Meanwhile in Cuckooland 108

The results of the election hardly surprised anyone. The biggest opposition coalition, led by Platforma Obywatelska, failed to take PiS head on. Results of other opposition groups – the Left, PSL and Kukiz and extremely right wing Konfederacja – proved what was known by most, apart from the Platforma Obywatelska leaders, for many years now: It’s not enough to scare voters with PiS to win the elections. They want to hear some concrete propositions of how to change Poland.

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Voters already know what PiS stands for, and all their abuse of power has been well documented (someone compiled a wiki page about PiS corruption and nepotism scandals). Apparently for many voters what PiS has to offer is more important than such things like who stole how much money and who’s nephew got a job in government controlled company. No wonder that government has no problems to swipe them under the carpet – like with the case of American PR agency (related to some members of Polish diaspora in the US, who are known for overwhelmingly supporting PiS) that was paid a hefty sum of money to promote Poland, which they did by hiring somebody without no clue about Poland to place some random stock photos (some depicting Czech capital or generic pictures of sportsmen from completely different discipline to the one celebrated by the post) on Instagram. The account, despite having about 40 observers last time I looked at it, has been since removed. The fact that they clearly manipulate investigation regarding Beata Szydło’s accident – the CD containing CCTV footage that can prove, that a young driver of Fiat Seicento rammed by then prime minister’s limo was not guilty has been damaged. The data was impossible to recover and apparently this was the only copy in existence, but the prosecutor does not see a problem, as “the movie would change nothing anyway”. Well, of that I am sure.

Back to the election though. While PiS retained power in Sejm, the lower chamber of the parliament, the things hasn’t went as well as Kaczyński hoped. The opposition has a slight majority in Senate (51 to 49) and PiS is unlikely to be able to buy two senators over to ensure majority there (not that they aren’t trying – they have approached one of PO’s senator and offered him a job of Health Minister in order to switch sides, which is appalling also because it shows that they don’t really considering Polish health service, that is a the brink of collapse, to be worth taking on seriously). According to PiS, the loss of senate happened because opposition was cheating, putting only one opposition candidate in most of the election districts.

Also, even the PiS voters were not happy with the style of politics led by PiS. Most impudent, boorish and disgusting PiS MPs failed to be re-elected. The most hateful figure, former communist prosecutor Stanisław Piotrowicz, is one of such examples. The other is Bernardeta Krynicka, who’s appalling treatment of the protesting parents of disabled children has been depicted on this iconic picture has also failed to get re-elected. In an ironic twist, the mother of the boy in the wheelchair, seen in the background became a newly elected opposition MP.

But so far the newly elected parliament is yet to meet. So far since the election day we only had a sitting of the previous parliament – many were afraid that it was arranged so PiS can do something to secure their power in case they failed to win the election. But the MP’s voted only on the new law that could de facto make sex-education illegal, which is completely stupid because according to it it will be illegal for you to tell 16-year girl old that sex is fun, as it would be promoting sexual behaviours in minors and could be punishable by up to 5 years in prison, but you could simply take her to bed and show her how fun sex is in practice, as the consent age remains at 15. The other bill voted by the parliament was to condemn anti-Catholic hate in Poland. Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, PO’s candidate for prime minister, was amongst those, who voted for it, although later she claimed, that she voted by mistake…

Last but not least, the day after election of the new parliament, the old one has sworn a new MP, Edyta Kubik, who took place of recently passed Kornel Morawiecki. She will be serving as an MP for only two days, yet she will be entitled to collect over 24000 zł of the severance pay…

And so, after the elections, the life in Poland gets back to its usual track. Those, who were hidden by PiS before elections, came back from their broom cupboards: compromised chief of the Supreme Audit Office came back from his holidays, on which he went when it has emerged that after becoming an owner of the tenement house in Kraków in suspicious circumstances, he rents it at fraction of the market prize to a known criminals, who ran a brothel there. But this is no longer a problem, as “he is no longer a PiS member”. Antoni Macierewicz announced that his “commission for investigation of Smoleńsk plane crash” will provide a final report (most probably “proving” that it was an assassination). Also, the Smoleńsk crash month-inversaries are back, although it might be just a one off case, as the celebrations took place just before the elections. A huge police force was dispatched to ensure that this event will be free from the protest, which ended up in a ridiculous viral video, in which five police officers chase a man on a wheelchair, whom they earlier detained illegally on suspicion of being an opposition activist:

(watch from 1:45 onwards)

Ministry of Justice, known for pumping money into father’s Rydzyk media empire and other right wing organisations started a new campaign (at cost of 1.5 million złoty) that would promote marriage, as according to them, being married reduces crime, as “unmarried people, having no sense of being responsible for someone, are more likely to commit crimes”.

Somehow they are not so keen to tackle criminal activity on the radical right, which only encourage right wing extremist even further: recently two people were arrested for trying to set off explosive charges during Pride March in Lublin. Just a few days later during similar events in Wrocław, the police officers captured a man walking towards the crowd with two knives.

OK, police might be trying to do something about such hateful behaviour, but they are not doing great. Agata Trzebuchowska, known for her lead role in the Oscar movie “Ida” has been summoned to the police station. She was suspected of plastering anti-Semitic posters on the street. How the police came to suspect her? The first page on Facebook that informed about those posters had Ida’s face as a profile picture. It took her a while to explain to the police that firstly, the fact that a certain fan page uses face of a public person as its profile picture does not mean that this particular person is administrating the page…

But at least abroad Poland had some successes. Despite some hiccups, Janusz Wojciechowski was finally elected as an EU commissioner for farming. This, according to Kaczyński, was a great success of Polish diplomacy, as according to him a Pole never held more important function than this one. Which only shows his Donald Tusk complex…

But the bigger torn in the side of Polish right was Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize. This feminist, environmental and pro-LGBT activist is one of the arch-enemies of the Polish right. For many years they hated her, calling her Anti-Polish, Anti-Catholic or accused her of offending Poles or being a traitor because she refuses to accept official version of history, where all Poles were always either victims or heroes (a choice of most notable attacks on her by the Polish right can be found here). For years PiS was torpedoing any ideas to celebrate the writer. In 2015, PiS councillors in Nowa Ruda wanted to take away her honorary citizenship because “her words are contradictory to the Polish historic politics”. In 2016 PiS councillors left the room in protest against honouring her by the town of Wałbrzych. In 2018 Stanisław Michałkiewicz, an anti-Semite and radical right winger, suggested that her Booker prize is just a stepping stone, as she is being prepared to receive a Nobel Prize, by which the leftist want to celebrate the writer for her anti-Polishness. In the same year a columnist for pro-PiS paper “Do rzeczy” wrote, that what she can do best is “to ogle” and “to bark on Jarosław Kaczyński for what he said about refugees”. Rafał Ziemkiewicz, a writer of some popular Science-Fiction books in the past and today a right wing publicist called her a beneficent of the PiS government, as her work is only recognized by the West as a way to support the people who oppose PiS. Meanwhile Minister of Culture with no shame informed on live TV that he never managed to finish any of Tokarczuk’s books (In response Tokarczuk said, that she is not surprised that he was unable to finish them, as she is aware that her writing is difficult).

The Nobel prize for her took Polish right by surprise. Some of the right wing papers informed about it in a curious way, just like Tygodnik Solidarność: Olga Tokarczuk, ardent “defender of the democracy” who calls Poles “murderers of the Jews” with Nobel prize – said the headline of the article in which her bibliography was provided alongside with her “most discreditable” quotes.

Others tried to warm up a bit in her glory. Rafał Ziemkiewicz for example tweeted congratulations, but could not resist to mention that (according to himself) he was amongst the first ones to recognize her talent and therefore her success is also in a way his success as well

Minister of Culture said that he might want to finish her books after all. The minister of financed announced, that she won’t have to pay tax on her award. One of PiS senators said that “it is undoubtedly a government’s success that during the times when Mateusz Morawiecki is a prime minister, Olga Tokarczuk receives a Nobel prize”.

I could not believe it myself, but here is the clip:

And I really hoped, that I won’t have so much absurds to write about after the elections… How naive…

This piece was written for Britské Listy
Pictures used:
Kaczyński and others from SejmRP’ flickr site (CC 2.0)
Olga Tokarczuk by Martin Kraft via Wikipedia (CC 3.0)



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