November 26, 2022

kathy-newBy Kathy Martin…

Written September 2014

Whether you as a reader of this ramble have any great interest or concern in the outcome of the recent Scottish independence referendum, you must be aware that “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” still is “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”!

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister
David Cameron, the British Prime Minister

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, won’t be remembered in history as “the man who lost Scotland”!

However, what he will be remembered for is his frantic, last minute, panic driven bribes to the Scots to keep them from voting “yes” to independence! The eyes of many people throughout the British Isles will be on him, especially a gob-smacked (where is he going to find the money to pay these bribes?) Westminster based Treasury!

Naturally, the Scots will want the promised “tax breaks” and “slush funds” put in place as soon as possible. Certainly before the general election, which is scheduled for 7th May 2015, which the Conservatives are looking more and more unlikely to win? Unless, of course, he has a cunning plan!

In an attempt to get sufficient votes in Scotland to ensure his victory, he will promise to implement them only after his re-election! Surely no, Mr Cameron is a politician and therefore unable to stoop so low!

Incidentally, I tried to precede the word “politician” with “honest”, but my grammar check said that it would go home with a severe migraine if I insisted, so, sorry Mr Cameron, you are just a politician!

However, what David Cameron may be remembered for is starting the financial melt-down of the finances of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or, at best, putting a great strain on them! This is because the residents and politicians of the other constituent countries (Wales, Northern Ireland and even England) will want similar financial benefits!

Interestingly, with the obvious exception of England, Wales is the oldest and therefore senior member of “Great Britain”. The first “union” was agreed at the Treaty of Rudden as long ago as 1284; however it wasn’t until 1532 when England formally “annexed”, OK, conquered Wales. Nevertheless, this pre-dates Scotland (1603) and Ireland (1801).

The Union Jack
The Union Jack

The Union Flag (or, as it is popularly known, the Union Jack) is made up of crosses from the flags of the patron saints of England (St. George), Scotland (St. Andrew) and Ireland (St. Patrick).

Where is the patron saint of Wales (St. David) or the Welsh flag (one white and one green horizontal bar with a red dragon in the centre) represented? Rise up, you Welsh, demand financial reparations from Westminster! Go to the European Court of Human Rights and claim compensation for being discriminated against!

Recently my wife and I had the opportunity to watch a film titled “The Help” (2011). The film is about the racist treatment that the impoverished “black” maids received from the affluent “white” female employers in Mississippi, a state in the United States of America’s “deep South” during the 1960’s.

In, at least; one house, despite working there from 8 in the morning until 6 at night, the “black” maid wasn’t allowed to use the toilet because “it is a well-known fact that all blacks have diseases”! In most societies, even then, such a statement or opinion would be greeted with the appropriate amount of scorn.

Alistair (back right) in the Rhodesian territorial army 1974
Alistair (back right) in the Rhodesian territorial army 1974

However, in far-off Rhodesia, during an army “call-up” in the late 60’s or early 70’s, I met a soldier of Afrikaner (Dutch South African) parentage. He was absolutely petrified at the thought of being shot and only wounded, he would rather be killed!

Well, of course, that was something that none of us looked forward to! When asked why he was so scared of being (only) wounded rather than killed he said that under those circumstances, he may need a blood transfusion. “Yes, and so”? He was prompted.

He, then, said that he had been told that the army didn’t differentiate between the bloods donated by “black” or “white” donors. As such, if he was given “black” blood, either he would leave hospital with so many diseases that he would die within weeks, if not days, or he would cause his wife to have “black” babies!

Those of us with an IQ slightly higher than our boot size, roared with laughter, but the Afrikaner continued to maintain his composure. Either he firmly believed in a “well known fact” or he had no sense as to when a joke stopped being funny. Then, and even now, (after re-visiting my memory banks) I am convinced that it was the former!

Tarmac roadRecently, there was a demonstration outside the Lefkoşa courts by relatives of victims of fatal road traffic accidents. We are frequently told that we (the TRNC/Kibris) have the highest road traffic death toll in Europe, if not the world.

A spokesperson said (among other things) that “we want safe roads”. I have said on many occasions that all roads are passive, inactive, inert objects! In this country, and throughout the world, they lie where they constructed and wait to be used.

Roads are used safely by “sensible” drivers, but abused by reckless and incompetent drivers! To paraphrase a quotation from Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar” (and with reference to a recent ramble) and to prove that I “did” Shakespeare at school!

The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the roads, but in ourselves”! Drivers cause accidents, roads don’t!

On this beautiful island most people seem to have a firm grip on reality. However there are at least 64 people who have lost touch with reality! These are the 64 ex-Cyprus Turkish Airline (CTA) staff who were, (possibly still are), demonstrating outside the former CTA headquarters building in Lefkoşa!

My first question is why there? CTA ceased operations over 4 (FOUR) years ago on 21st June 2010.

To paraphrase the Monty Python parrot sketch, “it is a dead airline; it has gone to meet its maker”!

Apparently, when CTA ceased operations, these 64 people were employed by the airport handling agency at Ercan, CAS. As CAS has been obliged to re-structure, the “CTA 64” have been made redundant and are protesting and demonstrating. Reading what I have written readers would be justified to assume that they are demonstrating against being made redundant from CAS.

But no! They are protesting and demonstrating because they have been “victimised and discriminated against” but by whom I am not sure!

On digging deeper, I found that the “injustice” that these “workers” imagined that they experienced was that 350 of their colleagues (ex-CTA staff) had been employed in the civil service. All they apparently do is visit air-conditioned offices where they drink tea or coffee all day while they (the 64) had been expected to actually work for a living at the airport!

Wow, imagine a civil service where 350 staff did nothing, but drink tea or coffee all day. That would mean that it would take years, if not decades for documents such as Kocans (property title deeds) to be produced. Incidentally, we are still waiting for our Kocan after 6½ years, despite having completed all legal procedures! (In 2016 I am still waiting!)

What really amazes me (well, gets my goat actually!) is that the ex CTA staff seem to regard themselves as a protected species and therefore entitled to a sinecure for life!

Was the possession of a massive ego a mandatory requirement for employment in the airline?

wheelcairWhile on the subject of CAS, and the passenger handling service that it is meant to provide, here are two examples of abysmal service.

  1. The first formed the subject of a column by İpek Őzerim in the English language newspaper “Cyprus Today” earlier this year. I don’t have a copy of the article, but (from memory) she tried to arrange wheelchair assistance for her mother on departure from Ercan. However, she was told (again from my memory) that “it is too hot for the wheelchair handler to go outside”!
  1. Shortly before Îpek’s article was published we had recently returned from a holiday in Istanbul and Bulgaria. We both suffer from mobility problems (my wife has Multiple Sclerosis and I have asthma and breathing problems), we can usually potter along at our own speed, if left to our own devices. However, because of the distances, rushing crowds and time constraints between connecting flights we opted to be “wheelchair” passengers after our arrival in Istanbul!

All went well throughout our journey at, Istanbul, Sofia and Varna in Bulgaria until our return to Ercan. Our aircraft was parked on the furthest stand from the arrivals gate, so we waited for our wheelchairs to arrive. After a long while, the crew asked us to disembark as their radioed requests for wheelchairs had been ignored, and the aircraft was about to return to Istanbul! So we had to walk, walk, rest, walk, walk, rest all the way to the arrivals hall in the heat of the day!

Perhaps the wheelchair handlers who declined to handle wheelchair passengers were those 64 ex-CTA staff who aspired to sit in air conditioned offices! If so, then they would be the ideal staff to be the first to be disposed of when CAS restructured (downsized)!

Next blog will continue with Alistair’s rambles

These rambles were written by Alistair initially for the “The KibKom Times” then “The KibKom Forum

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