. As Polis Polyviou alluded to in his official report on the Mari-Vassilikos disaster on July 2011, there had been a relentless pursuit of vested selfinterests by cynical politicians and officials coupled with their incompetence, empty rhetoric and ‘a reduced perception of duty and selective observance of morality and legality’. So it was too with the long build-up to the financial collapse but with the added components of the banks and major borrowers such as property developers. 2014 bailout tranche of more than EUR 400 mln. Undeterred, the Deputies continue their defiance despite the next bailout tranche now in doubt and the prospect of the government being unable to pay wages and bills in November. Another government default looms and, yes, the international markets have responded badly as expected.
Why are the government, the parties and the Deputies pursuing vehemently a lunatic principle of legalised waivers for debt defaulters that is indefensible and will also ensure that the banks remain severely handicapped in their postcrisis recovery? Apparently, to them populist vote-retention is far more important than the country’s financial survival. Far better to pander to a brainwashed populace and get their votes than to do the right thing, however unpopular. Party, job and reckless consensus trump national interest and moral integrity.
I would commend to readers the 2006 satirical film Idiocracy, starring Luke Wilson, as it epitomises the level to which democratic governance in Cyprus has sunk.